We’ve all heard the big claims about a spazmillion Android activations per day and how (on any given day) it’s either surpassing iOS as the most-used mobile operating system or it’s biting sharply at its heels. Some recent data suggests, however, that Google’s Android operating system may be dying off and the life signs stalling. Asymco, in an article that’s guaranteed to make Android fans try to lynch us, points to data which indicates that the growth rate of Android adoption has plateaued. The net user gains for Android in January of this year clocked in between roughly 500,000 to 3,500,000 where, comparatively, iPhone user gains ranged from 1,750,000 to 6,500,00. This represents the slowest growth for Android as a platform since 2009.
Asymco is wisely hesitant to declare these numbers to be harbinger of Android’s demise:
It’s perhaps too early to suggest that we’re seeing a slowdown in the US for Android. Perhaps there will be a return to growth in the fall. The concern has to be that rather than seeing the net adds growing–as they have for two years with only two contiguous months of decline–Android net adds have been falling for four months.
Android is still enjoying a very healthy grip on the smartphone market and, despite slowdowns, powers many millions of mobile devices out in the wild. Yet, if the stream of new users is beginning to slow to a trickle, it poses an interesting dilemma for Google: If everyone who wants an Android phone already has one, what would need to happen to get them to buy something new?