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IHS: The sum of Android devices will exceed 1 billion in 2013, 3 billion by 2016

Soon after Andy Rubin announced there are now half a billion Android devices worldwide around, research firm IHS predicted that there will be over 1 billion Android devices next year, and 3 billion by 2016.
September 12, 2012

We’ve all been witnesses to Android’s astronomical growth over the past few years. There was a time when Android devices represented just a fraction of the sales of the iPhone. Now the sales of Android phones are 4 times bigger than the iPhone’s, globally, with a market share of 68% vs 17%.

Just yesterday Andy Rubin announced that half a billion Android devices were sold to date, and the number is growing at over 1.3 million per day. With that kind of expansion, it’s not surprising to see research company IHS announce that Android will exceed 1 billion total devices in 2013.

Even if Android becomes stagnant over the next year, selling 1.3 million devices per day, that’s still close to 500 million devices in a 12 months time span. But we still have a few months left until the end of the year, so surpassing 1 billion next year should be easy enough.

Worldwide annual shipments of Android phones will rise to 451 million in 2013, up from 357 million in 2012, according to an IHS iSuppli wireless communications smartphone report from information and analytics provider IHS. These massive totals will mean that combined shipments for every year since the first smartphone using Android shipped in 2008 will reach 1.1 billion by the end of 2013. In contrast, the number two smartphone operating system, Apple’s iOS, will amount to 527 million in cumulative shipments in 2013 and will not reach the one billion level until 2015.

IHS also believes that while the iPhone will reach 1 billion by 2015. Android will be on its way to 3 billion by then.

“The Androids are taking over the world of smartphones,” said Daniel Gleeson, mobile analyst for IHS. “We expect the Android operating system to become the first to reach the milestone of one billion shipments during its lifetime. For Google, this accomplishment highlights the success of its growth strategy for Android, which is based on providing the operating system as an open-source platform to third-party smartphone brands free of charge. Google hopes to make significant revenues from mobile advertisements and other services. Such an open-source model means that Google offers handset makers the ability to customize Android easily, and by also eliminating licensing fees, is greatly encouraging adoption among smartphone handset manufacturers.”

It seems Google’s strategy of open sourcing Android and giving it away for free has been very compelling to manufacturers, and it’s what’s leading to this explosive growth and popularity of Android on all types of smartphones and other devices. As hardware gets ever cheaper, we’ll see Android get into lower-end and lower-priced handsets, and growing even more in countries like India or in African countries. Android is truly becoming the “Windows” of smartphones.