Company Name – Google
Founder – Andy Rubin, Nick Sears, Rich Miner, and Chris White
Android Mobile Operating System was developed by Andy Rubin, Nick Sears, Rich Miner, and Chris White. They were also the founders of Android Incorporated, the company which built the operating system. Google subsequently bought the company in 2005 and the Android Operating System was officially launched on 2007. The first commercial mobiles loaded with this operating system became available by September 2008.
The operating system is written in Java, C and C++ programming languages and follows the “open-source” model with proprietary software included in most devices using the operating system. Android Operating System has been the most-used and preferred operating system for mobile smartphones since 2011 and for handheld devices and tablets since 2013. It had over two billion active users every month as per the data acquired in 2017, making it the operating system with largest ever installations on active devices at one time.
How it all Started
Android Incorporated was founded in the year 2003 at Palo Alto, California, USA. The name is derived from the Greek word ‘Andros’ meaning man. Andrew or ‘Andy’ Rubin, one of the founders and a key member of the development team, had picked the name “android.com” for his personal website and it also became his nickname at work. Subsequently, the name ‘android’ was adopted for the project of developing an operating system for portable devices.
The team has started with the idea to develop an operating system to be used as an interface for digital cameras, but soon concluded that the camera market was too small for such universal application software.
Even though the idea was initially pitched to its investors by the company in 2004, they soon switched focus to developing a product to compete with Symbian or Windows Mobile, then the forerunners in the mobile operating system market. Initially, Andrew Rubin had problems gathering meaningful investment for the ambitious project and even faced the threat of evacuation from its premises at one point.
One of his close friends, Steve Periman had come forward with a cash investment of 10,000 dollars and an additional undisclosed sum wired to the company account which became the initial capital for Android Incorporated.
The team understood the value of the work they were engaged in and kept their project low-key and secretive, with the general public only being aware that they were working on an operating system for mobiles. The journey of Android’s exponential growth to popularity and worldwide domination of the mobile devices operating systems’ market started with the acquisition of the company by Google and its long-term goal of entering the mobile communication business in both hardware and software fields.
The Road to Popularity
With Google putting the might of its huge global popularity behind Android, the original team at the company including Andy Rubin, Rich Miner and Chris White had also joined Google. Under the leadership of Andy Rubin, the team at Google developed a Mobile operating system using open-source Linux kernel programming.
Google did its part in marketing the system to mobile handset developers and mobile service providers with the lucrative deal of providing a continuously upgradable platform which can be molded according to the changing hardware requirements.
The growth over the years
Along with this marketing pitch to key mobile players, Google also brokered deals with mobile hardware component manufacturers and software manufacturers with agreements of mutual cooperation. The year 2006 saw the speculation about Google entering the ever-expanding mobile market rising to a fever pitch.
The company even experimented with the prototype of a phone with a separate display and physical QWERTY keypad akin to the popular contemporary BlackBerry models. But with the release of ground-breaking iPhone by Apple, Google had to re-work its strategy with Android Mobile Operating system.
So, the new Andorid came with touchscreen compatibility, although the user needed the presence of a physical keypad to fully use all of its functions. So, the first commercially-available smartphone to incorporate Android was HTC Dream or T-Moblie G1, released on 23rd September, 2007.
Since the initial release, the newer versions carried the number and the name of popular desserts in alphabetical order like Cupcake, Jelly Bean, Kitkat, Lollipop, Oreo, etc. to denote its incorporation of ‘sweetness’ into its users’ daily life. The practice actually was the whimsical brainchild of the core team working on the operating system’s development, but became quite popular in its novel way of presentation.
In 2007, the same year of launching Android, the “Open Handset Alliance” was formed between Google and Mobile handset manufacturers Samsung, HTC, Motorola, processor makers Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, service providers T-Mobile and Sprint. The consortium aimed at providing a truly open platform for development of mobile devices. Faced with competition from similar alliances formed between competing companies, Google started filing patents for its indigenously developed software applications, including Android.
The year 2010 saw Google unveiling the first series of smartphones carrying its name, called Google Nexus, with Android Operating System at its core and software applications that were lean and fast with timely updates.
In 2013, Google diverged from the hitherto practice of customizing operating system according to hardware and instead provided a uniform base with timely updates, forming the basis of the current working model of Android – based smartphones. The latest Pixel Series launched in 2016 and 2017 are indigenously produced by Google with many exclusive features introduced for the first time on Android Operating System platform before being available in open market.
- The success of Android Operating System on the global front can be attributed to its open-source programming, portability and the judicious usage of its versatility by the mobile handset manufacturers.
- Android versions names based upon desserts in alphabetical order became popular for its novel presentation and catchy names.
- The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) operates as an independent platform for all mobile-related companies to access, modify and usage – this brand-independent architecture contributed hugely towards its eventual leadership in the category.
- The core programming of Android can be molded according to the needs of the device it is interfacing with – thus creating a virtually limitless opportunity for the programmers and manufacturers, thus making Android the first preference for most of them.
To conclude, Android Operating system has already become the preferred choice for most mobile manufacturers in only the second decade of its existence. Its open-source programming, flexibility and compatibility with hardware creating an easy-to-use interface much appreciated by the user is propelling the brand to new heights in spite of Google’s current dissociation of its name from the brand. Android is here to stay and will always be relevant for its departure from norms and putting ease-of-access and user-friendliness over and above profit considerations.