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Google Wanted To Sell 10 Million Android Tablets in 2011



When Google and Motorola announced the Xoom in early 2011, the search giant expected to sell 10 million Android tablets in the year as well as another 10 million in 2012.

According to The Verge, the numbers come for a presentation given by Google’s senior vice president of mobile, Andy Rubin in 2010, when the Xoom was still a prototype. Google hoped to sell 10 million Android tablets a year in both 2011 and 2012 in an effort to capture 33 percent of the tablet market.

Google’s aggressive estimates turned out to be extremely optimistic. Despite flooding the market with Android tablets of almost every size imaginable, manufacturers haven’t had much luck selling the devices.

Google Wanted To Sell 10 Million Android Tablets in 2011

Even if Google’s partners were able to sell 10 million tablets each year, Android wouldn’t capture 33 percent of the tablet market. The estimate Google used from Morgan Stanley in 2010 said the entire tablet market would be 48 million tablets by the end of 2012.

By the end of April 2012, Apple already sold more than 67 million iPads. If Google’s partners sold 20 million Android tablets by now, Android would only have about 23 percent of the tablet market.

Google expected the 20 million tablets to contribute $110 million in search revenue in 2011, and $220 million in 2012.

These estimates, paired with the revenue Google expected to make from Android in 2010, show how aggressive the search company thought it could be when entering new markets. Google expected to walk into the tablet market and grab some market share from Apple, and it expected to do the same thing in music.

Neither of those efforts have paid off thus far.

The presentation slides also showed some prototype designs of Honeycomb with more cartoony widgets and icons. The designs were eventually changed to what Google now calls “Holo.” The early designs look a bit more welcoming on a tablet, but probably wouldn’t have resulted in the sleek look of Ice Cream Sandwich.



  1. Dubya911

    04/25/2012 at 3:28 pm

    The linked article shows 4.8M Android tablets sold in Q2-2011.  I am no math wiz but pretty sure that works out to 19.2M/year.  Again, maybe a bit slow here but that would seem to suggest that they actually dramatically underestimated with a target of only 10M/year, no?

    • Shawn Ingram

      04/25/2012 at 4:00 pm

      The article says 4.8M shipped in the quarter. Units shipped don’t aren’t the same as units sold.

      • Bryan Lee

        04/25/2012 at 5:41 pm

        Except that they are … eventually. Initially the Android manufacturers may have overestimated how much they could sell a bit. And so prices got slashed, until they sold. As far as I can tell, if they have a tablet that doesn’t sell, they have three choices: 1) Junk it, 2) Leave it on the shelf, 3) Reduce the price until it sells.

        With the first two they make no money. With the third, they recoup at least a bit of money, plus they gain a customer. No surprise, they picked option #3.

        It’s now a year later, and by now the Android tablet manufacturers have a better idea of how big a sales number to expect and what price range will work. And what do you know, the Transformer Prime is selling quite well on Amazon at a $500 price.

        Some recent articles claim that Android has 39% of the tablet market. Even if that represents only shipments, those units will all be sold very soon.

  2. Charbax

    04/25/2012 at 6:04 pm

    Far more than 10 million Android tablets were shipped worldwide in 2011. That number is likely over 50 million in 2012 alone. Android tablets daily activations have overtaken the iPad since a day in December 2011.

    • Sumocat

      04/25/2012 at 6:41 pm

      Maybe, but Google’s Android tablet activations were only 12M as of Feb 2012. Doesn’t count non-Google tablets, but those don’t help Google much.

      • Charbax

        04/25/2012 at 6:45 pm

        Google makes as much money on non Google tablets as they do on officially certified Google Play pre-installed tablets. For one, about 95% of non-Google tablets do come with Google Play pre-installed, they just don’t happen to be Google certified yet for some corrupt reason. Second, Google makes 99% of their money in people using the Internet more when using such devices as Smartphones and Tablets, those consumers use all Google services more. They really do not care about the 5% transaction fee that they take on app sales in the Google Marketplace. 70% of app sales revenue goes to app makers, 25% goes to carriers or other intermediaries/manufacturers, Google only keeps a 5% transaction fee which mostly goes to pay for the credit card cost and other.

        • Sumocat

          04/25/2012 at 7:05 pm

          Google counts activations by tracking the Android devices that use Google services, including Google Play. All tablets that come with Google Play pre-installed are counted as “Google tablets” in their activation numbers.

          Tablets not counted are those without Google services pre-installed, such as the Kindle Fire, which cuts out Google by running web traffic through their own server via the Silk browser. Not that it matters. If we’re judging based on revenue, per Google’s own testimony, iOS generates twice as much revenue for Google than Android despite its greater market share.

      • Charbax

        04/25/2012 at 7:22 pm

        I don’t think so. Google counts only Google Certified devices. There are millions of Android tablets shipped out of China that are not Google Certified yet, they have Google Play etc installed, but I don’t think Google includes those in their counts. There are hundreds of millions of those non-certified Android smartphones being sold out of China, they are not yet part of the Google count.

      • Charbax

        04/26/2012 at 4:46 am

        Officially they can’t pre-install the Google apps but 99% of non-certified Android devices do. And Google does not care. Google for some reason simply does not count those devices yet.

        Officially they can’t call themselves Android devices but 99% of non-certified Android devices do (except Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet and few others). And Google does not care.

        I believe suddenly that Google may start counting all Android devices and that Google will start to be more open about pretty much anyone being free to pre-install Google apps if they want without needing to be certified. They may even open source the Google apps partly and provide APIs to use Google services in other apps. That should upwards more than double the currently stated daily Android device activation count.

        • Sumocat

          04/26/2012 at 6:22 am

          I don’t think you understand how this works. If an Android device runs Google services, then it is counted as an activation. If those uncertified Android tablets are running Google Play, licensed or not, they still get counted. If you go to the Google Play website, log in, and see your device listed, then you know that device has been counted. I agree that Google probably doesn’t care how a device gets to
          their services, but they are still counted based on Google service activation.

          I’m sure there is a vast pool of Android tablets outside of Google’s ecosystem, but again, Google doesn’t get much benefit from that. Otherwise, I really don’t see the point of spending billions on an ecosystem in the first place.

      • Charbax

        04/26/2012 at 6:50 am

        Google does not count the hundreds of millions of Android devices being made, sold in China and the rest of the world that may or may not come with Google services built-in, China does not allow Google services so they come with alternative Chinese app libraries, but users can install Google Play often Google Play/Market and Google apps do come pre-installed and those devices are NOT Google Certified thus Google does NOT count them today. Sure enough Google knows that those devices exist, just as Google is able to count the number of Kindle Fires activated even as Google apps are NOT pre-installed on the Kindle Fire, simply because most Kindle Fire users do still use Google services at least through the web browser and most apps even in Kindle Store use Google powered advertising systems that also allows Google to count devices and usage.

        Google ONLY counts Google Certified devices today. Only the Motorolas, Samsungs, LGs, Huawei’s, ZTE’s etc. They do not count the 1000 Android makers that make Android tablets, Android phones that are NOT Google Certified today.

        You can essentially double Google’s Android activation numbers to get the true number of daily Android activations globally. And I think Google will eventually change how they count activations and count any device and not do the same Google Certification barrier as is now.

        And again, Google profits ON ALL DEVICES pretty much equally. Google profits on certified Android devices, they profit on non-certified Android devices, they profit on iOS devices, they even profit on Windows Phone, and other devices. Google makes 95% of its profit from people using the Internet more, regardless of platform, regardless of Marketplaces, regardless of Google Apps being fully integrated or not. Users who use any smartphone, any tablet, use the Internet more, and that means Google earns more profits from that user. A non-smartphone and non-tablet user may bring Google an average of less than $10/year in revenue in average. While a user of any Smartphone and any Tablet probably provides Google with over $50/year in average. That basically means Android brings Google over $5 Billion per year in revenue today, probably upwards over $10 Billion per year soon, as Android is a project to increase the number of people who use smartphones and tablets and thus increase Google’s revenue.

        • Sumocat

          04/26/2012 at 7:29 am

          None of that makes any sense based on what has been stated, reported and published by and about Google to date.

          Basically, you’re stating that I could have five Android devices recognized by Google Play and, if they weren’t certified, Google doesn’t count any of them as an activated device. So when Google says 300M Android devices have been activated there could be 600M Android devices – no wait, 1 billion – in Google’s service database and they’re just not bragging about it. And Google spending billions on an ecosystem is not costing them money because they make an equal profit on everything whether its in their ecosystem or not, which means the expenditure is totally worth it because it doesn’t affect profit. And Google’s own claims on mobile revenue are wrong.

          Well, damn, if we’re just going to disregard all that, then we might as well throw out the claim about Google wanting to sell 10M tablets. Let’s just say they really wanted to sell 5M and sold 200M instead. It’s no more ridiculous or less supported than any of your comments so far.

        • GTaylor

          04/26/2012 at 7:49 am

           Sumo, if you enjoy numbing your brain look up the Archos fan web site and read more of Charbax’ auto generated comments, they go back years.

      • Charbax

        04/26/2012 at 8:35 am

        The only confirmation from Google about activations has been “we count each device only once (ie, we don’t count re-sold devices), and ‘activations’ means you go into a store, buy a device, put it on the network by subscribing to a wireless service.” That means exactly what I have been telling you. Google has a few dozen manufacturers that make Google Certified Android devices, those are the only ones counted today. Those represent only about half of all Android devices activated daily. You just go ahead and don’t believe it if you want.

        And by the way, all those “documents” Oracle uses in court are only that, documents to be used in court. They are in no way true revenue/profit or device activation numbers as Google is in no way required to communicate that to the court. All that comes of that Oracle lawsuit is that Google will be able to settle out of court for a few dozen million dollars, while Oracle initially claimed Google should have paid them several billions of dollars, thus Google only needs to pay 100x less than what Oracle asked for which is only fair as Oracle over-paid over $7 Billion for Sun Microsystems with the main hope to be able to milk Android with that acquisition, mission failed.

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