From a Bathroom Symbol
November 5, 2007: Android is Introduced
On this day in 2007 Google introduces the Android platform, its mobile operating system for cell phones based on a modified version of the Linux operating system. The first Android-based phone would ship in September of 2008.
Android is the world’s most widely used smartphone platform. Despite being primarily designed for phones and tablets, it has been also used in televisions, games consoles, digital cameras and other electronics. On September 3, 2013 Google announced that 1 billion activated devices now use the Android OS worldwide.
Android, Inc. was founded in Palo Alto, California in October 2003 by Andy Rubin (co-founder of Danger), Rich Miner (co-founder of Wildfire Communications, Inc.), Nick Sears
(once VP at T-Mobile), and Chris White (headed design and interface development at WebTV) to develop, in Rubin’s words, “smarter mobile devices that are more aware of its owner’s location and preferences”.
The early intentions of the company were to develop an advanced operating system for digital cameras. When it was realized that the market for the devices was not large enough, they diverted their efforts to producing a smartphone operating system to rival those of Symbian and Windows Mobile (Apple’s iPhone had not been released at the time).
Google acquired Android Inc. on August 17, 2005, making it a wholly owned subsidiary of Google.
Since 2008, Android has seen numerous updates which have incrementally improved the operating system. Each major release is named in alphabetical order after a dessert or sugary treat. Since April 2009, Android versions according to alphabetical order:
Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, and KitKat.
The green Android logo was designed for Google in 2007 by graphic designer Irina Blok. After numerous design developments based on science-fiction and space movies, the team eventually sought inspiration from the human symbol on restroom doors and modified the figure into a robot shape.