Android, not Just Another Operating System

May 11, 2016 | by Humberto Castañeda

In App development, developers, UX

Android is one of the most used operating systems for mobile devices around the world. The constant need to develop apps for Android devices has been growing increasingly over the last few years due to the high demand for its operating system. But, how did all this begin?

A History of How Android Came to Be

The history of this operating system comes from a company called “Android Inc.” Founded by Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Chris White and Nick Sears of Paolo Alto, CA in October 2003, Android Inc. grew quickly.  Initially, the company decided to make an operating system for digital cameras. Later, they found out that the mobile devices market was far larger and growing at an alarming speed.  Android Inc. diverted its efforts towards producing a smartphone operating system that would rival Symbian (Nokia’s OS) and Microsoft Windows Mobile

Google acquired Android on July 2005

In July 2005, Google acquired Android Inc. for $50 million; hiring its key employees. At this time, there was a lot of market speculation about whether or not Google intended to enter the mobile communications market.

Once at Google, the team led by Andy Rubin developed a platform powered by Linux that was flexible and updatable. The first Android phones looked more like a BlackBerry, without a touchscreen and a QWERTY physical keyboard. Later, they decided to redesign the phone in order to support touchscreens.

Android as we know it today was released in October 2008, and the HTC Dream was the first smartphone to use the Android OS.

The first phone with Android system

The development of this operating system created by Google now encompasses technologies far beyond smartphones. Its support has been extended to tablets, televisions (Android TV), cars (Android Auto), wrist watches (Android Wear), notebooks, videogame consoles, digital cameras, as well as many other devices.

Wrist activity trackers and watches also use Android

Android is distinguished for being a technological avant-garde operating system.  Its Open Source philosophy allows developers to have the opportunity and freedom to add new functionalities, fix bugs, change styles, design, and operate system behavior. Throughout the years, these added features and functionalities became part of the supported features and led to different versions of Android:


Apple pie (Alpha): Apple pie was the first android release.

Banana Split (Beta) and Cupcake: There isn't a lot of time between these two releases.  They are not considered to be too important for app development nowadays.

Frozen Yogurt and Gingerbread: These were the first strong Android versions for mobile market.

Honeycomb: Honeycomb was the first Android version to support tablets.

Ice Cream Sandwich: This allowed for theme redesign (Holo) and important changes in functionalities.

Jelly Bean: This was the first operating system for tablets and smartphones.

KitKat: The theme changed (Material Design) and there were performance improvements.

Lollipop: Android wear, Android auto and Android TV were released.

The most recent versions of Android are Marshmallow, and Android N (which has been released for developers).

Android Marshmallow is the newest version

Click here to know about the usage of Android versions according to play store. This is data gathered on April 4, 2016. 

Android is a powerful operating system that has been evolving through time. It has overcome Symbian because it is a easy-to use platform. I wonder… Is there a date in the future when another operating system will overpass it?