Research from analytics agency Flurry revealed recently that a staggering 6.8 million Android and iOS devices were activated on Christmas Day alone, an insane 353% more than on the average day in December (1.5 million). It was also incredible growth from last year: Christmas Day in 2010 saw 2.8 million activations.
But Flurry did not offer a breakdown of how many devices were Apple-based versus how many were Google-based. However, Fortune columnist Philip Elmer-DeWitt believes he has found the magic number.
To get to the end of the tunnel requires some thinking and—no, anything but this!—math. First, take Flurry’s number of 6.8 million. Then take Google senior vice-president for mobile Andy Rubin’s highlight that 3.7 million Android devices were activated during the Christmas weekend—Eve and Day. Next, consider Andy’s tweet a week ago stating that 700,000 devices were being activated per day (regular day, that is). After that, observe the historical spike in activations on Christmas Day—roughly 50%, according to Philip. Finally, crunch the numbers: a 50% spike equals approximately 1.1 million Android devices activated on Christmas Eve, leaving no more than 2.6 million for Christmas Day. Subtract from Flurry’s number, and you have a minimum of 4.2 million iOS activations, or 1.6 million more than competitor Google.
The only caveat is that Philip’s numbers do not include those of Amazon’s Kindle Fire because Google doesn’t include the device in its activation counts. However, eDataSource projected that just 850,000 Fires sold between its launch and December 1st, which translates to about 55,000 per day. Because that was its launch period, the numbers would possibly be even lower throughout December. Even assuming a 50% spike on 55,000, that would only add something like 82,000 activations to Android’s 2.6 million.