The 2000s was a magical time of new technologies finally seeing public light. Two major innovations during the 90s (and late 80s), finally saw their debut among the masses at the dawn of the millennium. The first, was the rise of the internet. The world became connected like it never had before. With network speeds rising from under 1 megabyte to over 1GB in ten years, society saw a surge of people glued to their LED screens to check out the latest and greatest from popular websites. The second innovation was smartphones.
When I was 5 years old, in 2000, my father bought a brand new flip phone. It could send text, store contact numbers (although he still preferred the good old address book) and call anyone from anywhere. I remember its bulky shape, its poor battery life and the funny antenna that one had to extend before making a call. Cell phones have come a long way since their flip phone ancestors. With the advent of Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy Series, smartphones stormed onto the masses; boasting sleek interfaces, a slew of features, improved reception and the power of a small computer in your hand.
Although early phones had poor battery life, smartphones have improved in just about every way since the reveal of Apple’s 1st generation iPhone. However, Apple’s main competition, the Samsung Galaxy has been at the front of smartphone innovation in the past few years. One upping Apple with the sheer power of their hardware and the versatility of their Android operating system as well as the phone’s hardware. Android has been a critical part of Galaxy phones and is the reason why it has held so much of the smartphone market. Ten years ago, in 2005, Google bought Android; since then, the seemingly quaint product, with its green droid mascot and quirky named releases, has become a giant in the smartphone market.
Android was born in 2003. It was created by Andy Rubin, Rich Miner and Nick Shears as Android Inc. Their mission was to develop smarter mobile devices. The Android operating system is based in Linux and is equipped to be developer friendly as well as user friendly. Two years later, Google bought the small startup as it wanted to join the mobile market. They bought Android for 50 million dollars, but was quiet about the acquisition.
Even today, Google’s official timeline doesn’t mention Android until 2007. In 2008 HTC released the Dream or the T-Mobile G1. It featured a design similar to T-Mobile’s Sidekick with a moveable screen that revealed a keyboard underneath. It boasted a touch screen, 5 navigation buttons (“Call”, “Home”, “Menu”, “Back” and “End Call”), as well as a maximum of 16 GB of storage space. It featured a similar interface to the current version of Android, with Google supported Apps such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Contacts and Google Calendar. It also included third party apps such as an Amazon MP3 app. Speaking of Apps, Google offered 10 million dollars to anyone that could make the best Android Apps from the Android SDK. This was to show how versatile the system truly was. Although the HTC was an important step in Android’s development, it wouldn’t truly see the limelight until the Samsung Galaxy.
Samsung hit the ground running with the Galaxy i7500 in 2009. It had a largest screen and was in the familiar shape of a smartphone we know today. A home button was featured in the center with end and cell buttons to either side as well as a back and enter buttons. The internal storage maxed out at 8GB. Ram peaked at 128 MB with CPU speeds topping out at 528MHz. Despite its 1500mAh battery, the i7500 has poor life. It needed to be charged at least once a day and only lasted a few hours after heavy use. Samsung didn’t make waves until the S2 release in 2011. Obviously, Samsung had learned a bit since their initial debut in the smartphone market.
The S2 used Android’s Gingerbread OS (version 2.3 – 3.0). Everything was bigger and better on the S2. It boasted a 4.3 AMOLED screen, a larger 1650mAh batter, a CPU that topped at 1.2GHz and Ram that peaked at 1GB. Its internal storage maxed out at 32GB and it came with even more features such as a better camera, a better screen and faster processor power. After the debut of the S2, Samsung cemented their place among the smartphone market.
Currently, Android dominates the smartphone market with a 78.0% share. Part of the reason Android dominates the market is its attractiveness to both consumers and developers. Android phones can be tinkered with and their software can be played with. If one bought an Android phone with poor battery life, they could upgrade the battery. If they wanted to switch the SIMS card, they can. If, on their phone, they want to organize documents, view hardware stats and customize the phone from a lower level with native apps. In addition, Android Apps can be created using either Linux based or Windows operating systems. So whether you’re working with a Mac or a Windows computer, you can create apps for Android. Whereas, there still isn’t a standard way to create iOS apps without a Mac OS.
The Android team joined Google 10 years ago today.— Ficus Kirkpatrick (@ficus) July 11, 2015
The official anniversary of Google’s acquisition was July 11th. Ficus Kirkpatrick left a simple sentimental tweet stating, “The Android team joined Google 10 years ago today.” Whether this counts as a birthday or an anniversary, I think a cheers is appropriate for the mass success of the partnership.