Andy Rubin revealed the number late day, on the eve of Apple's developer conference. Google's Android chief disclosed the activations while dispelling rumors circulated by Robert Scoble about leaving for startup CloudCar. Rubin isn't going anywhere.
He last disclosed activations per day -- 850,000 -- on February 27. The new number means 27 million a month or 81 million every 90 days. That number is consistent with actual smartphone sales. Gartner, which tracks sales to end users rather than the analyst firm standard of shipments into the channel, reports 81.067 million Androids sold during first quarter -- again, that's smartphones and doesn't include tablets. By comparison, Apple sold 33.1 million iPhones, but the number doesn't include iPad or iPod touch.
Rubin's "just for meme completeness" tweet gives bloggers and journalists something other than Worldwide Developer Conference speculation to write about -- well, perhaps not the Apple Fanclub. Its members gloated last week over reports from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners and IDC claiming Android sales slowdowns. Android isn't in trouble, certainly not with activations continuing to rise and sales so much higher than iOS devices.
Earlier, uberblogger Scoble posted to Google+: Today I heard that the head of Android, +Andy Rubin, will soon leave Google and head to a new startup called http://www.cloudcar.com/.
I responded: "Google could buy CloudCar and solve the Andy Rubin-is-leaving-problem. If the rumor is true, of course"; and later in response Scoble's reply: "The first question I always ask about rumors: Who benefits?"
Scoble made no pretense as to knowing whether the rumor was true, but plainly stated: "If it's not true, it's easy for someone like +Larry Page or +Vic Gundotra to signal such in the comments here, not to mention Andy himself".
Rubin responded, posting to Google+: "How a rumor gets factualized: Cloudcar are a group of friends who I give free office space to in my incubator in Los Altos. Revel Touch (Mar Hershenson's company: www.reveltouch.com) is another cool company that shares this space. I'm not joining either one and I don't have any plans to leave Google. See you on the 27th!" -- referring to the start of developer conference Google I/O.
Rubin isn't leaving, a shakeup that would have set the stage for tomorrow's WWDC keynote. The 900,000 activations per day does lay the gauntlet before Apple, which likely will reveal number of cumulative iOS device sales. Hey, Andy, now there's another meme. How many Androids?