Android Passes 500 Million Global Activations

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Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean: with names like those, is it any surprise that the world has developed a sweet tooth for Android? Actually, the global love for the Google's operating system may be more of an addiction than a craving. Late last night, product manager Hugo Berra announced that more than 500 million Android devices have been activated worldwide, and he reaffirmed earlier claims that the number is increasing by an additional 1.3 million smartphones and/or tablets each and every day.

The Android train may seem like it's chugging along at full speed, but actually, it's still rapidly accelerating. The operating system first cracked the 100 million device mark just a year and a half ago, in May 2011. It took six months after that to hit 200 million activations in mid-November, then the 300 million mark fell in February. That blistering pace drooped just a bit in the wake of the holidays; four months passed before Google announced the breaching of the 400 million barrier at the I/O conference in June. Now, just 2.5 months later, it's hit the 500 million mark.

Of course, part of that mid-summer pick-up could be related to consumer reluctance to buy an iPhone 4S that was starting to show its age. Coincidentally -- you don't think Google timed this announcement on purpose, do you? -- Apple will very likely unveil the iPhone 5 later today, and if the rumor mill proves accurate, it will sport Android-esque features such as 4G LTE, a larger 4-inch screen and possibly even NFC payment capabilities.

We'll have to see whether Android activations can keep up their frantic pace is the face of Apple's new flagship phone. By comparison, Apple said in a July earnings call that it has activated 410 million iOS devices globally.