Android: A short and sweet history lesson


Android now has the largest installed base of all operating systems worldwide. There are versions for mobile devices, TVs, cars and wearables, not forgetting game consoles, digital cameras and more.

How and when did Android start?

Android was first unveiled in 2007 by Google, who bought Android Inc. in 2005. Android Inc. was founded in 2003. After working under cover for most of the time, the very first smartphone was released in 2008 as the HTC Dream. In the United States, the T-Mobile G1 was launched.

The Android 1.0 user interface was developed with input from TAT (The Astonishing Tribe), a Swedish interaction design firm. This proved an excellent foundation for future Android user interfaces that still introduce new concepts all the time. An upgrade to V1.1 was successfully rolled out “over the air”, which was a first for a smartphone platform.

You can have your cake and eat it

Newer versions of Android were soon released in succession, each named after some dessert or sugary treat, including Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean and KitKat. Cupcake introduced the first on-screen keyboard, while Éclair introduced Google Maps.  During the first year of Android’s commercial existence, a new version was released every two-and-a-half months.

Who are the manufacturers?

Various manufacturers make Android devices and users often remain loyal to a make, rather than an operating system. The first Nexus smartphone to run on Android appeared in 2010 in the Nexus series of devices. Different versions of the Nexus were made by different manufactures including LG and Asus. In early 2011, Samsung entered the Android stage with Android version 2.3 on the Nexus S phone.

Google comes into Play

From 2013 until 2015, Google offered several Google Play Edition devices on the Google Play platform. These customized Android devices ran Android without carrier or manufacturer modifications. The Google Play Store would become an important platform for access to a huge variety of Google Android applications. To date, the Play Store has undergone five major redesigns in as many years.

Which candy comes next?

In 2014, Google launched Android One, a series of smartphones intended for the users in the developing world. There are also further inroads to be made with cars and wearables. What is the next version of Android called? Lollipop! We’re looking forward to many more surprises until Android reaches the end of the alphabet. It will have to reverse through the alphabet again, or start a new naming convention – that could be interesting. Maybe something less sugary and more healthy!




Anton Venter

Anton covered Google technology for over four years from the the city of Johannesburg in South Africa. He has reviewed mobiles and Android devices for a number of local blogs and magazines; Anton loves researching and numbers.

Leave a Reply