Ben Evans compares the numbers from Google’s announcement last week and Chitika’s usage report. Color us puzzled as well. By google’s numbers, they have activated half as many Android tablets as Apple has sold iPads, yet Chitika’s shows an overwhelming majority of iPad usage and individual Android tablets make up next to nothing. He posits 3 different explanations but the idea that these tablets are being bought cheap and not used seems the most plausible. He had a follow up post that showed nothing more than a Verizon “buy a phone, get a tablet free” promotion, so he might be leaning that way as well. Android tablets are often found on woot.com at a seriously discounted price as well. It would seem they are being bought solely for how cheap they are, and then put into different use than an iPad – I.e. an iPad is bought and prioritized (hence the higher cost and usage) whereas an Android tablet might be bought as a gaming device for your kids, or a fun cheap computer to hack, etc. On top of this all is the fuzziness around what an “activation” means.
But ignoring all of that, isn’t Google’s primary play here dependent on usage, rather than activations? If Android is a play to increase ad impressions (Google’s money maker), what good does it do Google if these activations are never showing in actual usage?