Google's Android mobile operating system is growing like a proverbial weed, and is poised to get a new member to the company's vaunted Nexus family of smartphones.
Android creator Andy Rubin announced that he is now seeing 500,000 Android smartphones and tablets activated each day. That's up from 400,000 activations Rubin copted to in May at Google I/O and 300,000 he tweeted about last December.
Rubin, who revealed the news early June 28 in this Twitter tweet, also said he is seeing a 4.4 percent week-to-week growth in handsets and tablets running the open source operating system.
The news comes one week after reports surfaced that Apple's iPhone 4 on Verizon Wireless and the forthcoming iPhone 5 are slowing Android's smartphone market share roll.
The news also comes amid rumors from Boy Genius Report that the company is preparing to launch a new Nexus smartphone, possibly called the Samsung Nexus Prime in time for Thanksgiving.
While BGR initially reported the device would be run the Android "Ice Cream Sandwich" operating system on a faster chip and a super-sized 720p HD screen, and forego physical meny keys, the gadget blog has uncovered new details.
The 4G radio-strapped device, dubbed Google Nexus Prime, is built by Samsung, which is providing a Super AMOLED HD display. The application processor will be a Texas Instruments OMAP4460, which can run at up to 1.5GHz, instead of a Samsung chip.
No word on exactly what carriers would sell the Nexus Prime.
However, unlike past Nexus launches where Google partnered with T-Mobile to launch the original Nexus One as the first Android 2.1 handset and Nexus S and Sprint for the Nexus S 4G as the first Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" gadgets, Google could release Ice Cream Sandwich on multiple carriers and OEMs at the same time.
"Imagine flagship releases from Motorola, HTC, and LG with Ice Cream Sandwich available on AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint all at practically the same time... in addition to a Google Nexus handset from Samsung," BGR noted.
These are only unsubstantiated rumors for which Google will not provide a kernel of comment. However, such an effort could be part of the search engine's new, unnamed alliance created to curb some of the fragmentation going on within the Android ecosystem.
These partners, which include carriers Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and manufacturers Samsung, HTC and Motorola, will be eligible for software updates 18 months into the future, provided the hardware allows for it.
This is an effort to get the carriers and partners on the same software page. Launching Ice Cream Sandwich phones out of the gate could help level this playing field even more.