It doesn’t matter whether you are a computer geek or someone who doesn’t understand computer, You might have definitely heard the term “Android”. You might have heard of people buying android mobiles, updating their phones to latest Android Version, downloading an Android app. So What the heck is this ANDROID and how it started. And for those who don’t really understand computer science this might be a million dollar question. Fortunately it has a very simple answer. Android is just an Open Source Linux-based Mobile Operating System which started in 2005 (technically 2003). This article will explain every thing about android history. How Android started and went on become the most popular mobile OS. Let us start from the beginning
What is a Mobile Operating System ?
Before taking a deep dive in Android history let us first understand was an Operating System is. Operating system acts as the interface between user and the computer hardware (mobile in this case). It is the “thing” which basically manages operations on your device, hence the name “Operating System”. Suppose you want to make a call using your mobile. You would need microphone, speaker, network and most importantly you don’t want any other device operation interfering with your call. Operating system takes care of all these. Once you have dialed the number it is the operating system which activates the microphone and speaker, schedules your task(call) and executes it.Operating system is the backbone of any device. So it is very important to have a good operating system. And believe me Android is one of the best.
Mobiles before Android
Remember the classic Nokia 1100? Or any other black and white feature mobile phone. Those were the first mobile phones and yes they didn’t have any actual operating system. Those phones had minimal features and most of which could be achieved by communication of software and hardware directly. Then came Java powered phone. This was a big step! Mobiles started coming up with a lot of features and designs. Era of smart phones was just around the corner. The era began with the launch of Blackberry smart phones. These devices changed the definition of mobile phones. Nokia too came up with the successful N series. These came with Symbian operating system. But a revolution was round the corner.
Andy Rubin – The man behind Android
In 2003, Andy Rubin with three more of his friends founded Android. His initial plan was to develop it as an operating system for digital cameras. But soon realised that the market for digital cameras is too small and hence decided to pitch Android as hand-held device operating system that could rival Symbian and Microsoft Windows Mobile . But even this idea could not impress any investor and Android was close to being shutdown. In fact Rubin had to seek money from one of his friends just so that he could pay rent for the office space. His friend gave him $10,000 and this money was the turning point in Android history. It brought Android back on track and in 2005 Google Inc acquired Android. Andy Rubin also joined Google as a part of this acquisition. At Google, Android was a very secretive project with very little known about its working.
This brings us to the most interesting part of Android History- The First Failure. On January 9th 2007, Steve Jobs launched the first iPhone leaving the Android team in a state of shock. The iPhone with a touch screen was far much superior and user friendly. The Android phone which Google was developing was in no way close to this. Apple products create a lot of buzz even before launching. This was a no different case. iPhone was launched as an exclusive to AT&T customers and soon people queued for hours to buy it. There was no match available to IOS powered mobiles. But the problem was it was only exclusive to AT&T so other carriers especially Verizon started panicking. People were switching to AT&T just to use an iPhone. At Google, they went back to the drawing board to redo their complete design.
Open Handset Alliance
Meanwhile a consortium of multiple software and hardware companies was formed to develop something which could rival the iPhone. This group included big names like from like Samsung, Motorola and HTC from mobile manufacturing, wireless carriers like Sprint and T-Mobile, and chipset makers such as Qualcomm and Texas Instruments .Known as the Open Handset Alliance they picked up Android as the new mobile OS. All the companies started investing their resources to develop a compatible and powerful OS which could work on a range of devices. Google was leading this consortium.
Finally in 2008, HTC launched the first Android phone- HTC Dream. But this was no match to iPhone and the product failed Motorola didn’t lose hope and came up with Droid Smartphone in 2009. Verizon spent $100M in marketing this in order to get back in market. Though it didn’t start a revolution as iPhone did but was successful enough to create a mark. Android was an open source platform meaning every other handset company could come up with an Android Phone and this was the only chance they had against iPhone. Hence handset manufacturers did all they could in order develop Android into the best OS. Google was leading this Alliance. With over several versions over seven years Android today covers more than 85% of the world’s smart phone market. Open Handset Alliance is now a group of 84 companies. Nokia is not a part of this alliance and that is why Nokia is no more a market player in mobile phones.
So today basically Android is an open source Mobile operating system. Open source means any company and come up with an Android device. Though initially launched for Mobiles and Tablets android is now available for smartwatches, wearables and even automobiles.. By the end of June 2016 playstore had about 2.2 million apps. As of 2018 Android has taken over 85.9% of the smartphone market and has been giving Apple some sleepless nights over these years. With Google and a group of other 83 companies backing it Android will definitely be around for a lot more years.
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With this brief about Android history you must now be curious to understand how Android works. Read this tutorial –> How Android works