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Google activating 700,000 Android devices daily, nearing 250 million total

by Phil Hornshaw

Want to talk about some crazy numbers? Google says that it’s approaching a total of 250 million activated Android devices worldwide. That’s getting close to the entire population of the United States, represented in Android users.

TechCrunch has the story, in which it reported that Google has sized up the number of Android devices it says are being activated daily to 700,000, according to a Twitter update from Android chief Andy Rubin. Back in June, the number of Android devices activated each day was 500,000, nothing to sneeze at itself, although the 700,000 mark is significantly higher. Not only is Android sweeping into expanding smartphone markets all over the world, it’s even increasing the speed of its growth.

Market analyst firm Asymco charted the increase in Android activations over the last three years, and the climb is pretty staggering. Aysmco analyst Horace Dediu estimates that there have been somewhere between 224 million and 253 million activated Android smartphones to date (back in November, Google mentioned there were 200 million activated devices). Compare that to Apple’s iOS, which the Cupertino tech giant announced in October had 250 million activated devices, which includes iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads. It’s not certain how many iPhones Apple sells in a day, but crunching the numbers from the 17 million that were sold in the previous quarter of 2011, TechCrunch estimates the number at around 190,000 per day; that’s short iPhone 4S sales, though, which reportedly sold at about 1.3 million per day during its first three days available. Still, it’s unlikely Apple is matching Google’s pace.

Android is seeing some big growth in Europe and emerging markets in Asia; an analysis from Gartner last month found that Android devices accounted for about 53 percent of all the smartphones sold in the third quarter of 2011. The company also announced recently that its Android Market had hit 10 billion app downloads, showing that all those Android phones floating around the world are converting to app sales, as well. Though Apple and Google are constantly battling for supremacy in one arena or another when it comes to the mobile sphere, at least in the growth category, Android is still leading by a considerable margin.

OnLive jumps aboard the Xperia PLAY

If you’re still looking for last-minute holiday gifts, you might want to consider a Sony Xperia PLAY, because now the smartphone can play PC games.

Sony’s PlayStation-branded smartphone was recently added to the list of devices that supports OnLive’s streaming video games app, which allows users to stream video game releases like Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Batman: Arkham City to some smartphones and tablets. The big upside of the Xperia PLAY is that it has a slide-out gamepad, making it ideal for playing actual video games. Users of other devices have to rely on either touch controls, which aren’t available for all games, or pay $49.99 for a wireless OnLive controller.

Adding OnLive to the Xperia PLAY is a pretty big boon for the device. It seems to have struggled to find a dedicated fanbase, despite being a quality piece of mobile gaming equipment. Using OnLive’s streaming service (which allows you to pay a monthly subscription for unlimited play of several games, rent games for a smaller fee for a series of days, or purchase games outright on the service for unlimited play) basically turns the Xperia PLAY into a mobile PlayStation 3, in a sense. And that pretty much makes it the most powerful handheld gaming device on the market right now.

Just keep in mind, if you do play PC games on your Xperia PLAY, that you’ll need a pretty solid Wi-Fi Internet connection to effectively stream games.