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Android Was Never Made For Smartphones

by hridika ahire
Android Was Never Made For Smartphones

March 14, 2021

Android is one of the most common operating systems being used in smartphones across the world but did you know, it was never meant to be used in phones.

Our phones have taken over our lives and if you deny that, you’re just lying. Phones have replaced clocks, calculators, and cameras. Phones have become so advanced that they are now called mini computers. You can do everything from taking photos to sending work related documents from your phone. When we think of smartphones, we think of either iOS or Android.

Android, which was created in 2003, is the most popular operating system in the world because of its user-friendly characteristics and because it is affordable to all of us. Over 2.5 billion devices are powered by Android. But this world known operating system was not developed for phones.

Android is used in 2.5 billion smartphones
Android is used in 2.5 billion smartphones

Android was Made for Digital Cameras

We are not kidding you. The Android Inc. co-founder, Andy Rubin said so himself. In his speech at the Japan New Economic Summit in Tokyo, in 2013, Rubin said, “The exact same platform, the exact same operating system we built for cameras, that became Android for cell phones.” It is also reported that Rubin even showed the slides to the audience which he had used to pitch to the investors back in 2004.

Andy Rubin said that Android was originally meant to be used for digital cameras. The motive behind using Android for cameras was to enable people to store their images and videos on a cloud, much like the Apple cloud. This would let the people to access their images and videos on any device and not be dependent on the camera’s storage.

Android for cameras was to enable people to store their images and videos on a cloud
Android for cameras was to enable people to store their images and videos on a cloud

Hopping on to the Right Opportunity

The smartphones industry was on a rise more than ever as the world started moving at a faster pace in 2000’s. The fast-paced lifestyle of the people demanded a more convenient way to communicate and do as much as possible on the go. That is why just a few months after the pitch, Rubin and his Android team decided to make a change. They saw that the camera market wasn’t growing as fast as the smartphone market and wasn’t as big as the smartphone market.

The team decided to scrap the idea of using Android in cameras and instead use it in smartphones. The necessary changes were made to the operating system and Android entered the world of smartphones. Andy Rubin said, “We decided digital camera wasn’t actually a big enough market. I was worried about Microsoft and I was worried about Symbian, I wasn’t worried about iPhone yet.”

The founders wanted Android to be free and to be a platform where other services and products can be sold.
The founders wanted Android to be free and to be a platform where other services and products can be sold.

Joining Hands With Google

As a way to get an edge over its rivals in the smartphones industry and also because the team believed that the industry was very sensitive about the pricing, they didn’t want to charge for their software. They wanted Android to be free and to be a platform where other services and products can be sold.

After making all the necessary changes to the operating system, they had to look for partners who had deep pockets. That is why Android approached Google and a new partnership was formed. Google bought Android in 2005 for $50 million and even appointed Andy Rubin as the senior Vice President of mobile and digital content at Google.

The First-Ever Android Smartphone came into existence

Since Android became associated with Google, even though people had no knowledge about Android, they trusted Google. So, Google entered the smartphones business, not as a hardware manufacturer but as a vendor. Google marketed the hell out of Android and caught the eye of HTC and the first ever Android smartphone, HTC Dream, came out in 2008.

Android 1.0 nailed the dealing with notifications and it included the pull-down notification window which was missing in the other smartphones. Even the Market or the Google Play Store, as we call it now, was introduced in this version along with the home screen widgets and Gmail. In its next update Android 1.5 Cupcake (2009) started Google’s dessert-themed scheme and on-screen keyboard was introduced for the very first time.

scool buzz After Google's entry, smartphone sales rose from 122 million in 2007 to 1.5 billion in 2019
After Google's entry, smartphone sales rose from 122 million in 2007 to 1.5 billion in 2019.

The Steep Growth

Android and Google anticipated a 9% market share in North America and Europe but were surprised because by the end of 2010, Android held around 24% market in North America and it was uphill for Android ever since. More than 80% of all smartphones in use are powered by Android. This shows that the decision to make the shift from cameras to smartphones by the Android team was a fruitful one. According to Statista, smartphone sales rose from 122 million in 2007 to 1.5 billion in 2019. One decision in a matter of few months changed the whole dynamic in the world of operating systems.

Can you imagine not having an Android on your phones now? All the free apps and games that Android provides, would never have been a part of our life had Andy Rubin decided to continue his plan of using Android in cameras. Maybe Nokia would still be the king of smartphones

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