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The Rise of Android and the Smartphone

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When it comes to smartphones, many consider Apple’s iOS a gem, offering a very polished user experience. However, if not for the Android OS, the smartphone as a concept would have been limited to the affluent.

Android has been the choice of almost every smartphone manufacturer and user and has been powering a wide variety of ultra-premium flagships to the most entry-level devices.

Sometimes it feels like we have been running Google’s Android OS on our mobile devices forever. However, it has been more than a decade since the first official Android phone hit store shelves.

The critical decision in Android history was Google’s decision to make Android an open-source OS. This allowed Android OS to become highly popular among third-party smartphone makers.

Also Read: Android’s Gabeldorsche Bluetooth stack is now being used in Android 13

A few years after the launch of Android 1.0, smartphones powered by the new Android OS were everywhere.

Thirteen years later, we are on Android 12. The Android OS has become the most popular mobile operating system globally. It has defeated its competitors like BlackBerry, Symbian, Palm OS, WebOS, and Windows Phone.

Apple’s iOS is the only platform still a serious competitor to Android. That situation does not look like it will change anytime soon. In this Android review, let’s look at the rise of Android and how it helped power the smartphone revolution.

The Founding of Android

google logo beside building near painted walls at daytime


Photo by Rajeshwar Bachu on Unsplash

Android history began in October 2003. This was well before the term smartphone became common. Also, it was several years before Apple announced the first iOS and iPhone.

Android Inc was founded in Palo Alto, California. Nick Sears, Rich Miner, Andy Rubin and Chris White were its four founders. At the time, Andy Rubin said that Android Inc would develop “smarter mobile devices that are more aware of its owner’s preferences and location.”

In his speech in 2013, Rubin revealed that Android OS was originally created to improve the operating systems of digital cameras.

Even back then, the stand-alone digital cameras’ market was declining. Later, Android Inc shifted towards using the Android OS inside mobile phones.

The next significant chapter in Android history began in 2005 when Google acquired the original company. Andy Rubin and other founding members continued working on the OS under their new owners.

The developing team decided to use Linux as the basis for the Android OS. This decision made it possible for Google to offer the Android OS to third-party mobile manufacturers for free. Google felt the company could profit from providing other services such as ads, apps, etc.

The Early Years of Android

Free Person Holding Turned-on Smartphone Stock Photo

Image: Pexels

The HTC Dream was the first ever Android product by Google. It commercially launched on October 22, 2008. The Google Play Store was first made available to users in October, 2008 with just 50 applications.

Android gained popularity as an operating system for smartphones in the year 2010 with the success of the Nexus series devices. Later, Google launched many new versions of Nexus with the latest Android versions.

In 2011, According to the reports, Android broke the records and reached the yearly activation of 250 million products, defeating iOS, which had 104.7 million activations. Since then, the Google – Apple rivalry has been seen throughout all these years till date.

Android Now

person holding white android smartphone


Photo by Arkan Perdana on Unsplash

Android’s smartphone revolution shows that the mobile OS has come a long way since its inception. It is the leading mobile OS worldwide, garnering about 70% market share.

Google is still furthering the development of Android OS. There are positive signs that its long-term plans could extend further afield.

For the past years, Google has been steadily working on stages of an all-new OS called Fuchsia that may support everything from tablets to smartphones and even notebook and desktop PCs.

Google launched a development board site for Fuchsia in 2019, and in 2021, the company launched a version of Android OS for its first general Google Nest Hub smart display. 

In the meantime, Android is going from strength to strength — though there are lots of challenges on the horizon.

Google’s flag bearer in Android history — the Google Pixel series — continues to divide critics and consumers, but the genuine concern is the increasingly experimental factors from other phone makers —  factors that stretch the current capabilities of Android’s OS.

Foldable phones and dual-screen phones may be a nascent category with luxury price tags and niche appeal, but they have already exposed the weaknesses of Android as an OS for larger screen sizes.

While Google may soon need to adapt to unique designs, it will likely continue to dominate the mobile OS market. The low cost of Android phones is one of the most advantages it has over its competitors. 

One can get an Android phone for less than $100. It is also available in expensive flagship devices over $1,000. That flexibility, combined with regular updates, should ensure Android OS will remain the leader in the mobile OS industry for years to come.

The Future of Android

The Rise of Android and the Smartphone

Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

After the hike in the number of Android users seen each day, the future of Android seems to be bright. There are lots of reasons why Android will stick to the top in the list of smartphone/mobile operating systems.

The best advantage of Android phones, which no other phones have, is widgets. Widgets help you to access essential things in an easier and faster way.

The number of Android users is increasing as it deals with the maximum number of vendors like Samsung, HTC, Lenovo, LG, and Sony. Moreover, the price of Android devices is affordable even to the not-so-high earning people, whereas Apple’s devices cost too high to afford for all.

Conclusion

Android has come a long way from its conception as an advanced operating system for digital cameras to its current position as the leading smartphone operating system. 

There were difficulties at first. Except for iOS, Android has now wiped out all its competitors, including Windows, Blackberry, and Nokia.

Undoubtedly, iOS is here to stay, but Android still has most of the smartphone OS market share. New features are added, and new enhancements are made with the release of each Android OS version. 

Android is fast evolving, and it does not appear that any other operating system will threaten its market dominance in the near future. 

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