Owners of Android smartphones, tablets, and other devices compatible with Google's omnipresent operating system have installed 82 billion apps from the Google Play Store over the course of 2016, the Alphabet-owned company revealed. While speaking at the opening Keynote of the latest iteration of the firm's annual Google I/O developer conference, Google's Vice President of Android Engineering Dave Burke disclosed the aforementioned figure, noting how it represents a significant increase compared to 2015. For reference, consumers installed approximately 65 billion Android apps from the Google Play Store in 2015, and if recent trends are to continue, the number of annual app installs recorded by Google's digital marketplace may surpass 100 billion this year.
During the same Keynote, Google's Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai revealed that there are now over two billion of active Android devices in the world, making its ubiquitous operating system the largest OS on the planet. As expected, the Alphabet-owned company used the latest iteration of its yearly developer conference as an opportunity to talk about its upcoming Android-focused initiatives, including those that are clearly aimed at further growing the Android ecosystem. One of those programs is Android Go, a new variant of Android that's specifically designed to power entry-level smartphones, many of which are used in developing markets. The software that numerous industry watchers see as an extension of the Android One program will be optimized for handsets that feature as little as 512MB of RAM and will start being distributed to consumers later this year, simultaneously with the first stable release of Android O.
Android TV and Chrome OS devices are also expected to help grow the Android ecosystem in the future, especially as Chromebooks have been receiving support for Android apps in recent months and all of the upcoming laptops powered by Google's Linux-based operating system will be able to run Android apps out of the box. Those and similar initiatives will likely play an important role in Google's efforts to maintain Android's traction which is becoming an increasingly difficult task seeing how numerous mobile markets are already showing signs of saturation, meaning that the Alphabet-owned company needs to look past smartphones in an effort to continue growing the Android platform.