The announcement was made by the search giant at its annual developers' I/O conference. To put the activations in scale, 100 million Android devices were activated as of 2011, while 400 million was reached in 2012.
The company also revealed at I/O that the company has paid out as much to developers so far in 2013 as it did in the entire year 2012.
Google also highlighted the fact that Android market penetration is less than 10 percent in many countries around the world. Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Chrome and Android, noted that Android is seeing strong growth in these areas, and with nearly 7 billion people in the world, the platform has a great deal of room for growth.
Google's announcement of 48 billion application downloads comes as Apple is counting down to the 50 billionth iOS App Store download. The data shows that despite the fact that Android leads in global market share, Apple still has a slight edge in total application downloads.