Android is far behind Apple’s iPad in total units sold, but Andy Rubin says 2012 could be the year where that changes.

Speaking today at cellular global Congress in Barcleona, Google’s Android leader said that customers have activated 12 million Android-primarily based tablets to this point. in keeping with The Verge, which first reported on his feedback, Rubin said that the figure was once “no longer insignificant, but not up to I’d expect it to be should you really need to win” the tablet market.

That might be an understatement. During the fourth quarter of 2011 alone, Apple sold over 15 million iPads worldwide. In all of 2011, the company sold about 40 million iPads. It took Android, according to Rubin, two years to hit 12 million units. And if that figure includes Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet, which reportedly reached 5 million to 6 million unit sales in the fourth quarter, it doesn’t leave much for all the other slates that hit store shelves over the last couple years.

Still, Rubin has high hopes. He says that “2012 is going to be the year that we double down and make sure we’re winning” in the tablet market.

Rubin didn’t say what he has planned to overcome Apple’s iPad. Google has so far depended on hardware providers using its working machine within their many gadgets. Apple, in the meantime, simplest provides its working device on its own line of goods. the method has paid off mightily in the cellphone market where Android holds a commanding lead. whether Google can pull off a repeat in the tablet market remains unclear.

But don’t expect Google to make Motorola Mobility a priority in that strategy. During his talk today, Rubin said that his company plans to stay “neutral” after it closes its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Neutrality, he said, is the only way to ensure Android stays “successful.”

That’s music to the ears of executives of other Android handset makers around the world. When Google announced plans to acquire Motorola Mobility last year, there was some concern among industry observers that the search giant would give preferential treatment to its new buy. Google, however, briefly threw cold water on those concerns, saying that the focal point of its acquisition used to be patent coverage.

“The Android atmosphere is the No. 1 priority, and that we received’t do the rest with Motorola, or anyone else, by the best way, that may screw up the dynamics of that trade,” Google government chairman Eric Schmidt said closing year. “we need strong, exhausting festival amongst the entire Android players. We won’t play favorites in the best way persons are excited about.”

Aside from his Mobile World Congress talk, Rubin revealed today on his Google+ page that 850,000 Android-based phones and tablets are activated each day. All told, 300 million Android phones have been activated since the platform’s inception.