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A fifth of people on Earth own an Android smartphone

Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced at the Nexus and Chromecast event that Android has surpassed 1.4 billion active monthly users, reaching one fifth of the population on Earth.

That is quite a tremendous number, showing the massive growth of Android in South-East Asia. Places like Indonesia, India, Vietnam and Thailand are all coming online, with hundreds of millions of people that are receiving a phone for the first time.

Even though Samsung still holds a large portion of Android, new operators like Xiaomi, Micromax, and OnePlus are starting to trend. The former two are especially prominent in South-East Asia, where they are outpacing Samsung and Apple.

All of these activations are great news for Google, but it is still struggling to fix several issues.

The biggest is in China, where it is unable to offer Google Play services. That means over 400 million of those 1.4 billion active users are not buying games that give Google a cut, and are not using services offered by the search giant.

Other potential issues include the growth of Cyanogen. The ROM is still working to offer Google Play services, but it is only a matter of time before the upstart tries to take those services away in favour of its own.

Google also faces regulatory investigation over the openness of Android. Described as an open-source platform, several app developers, including Yandex, claim that Google is using the mobile platform to push its own services ahead of competitors.

This could lead to the European Union and FCC banning this practice, which would make it harder for Google to offer all its services. That wouldn’t necessarily stop the growth of Android, but it would make Google’s revenue from Android a lot lower if less people are using its apps.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.