At Google I/O, David Burke took the stage during the keynote to reveal some tangible statistics about the growth and success of the platform. Android TV, a platform where hardware manufacturers can make devices and software developers can build applications for end users, needs a healthy ecosystem of both in order to provide the most value to the end user. Developers need to know their time is worthwhile, and users need to know their TV will have support for years to come.
We’ve partnered with over a hundred cable operators and hardware manufacturers around the world and we’re now seeing one million device activations every two months. And there’s more than three thousand Android TV apps in the Play Store.
Let’s try to put some of these statistics in context. We reported back at the end of last year that Android TV hit at least 5 million activations. If we assume that one million new TVs have been added in the past six months, that means there’s about 8 million Android TVs which have been activated.
An activation means that a user set it up, not that users are actually using it. There was no mention of monthly active users (MAUs), which may give a clearer picture of continuous usage. That usage may be very dependent on apps, which give users continuous interactions.
Three thousand apps may be significant for the platform, but how does it compete with others? The number of apps on the Fire TV is not clear. As of two years ago the number was over four thousand with a caveat. Lifewire estimated that Apple TV had over eight thousand apps as of last October.
Android TV’s numbers are notably lower, which may hurt it in comparison to other platforms. However, it is not hard to sideload many apps which can be controlled with a remote or other input types. Additionally, the platform’s native support for cast from other devices allows it to support apps even without the need for a native application.
Perhaps a part of this new redesign will be to increase user activity, which should in turn increase the total app count and users will hopefully follow. We will continue to see how well Android TV compares in both user experience and raw numbers.