Google’s Vikram Aggarwal, a software engineer working on the Android platform, revealed today that Gmail and Email, the native Android client that still ships on Android devices as well, now has a combined user base of more than 100 million across the Android install base. It’s an interesting stat, because although Gmail and Email only represent two of a multitude of email clients available on Android, it’s likely that those two represent the email clients of choice for a wide swath of Android users.
This means that a 100-million-strong active user base for those two combined is probably a pretty good reflection of the total active user base of Android itself, give or take a few million users. That’s a good figure to get, since we usually see more about total activations, which is a far less accurate measure of how many people are currently using devices. Activations occur whenever there is a full device reset, for instance, and people often upgrade to new phones, meaning their previous activation is no longer an active one.
Google has passed 900 million Android activations, the company revealed at the I/O keynote earlier this week. Put in context of a 100-million-strong active user base for the core email apps operating on the platform, however, we get a picture of Android users which is much more down to earth. Estimates of active Apple devices have to take into account the 500 million sold to date, with over 300 million now on iOS 6. Updated to that version or being sold with it installed indicates there’s a good chance a lot of those are still in active use.
Divining the total number of active users on either platform is one part magic and one part science, and the 100 million is likely shy of the actual total of active Android devices out there, but it’s still another piece of the puzzle.