MBA Online has produced an infographic, charting the rapid rise of Android in the mobile market. It notes that back in 2005, Google started buying up a number of startups, one of which was an "almost unheard of operating system producer". Now, quarter of a billion Android products are activated every year, and three quarters of smartphones purchased during the last three months were found to use Android.
A number of the infographic’s figures showcase how Android in terms of sheer numbers is outpacing iOS, or at least cutting leads Apple's system has. In contrast with Android's 250million annual activations, Apple's 2011 figure was 'only' 104.7million. Android daily activations are double those for iOS, and Android is catching Apple in terms of tablet market-share. Additionally, even in terms of apps, MBA's figures show Android faring well, with Google Play revenue around two-thirds of that of the App Store, and Google's store now matching Apple's in terms of app numbers.
However, the infographic's conclusion doesn't seem to provide any context in terms of real-world usage figures. It states that "so far in 2012, it's clear that more people are starting to make the switch to Android," which appears to be the case when only considering cold, hard sales and activation figures. But really what we're seeing is the result of growth of both systems (Android’s growth simply being faster); also, IBM's recent research discovered Apple devices generating significantly more traffic than Android devices during Thanksgiving weekend, and similar stats in the UK show iOS having a massive lead over Android when it comes to mobile share.
The inference appears to be a lot of people buy Android devices but use them much like dumbphones, rather than as internet-enabled mini-computers. From a web development standpoint, this again showcases the need to examine context within figures and not just one set of numbers as-is.