Feeds

Google's Android celebrates fourth birthday

Version 1.0 'pushed out' in September 2008

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Android will be four years old on Sunday, September 23.

Google launched the first public version of the mobile OS, in the form of the Android 1.0, on 23 September 2008, though its origins go back years before that.

Google's Android statues

Source: Quinn Dombrowski

The operating system was created by a company called Android, co-founded by Rich Miner, Andy Rubin, Nick Sears and Chris White. Rubian had previously started Danger, the company that created the Java-based Hiptop handset. Sears have been a senior VP at T-Mobile; Miner as senior executive at Orange. Android was founded in October 2003. Google acquired it almost two years later, in August 2005.

It's not clear whether the Linux-based OS eventually released as Android was the same one Rubin and co worked on initially, or whether they simply carried across the functionality they had developed to a new technology foundation.

Either way, it became the basis for the efforts of the Open Handset Alliance, a group of companies keen to create a 'Windows for phones' - a low-cost, nominally open and readily available OS that would allow vendors to differentiate their hardware but still claim application compatibility. The OHA introduced the OS on 5 November 2007, five months after the iPhone's release.

T-Mobile G1

The Android 1.0 GUI on the T-Mobile G1

Less than a year later, on 20 September 2008, Google posted the first code, with the first handset running it - the HTC Dream, aka the T-Mobile G1 - debuting a month later, on 22 October 2008, a day after the Android source code was made available free of charge under an open source licence. Rubin would later say that the 1.0 release was "more like an 0.8" and was "was pushed out for Christmas".

Since then, Android's market share has grown and grown, reaching 68 per cent of the Q2 2012 global smartphone market, according to IDC, a research company.

Google's Android statues

Source: Quinn Dombrowski

Versions 1.5, 1.6 and 2.0 - respectively, Cupcake, Donut and Eclair; Android versions have always been named after confectionary - were released in 2009, with 2.2 and 2.3 - Froyo and Gingerbread - arriving in 2010. The following year saw the release of version 3.0, Honeycomb, the first incarnation of Android designed solely for tablets. The smartphone and slate variants were united with 2011's Ice Cream Sandwich, version 4.0, which is much improved with this year's 4.1 release, Jelly Bean.

ICS and Gingerbread remain the most widely used versions of Android with usage shares of 20.9 per cent and 57.5 per cent, respectively. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
iPAD-FONDLING fanboi sparks SECURITY ALERT at Sydney airport
Breaches screening rules cos Apple SCREEN ROOLZ, ok?
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
The British Museum plonks digital bricks on world of Minecraft
Institution confirms it's cool with joining the blocky universe
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.