When Android was first created, no one could have predicted how much it would grow in the following years. It is estimated that Android has around 2.5 billion current users, which span over 190 countries. These users use Android on a number of different devices, from smartphones and tablets to various other electronic devices.
The rise of Android was full of important events and strong rivalries, which the operating system still has to battle to compete with competition to this day. Below we will go through how Android started and follow its journey to the present day as well as touch on what the future of Android may look like.
How Did Android Start?
Android was first created all the way back in 2003. However, it wasn’t until much later that the company really started to take off. It was started in Palo Alto, located in California, and was founded by four people. They were Chris White, Andy Rubin, Rich Miner and Nick Sears. Believe it or not, the initial focus of Android was not on smartphones but on digital cameras instead. The goal of Android was to create an operating system that allowed digital cameras to store videos and photos. This vision didn’t last long before being changed, and in 2004, the focus shifted to include smartphones.
At the time, there were several powerful competitors in the market, with the likes of Palm OS, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Symbian and webOS dominating the market. What set Android apart from these competitors was that Android was planning to provide a free platform that allowed users to sell games, apps and other services. This allowed Android to grow on its own unique path and allowed it to partner with other phone makers.
In 2005, Google saw the potential of Android and bought it for an estimated price of $50 million. In the process, one of the founders, Andy Rubin, was assigned as the senior vice president of everything related to digital and mobile content. Many people have argued that this was one of the best deals that Google ever made, and it’s hard to argue with considering the size of Android today.
It wasn’t until the 5th of November, 2007, that Android would release the first version of their operating system. During this time, the logo for Android that we all know today was also released. Google also showed that they were planning to compete against the other platforms currently used for smartphones by announcing the Open Handset Alliance. This included carriers, phone makers and chip manufacturers.
One year after the release of the first version of the Android operating system, the HTC Dream was released. A couple of days following the release of this phone by T-mobile, the Android Market went live. Nowadays, the Android Market is known as the Google Play Store. Upon its first release, the Android Market contained over 40 applications that users could download and use.
The Rise of Android
Although Android had made good progress after being bought over by Google, it wasn’t until around 2010 that the operating system really started to take off. This was mainly the result of the Nexus devices being released, which drastically increased the popularity of the devices using Android’s operating system and showed people that there was a lot of potential in it.
By 2011, Android had grown significantly, reaching over 250 million total activations. In just one week, around 5.6 million devices had been activated, and it was clear something huge was about to happen. By the end of the year, a mindblowing 10 billion apps had been downloaded from the Android Market. Looking back since its first release, it took just over three years to accomplish this amazing feat.
In the following year, the Android Market became known as the Google Play Store, which offered a wider range of services such as movies, music and even e-books. During this time, there were around 700,000 apps available for download on the Google Play Store. The growth of Android only increased over the years, and now it is one of the most widely used operating systems in the world.
What Does the Future of Android look like?
Google and Android have continued to stick to their plan of offering a free operating system for users while providing updates to keep up with competitors such as Apple. One of the areas where Apple is ahead of Android is security. However, Android has recently allowed users to opt out of data tracking as well as things like targeted advertising.
With the growing popularity of foldable phones, Android was likely trying to become one of the main operating systems used on these new devices. However, there are questions relating to the capabilities of the current operating system for these foldable phones that are more demanding. One thing is for sure, Android isn’t going away any time soon and will continue to be one of the most widely used operating systems globally.