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article imageAndroid passes the two billion active devices milestone

By James Walker     May 18, 2017 in Technology
Google's Android is now used on over 2 billion every month. The operating system is now the largest in the world having surpassed Microsoft Windows last month. Alongside the announcement, Google unveiled a new set of features.
World's biggest platform
At the start of April, web analytics company StatCounter revealed Android's global market share has edged above Windows. Android is on 37.93% of all devices, compared with Windows' 37.91%. During the keynote of its I/O 2017 developers conference yesterday, Google revealed exactly how many devices that equates to. According to the company, two billion Android products are in use every month.
The statistic includes devices across of all of Android's supported families. The operating system has seen success in smartphones, tablets, watches, TVs and now cars too. Android Auto is said to have grown by 10 times in the past year as more car brands try to introduce it to their customers. Android TV is also on the rise, seeing 1 million new device activations every two months.
With two billion devices in use, Android has now affirmed its status as the largest platform of its kind. The operating system has been around for less than ten years. In that time, it has grown to surpass platforms that were introduced decades ago. Google described the milestone as "extraordinarily humbling."
Android O new features
Google also used its I/O keynote to debut several new features that are coming to Android O this summer. After launching the first developer preview earlier in the year, the company has released the second one with several changes and improvements.
Android O
Android O
Google
The major capabilities of the update include an overhaul of the notifications system and picture-in-picture mode. Google has also announced a new machine learning-powered text selection system to improve copy and paste, a revised home screen for Android TV and a simplified framework for autofill in apps.
At I/O, Google explained several new system functions that will lead to faster operation and a longer battery life. Apps will run more smoothly, background tasks are limited to save power and overall system stability has been improved by extensively tidying the underlying Android codebase. The measures will add up to a more dependable smartphone experience.
The new features are available today in the Android O Developer Preview 2. Unlike the first release, Google is classifying this build as "beta-quality" and suitable for use on a phone that's used every day. It's currently available to Nexus 5X, 6P, Pixel, Pixel XL and Pixel C users after signing up on the Android website.
Android Go
Android O
Android O
Google
The final Android-related news out of I/O was the unveiling of Android Go, a new initiative that's intended to give all smartphone users a stable and reliable platform. Android Go strips the operating system back to basics so it runs well on low-end devices with 1GB of memory of less. It's aimed primarily at developing regions where budget handsets remain the most popular.
Go will ship with a customised version of the Google Play Store that highlights apps that run well on unreliable data connections and slower phones. It's built for "the next billion users" and will launch at some point during 2018.
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