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Google's Android Tablet Shipment vs Usage Theory Debatable

10AB - News - Opinion
There's been a lot of discussion in the Apple community over the years about how Google and specifically Samsung quote "shipments" vs usage or units sold. Well, Google presented a debatable theory about that very topic at Google I/O today that you might find interesting. I found it to be very entertaining.


Pichai Sundararajan, better known as Sundar Pichai, is senior vice president at Google, where he oversees Android, Chrome and Google Apps. During his keynote that kicked off Google I/O, he presented his audience of developers and the press with a very odd new metric for determining Shipments and actual usage of Android tablets.


Pichai stated that "If you look at how we're doing, vis-a-vie the overall market, Android tablets accounted for 39% of all shipments in 2012. That number increased to 46% as of last year's I/O. As of this year's I/O Android tablets account for 62% of the world market" These statistics don't count Kindle tablets, so it would be slightly higher if they were added.


1A PA. Android Tablet Global Market Share stats

"These are 'shipment numbers' – again we care about usage so we view these as leading indicators of where usage will be. If you take a look at tablet usage, we're going to use YouTube as a way, as a proxy to understand usage."


"A year ago, the total tabletd we shipped with YouTube, 28% was for Android. That number has gone up again to 42% (see the chart below). So we're seeing usage track shipments." Really?


Firstly, Pichai only used a single year on his second chart below which is rather telling. Why didn't he show us a historical tracking chart with multiple years to prove out his theory? Samsung had a tablet out in 2010 with Android Froyo. So where's the tracking going back to 2010 or at least 2011?



Secondly, the theory goes that if YouTube ships with more Android tablets, then that automatically will mean that more real people are actually using Android tablets. The theory never entertains the idea that there are scores of Android tablets that are simply sitting on store shelves.


Google's theory also flies in the face of Web Traffic statistics. In North America alone, their theory is shot down instantly. Don't you need the web in order to connect with YouTube to make this theory viable? Yes of course. Yet in North America, Android tablet web traffic was only up marginally year-over-year. There was nowhere near a 16% leap in web traffic in 2013, let alone the invisible majority of 62% that they're calling for this year. 


So where are the web traffic statistics to substantiate their theoretical claim that more users are actually engaging Android on Tablets? In their mythical crystal ball is where, which came our way via magical keynote slides. In the end, I find it a little hard to swallow Mr. Sundararajan's theory. Though I must say it was entertaining.


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