Oh, my! Have you checked your calendars yet? Today is November the 5th, and eight years ago on this date the development of the Android platform was publicly announced for the first time! The Open Handset Alliance was created to support this new platform, it was integrated by manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony and Motorola, plus additional companies dedicated to software development, mobile carriers, and chip manufacturers. One week later, the first software development kit was released. Android represented an alternative to other operating systems as it was open-source. Nobody could envision how apps would end up modifying how we interact with our devices, but Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO at the time knew that this platform would change the way we accessed and shared information, additionally, he focused on diversity, because he knew there would be thousands of different phone models.
Android is often criticized for many reasons, Apple fanboys will always mention that the first prototypes of Android included a physical keyboard and lacked touchscreen support, and they will always see a resemblance on the grid of icons on Android’s App Drawer with the one displayed on Apple’s homescreens, as if Apple had invented grids of icons. Another famous word to criticize Android is “fragmentation”, as it leads to problems like updates delivered at different times to some devices and inconsistent looks from the phones of different manufacturers. But that word also means that Android is more flexible, every manufacturer is free to modify its looks and add functions to improve or simplify some processes. Android devices are offered in a variety of shapes, materials and screen sizes, so users have a lot to choose from. If a user doesn’t like the appearance of the software on their device, they can install one of the many launchers to give it a whole new look. For more advanced users, they can install custom ROMs to modify even more aspects. In any scenario, users get to make their devices more personal.
The Android operating system is currently used by over a billion users, which represents around 83% of the market share in smartphones. By now, Android has expanded beyond smartphones and now it is available in a wide variety of devices like tablets, smartwatches, TVs and cars. Android has always been powerful, it has always excelled in the way we read our notifications, but now it’s smoother than ever and the Material Design introduced in Lollipop is still considered a solid guideline to develop software as it is very aesthetically pleasing. Android has always been fun, too, from the tasty names of every new version of the OS to the easter eggs hidden inside it, which have become more interactive. With more than 1.6 million of apps available, it’s a great time to own an Android device and it will be very interesting to see where this platform takes us in the next eight years.