How many Android Wear devices out of 720,000 were activated in 2014? Here’s the number

Canalys announced on Wednesday that 720,000 Android Wear devices shipped in 2014.

But how many got onto peoples’ wrists? You can get an idea by looking at the number of downloads of the Android Wear app on Google Play.

However it’s intentionally vague – Google just gives you limits between which the install number lies. The levels are between 5k-10k installs, 10k-50k installs, 50k-100k installs, 100k-500k installs, 500k-1m installs, and so on.

Digging in

If you do some digging on the past captures of the Android Wear page on Google Play, you can quite quickly figure out when the number of installs passed various milestones. (Updates don’t count as extra downloads, so each “download” is a unique activation.)

A little bit of twiddling shows that the Android Wear app
• passed 10,000 downloads on July 3
• passed 50,000 downloads on July 15 (good progress!)
• passed 100,000 downloads on August 3
• passed 500,000 downloads between December 2 and 9.

The page also includes the number of reviews, which is also a useful thing to track.

So I graphed it out, and once you add in the download breakpoints, and especially the reviews, there’s a fairly clear straight-line relationship over time.

Here is is with just the download breakpoints:

Android Wear: download breakpoints

Using the Internet Archive shows you when downloads of Android Wear passed particular points.

Then we can draw a straight-line trendline

Android Wear: trendline

The download breakpoints offer a straight line interpolation

The number of reviews (graphed on the right-hand axis) seems to reinforce that there’s roughly a straight-line relationship.

Android Wear: reviews

Adding in the number of reviews from the app page suggests a straight-line growth in downloads

If you look in more detail, there seems to have been a rush of reviews early on, a bit of a dip from August to the end of October, and a fairly clear linear relationship after that. But that’s not surprising, given that Google handed out a few thousand Android Wear devices at Google I/O in June.

So that trendline looks even better once you’ve got the reviews graphed:

Android Wear: downloads and reviews

Downloads and reviews of Android Wear seem to agree pretty well. So how many by the end of 2014?

That’s pretty solid. And here’s what this graph says: by December 30, there had been about 560,000 downloads of Android Wear.

By 11 February, based on the number of reviews, it’s around 700,000.

Android Wear: all the numbers

Put it together, and we have about 560,000 Android Wear activations by the end of 2014, and 700,000 to mid-February.

Is that a good or bad figure? I’ve no idea, to be honest. (If you assume 1.2bn Google Android phones in use, with Android Wear working on everything from 4.3 upwards, which takes in 47.6% of Android phones, then you have a potential addressable market of over 570m phones. (If you take it as 1bn Google Android phones, then it’s an addressable market of 476m.)

The much more important question – which I don’t know how you measure – is how many are still being used. Abandonment of wearables has been quite high, at around a third of all users.

Update: at the suggestion of @jasonostrander on Twitter, one might get an idea of the split of use via watchface downloads. There’s a ton of them, and people seem to have downloaded at least two each.

4 thoughts on “How many Android Wear devices out of 720,000 were activated in 2014? Here’s the number

  1. Interesting analysis, Charles. A few other factors to take in to account:

    – Googlers. Not sure what their current headcount is, but would assume 1 activation per FTE? That must be about 10% at least these days?
    – multiple devices. If one has a phone and a tablet, are there downloads per device? ( No idea on this- for paid apps you only pay once per user irrelevant of devices installed, but it’s that the same as for downloads? Again, with the numbers we are talking about, multiple device Googlers could seriously bring this number down). What about when someone gets a new device? (Did nexus 6 launch in this window?)
    – tyre kickers. How many downloads are from folk who are just seeing what the app can do but don’t have a device?

    From observation of behaviours and reporting at Microsoft with the launch of Surface 1 (when a huge proportion of staff got given one) the impact of such priming shouldn’t be ignored! The only wears I’ve seen in the wild in the UK have been on the wrists of Googlers and mobile operator employees.

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