Apple's iOS and Google Android are battling it out for users over the holiday season, according to new numbers from analytics firm Flurry.
Flurry has estimated some 6.8 million iOS and Android device activations on
Christmas day, suggesting that Apple and Google are exiting 2011 the same way
they entered: with burgeoning sales for devices running their respective
operating systems, indicative of both companies' fervent desire to control the
In a Dec. 27 posting on its corporate blog, Flurry
described that activation number as "a 353 [percent] increase over the
baseline" of the average for the first 20 days of December. For Christmas 2010,
the firm noted some 2.8 million activations.
3.7 [million] Android devices activated on 12/24 and 12/25," Andy Rubin, senior
vice president of Google's mobile efforts, tweeted Dec. 28. If that number proves true, and
iOS took the significant majority of the other activations during that period,
it means the two operating systems are indeed within striking distance of one
also experienced a burgeoning year, according to the firm. "Apple's App Store
is on pace to exceed 10 billion downloads, which will double the cumulative
number of downloads earned across 2008, 2009 and 2010," the blog added. "The
Android Market also set records, more than tripling its life-to-date downloads
of 3 billion, reached in May 2011, to now over 10 billion cumulative downloads
reached this December."
various Android manufacturers are also competing in the courtroom. Apple
recently scored a minor victory against Android when the International Trade
Commission (ITC) banned certain HTC smartphones from import in April 2012, on
the basis of a software feature supposedly infringing an Apple patent. The emphasis
is on the word "minor," because observers believe that HTC will have little
trouble altering its devices to sidestep the ban.
remains to be seen whether Apple will use this legal victory as leverage
against HTC and other Android manufacturers. According to Walter Isaacson's
best-selling biography of Steve Jobs, the very existence of Android drove the
Apple co-founder into a fury in which he pledged "thermonuclear war" against
what he claimed was a "stolen product."
In a meeting
with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Jobs supposedly refused to accept any form
of Android-related payout: "I don't want your money. If you offer me $5
billion, I won't want it. I've got plenty of money. I want you to stop using
our ideas in Android, that's all I want."
died in October following a long battle with cancer, Apple is continuing its
crusade to shut down Android however and wherever it can. The legal battles
will almost certainly continue. And if the holiday activations are any
indication, iOS and Android will continue to battle toe-to-toe for customer
loyalty into 2012.
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.