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Android generating $2.5bn a year for Google

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Google Android Ice Cream Sandwich
Google chief executive Larry Page has revealed that there are now more than 190 million Android devices in use, and mobile advertising through the operating system is on course to generate $2.5bn (£1.6bn) in annual revenues.

Since its launch in 2008, the Android operating system has grown to become the best-selling smartphone platform in the world, powering numerous different handsets and also tablet computers.

Google's latest iteration, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich, was due to launch this week with the Samsung Nexus Prime phone, but was delayed as a tribute to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Speaking at the company's earnings results, Google co-founder Page - who took over as chief executive in April from Eric Schmidt - said that the growth of Android has been "mind-boggling", reports The Guardian.

"Over 190m devices have now been activated globally. I'm super excited about the soon-to-be released new version of Android called Ice Cream Sandwich, that's right, Ice Cream Sandwich. You won't believe what we manage to get done in this release," he said.

"We're also seeing a huge positive revenue impact from mobile, we just grown 2.5 times in the last 12 months, to a run rate of over $2.5bn.

"Generally, I found that high-usage products will make a lot of money over time for well-managed technology companies, and that's why it's so important to run these businesses for the long term."

Page was speaking as the search engine giant reported third quarter income as being up 26% year-on-year to $2.7 billion after revenues climbed 33% to $9.7 billion.

Google shares lifted 6% in after-hours trading on Wall Street last night as Google's "great quarter" countered expectations of a slowdown in the company's growth rate.

The $2.5bn annual mobile advertising revenue from Android would be only a small proportion of Google's overall earnings, which are estimated to total $35.7bn over the past four quarters. But the market for mobile devices and the services on them is widely viewed as a key growth area going forward.

Nikesh Arora, Google's chief business officer, said: "Our revenue growth continues to accelerate even in mobile, driven primarily by mobile search. This growth obviously is driven both by the underlying expansion of Android devices and of tablets, as well as stellar performance of our sales teams who are working closely with our customers to help them craft compelling mobile advertising solutions."

He added: "Many advertisers have greatly increased the size and frequency of their mobile campaigns. Mobile is becoming a must-have. This includes clients like InterContinental Hotels Group, which spans pretty much across our entire portfolio of properties including Mobile search, Mobile GDN and AdMob."

Also alongside the results, Page said that the firm's social network Google+ has reached more than 40 million users worldwide since it went public in September.

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