If the reports that Apple was “catching up” with Android yesterday made anyone contemplative (and contemplate that it was a narrow focus on new smartphone buyers), Google’s earnings call today should be enough to put any and all doubts to rest. Amid the regular pomp and circumstance of corporate back-patting, Google CEO Larry Page noted that over 250 million Android devices have been activated worldwide, with more than 11 billion (that’s billion with a B) apps have been downloaded from the Android Market. That’s a heck of a way to start off the new year.

The last time we’d heard either figure was back in 2011: Android passed the 200 million device mark in November,  and Google celebrated 10 billion app downloads in December with a 10-day sale. That’s a growth of 50 million Android phones and tablets, 25% of the former total, in just over two months. Total app downloads have grown by 10% in less than one. Both Android sales and usage are at what creative mathematicians like to call the hockey stick point of the graph, and there’s no indication that it’s slowing down, particularly in worldwide markets.

Google doesn’t discuss direct revenue in relation to Android (though Oracle’s been mighty forthcoming lately) but the company’s total earnings passed 10 billion dollars for the first time ever. The vast majority of the 10.6 billion figure comes from advertising, with $410 million from outside sources. It’s not all rose-colored, though – while Google’s income and profits are both growing, Q4 2011 was the slowest growth all year, mirroring hardships from just about every company in the technology sector.


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