Android, A Brief History – Who Owns Android, Market Share, and More

Your frequently asked Android questions answered

history of android

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Android is a household name these days, with smartphones being in the hands of everyone, from kids to seniors. We depend on our handsets, tablets, and smart TVs more than we realize. From using satellite navigation with Google Maps to downloading apps for, quite possibly, every reason under the sun, Android has proved its worth as a flexible operating system with something for everyone. 

Based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and dashes of other open-source software, it was developed as an answer to the convoluted operating systems pushed on consumers by various handset manufacturers. The Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of developers looking to standardize the mobile operating system market, unveiled Android in November 2007. The first device to feature Android OS was the HTC Dream, which launched in September 2008.

Who Owns Android?

Google has always had a part to play in the creation of the Android platform. From officially supporting and leading The Open Handset Alliance to now owning the platform, Google is edging to emulate Apple’s iPhone success by offering the best build on Android 12 in their upcoming Pixel 6/Pixel 6 Pro. Android, the company, was founded by Andy Rubin (Danger Inc. founder and Sidekick phone creator) in 2003. Aiming to revolutionize the handset market with the idea of a universal mobile platform, it was the foundation for an open-source and OEM-friendly operating system. That was until the iPhone was announced back in January 2007, delaying an official Android release until September 2008.

When Did Google Buy Android?

Google made the move to acquire Android Inc. in 2005, which helped their own development of a mobile operating system at the time. Alongside the OHA, Google set out to change the narrative in the handset market. At the time, carriers/handset manufacturers had the final say on mobile phone operating systems. The thing is, every manufacturer wanted their OS to be the best, leading to an over-saturated market that wasn’t user-friendly. It’s thought that the Open Handset Alliance was nothing more than a simple marketing stunt to push Android and micro USB charging, which worked.

What Android Version Do I Have?

The latest version of Android is version 11, with betas of Android 12 available for Google Pixel devices and selected OEM handsets. Up until Android 10 in 2019, the operating system donned sweet treat nicknames such as KitKat, Lollipop, and Oreo, ending a decade-long tradition. Before over-the-air updates and solid Wi-Fi/3G/4G LTE technology developed in handsets, OEM-created PC software would download and update firmware updates and install via USB.

What is the Android Market like today?

The Android market and choice of devices today are unbelievable when thinking back to 2008 when the first Android handset was released. iPhones were dominating pop culture, but the clumsy design of the HTC Dream had the long game in mind. Granted, the iPhone never really slowed down and is a preferred device for many. But, when it comes to functionality, versatility, and choice, Android has done exactly what it set out to do 13 years ago. It’s also worth noting that the Androids app store launched on release, with Apple’s following just months before Androids debut. Google has worked hard on the Google Play store security and app verification, but it still remains the most developer-friendly platform thanks to its dedication to open-source software.

Encontrar Mi Dispositivo

Spanish for ‘Find my device’, Android fell behind iPhone for this feature to be incorporated into the Android ecosystem. This is one of the few features Android didn’t incorporate first into its open-source operating system. It allows users to trace, locate and wipe Android devices including handsets, tablets, smartwatches, Chromebooks, and Pixel Buds. Rather than delivering features, Android has always focused on user-friendly improvements to its OS, including delivering Copy and Paste, video recording, push notifications, and more several months before the iPhone.