Less than a week before Google I/O, the conference where Google is expected to unveil Android 2.2 (FroYo), it's clear that Google's mobile operating system is no longer an experiment. Android is now a popular software that runs on millions of devices and it's part of a growing ecosystem.
Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, said that "65,000 mobile phones powered by Google's Android operating system are being shipped every day" and that "Android is now being used on 34 mobile devices in 49 countries".
According to a NPD research, Android is the second most popular smartphone operating system in the US in terms of units sold in the first quarter of 2010 (28%), after Blackberry OS (36%). Apple's iPhone OS dropped to the third position (21%).
Cédric Beust, a former Google engineer who worked on the Android team, says that Android's growth is surprising:
"I don't know what's the most surprising: how ambitious that goal was four years ago or how far Android has come today. It's hard to believe that Android shipped its first device about a year and a half ago and at that time, Apple had already sold more than ten million iPhones. Who would have guessed that it would only take Android eighteen months to catch up and pass the iPhone in market share? In this short period of time, we've gone through four major releases (and many, many minor ones, some of which you probably never even heard of), and each new version has been a major milestone that got everyone on the team incredibly excited. FroYo is no exception, prepare to be blown away by what you will see very soon."
It's interesting to see that carrier distribution and promotion continues to be very important. The most popular Android phone, Motorola Droid, has been aggressively promoted by Verizon. Nexus One has been sold online by Google, but the results are underwhelming and Google plans to close the online store.