Google Android

An Android display at the Google exhibit at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday. (Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg / February 27, 2012)

No surprise here, but Google's Android operating system, which has been the most popular mobile OS in the world for more than a year, is continuing to grow.

Andy Rubin, the Google senior vice president who oversees Android, tweeted Monday: "At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Enjoying watching the ecosystem at work. 850k activations a day now!" 

In December, Google was at a pace of about 700,000 Android activations a day. That's up from  500,000 activations a day in June 2011 and 300,000 a day in December 2010.

Rubin offered more numbers on Android's growth in a company blog post, stating that the software, which is given away free to hardware makers, had a "year-on-year growth rate of more than 250%."

More than 300 million Android devices have been activated since the operating system's launch in 2008 and more than 800 models of phones and tablets have been built running Android as well, Rubin said. At the annual Mobile World Congress event, hardware makers are showing off more than 100 Android devices, he said.

Google's Android Market also has more than 450,000 apps available for download, up from 150,000 at the time of last year's Mobile World Congress, Rubin said.

More than a billion apps are downloaded each month, he said. That number is particularly impressive considering it was only in December that the Android Marker passed 10 billion app downloads overall.

The growth may help it catch up to its biggest rival, Apple's iOS, which has had more than 24.8-billion app downloads as of Monday afternoon.

"These numbers are a testament to the breakneck speed of innovation that defines the Android ecosystem," Rubin said.

Still, not all is well with Android. The latest version of the Google-built OS, Android 4.0 (also known as Android Ice Cream Sandwich) was released in December and so far is only running on about 1% of Android devices worldwide.

At the Mobile World Congress, every major Android phone and tablet maker is showing off new hardware, much of which runs on variations of Ice Cream Sandwich. But many of those devices -- such as the HTC One X, Acer Liquid Glow and LG Optimus 4X HD -- won't be released until later in the year.

RELATED:

HTC One X phone gets quad-core CPU -- except in U.S.

Motorola: Most Android Ice Cream Sandwich updates due late 2012

LG Optimus 4X HD to launch with quad-core CPU, Ice Cream Sandwich

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