We’ve now gotten some additional clarification from trusted sources on what Google considers an “Android device” for the purposes of counting activations (which would presumably apply to every activation count Google has released in the past). It’s actually really simple: you need to activate Google services on the device. In all likelihood, Google’s counter actually jumps the moment you sign into your Google account on the phone or tablet, whether that be the first time you turn it on or when you’re prompted after jumping into something like Gmail or the Android Market. And as Rubin says on Google+, it only happens once per physical device.
It turns out that Google is only counting activations it activates (I know!). It is not counting devices that use Android code, because it does not have control over -or no way of- counting like the Kindle Fire or Barnes and Noble Nook (I know!).
Perhaps Amazon, who is very transparent with its Kindle numbers, could help Google out there.
- Andy Rubin announces: 700,000 Android devices activated every day (9to5google.com)