Everything you wanted to know about the history of Android

Everything you wanted to know about the history of Android

Summary: Chris Zeigler posted an amazing history of the Android operating system and I am sure mobile enthusiasts will enjoy this walk down memory lane.


It seems like only yesterday I wrote my exhaustive T-Mobile G1 review (over 260 images) and now here we are three years later and Android is the top dog in the smartphone market. Chris Zeigler wrote an epic article on the history of Android that serves as an amazing resource for anyone interested in the platform's evolution.

Chris covers the features and functions included with each new release, including new services and utilities. You will learn about all of the dessert upgrades from Google with a focus on the Android OS and not on hardware or skinnable UIs. I have owned an Android device running all of these, except for Honeycomb, and can't believe how fast time flies and how far we have come in just three years.

I would love to see a Red Licorice upgrade in the future since that is my all-time favorite treat.

Topics: Hardware, Android, Google, Mobile OS, Mobility, Security, Smartphones

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  • To be correct, that is not 'everything' -- the article starts with 2008, ..

    ... when actual OS started in 2003, bought by Google in 2005, developed copycat of BlackBerry OS user interface, which was thrown away after Apple showed iPhone in 1997. Jobs was really angry since Eric Schmidt sat on Apple's board of directors for years and saw all these demos and technical presentation by Apple staff at the meetings (also Apple gave early access to Google to iPhone APIs and UI guidelines) -- only to steal core finger-based UI principles of iPhone. Basically, Google pulled Microsoft trick on Apple and thus became "Do Evil" company from about that time.<br><br>Google even lobbed for this fake "net neutrality" policy which would allow them to pay Verizon for pre-emptive data transfer access to their sites in wireless internet connections. This was the same Schimdt who boldly declared war against paid preferenced data channels in his open letter about this issue only few years before, in 2006.
    • RE: Everything you wanted to know about the history of Android


      Where did you get the "Apple showed iPhone in 1997"? The development of the iPhone began in 2005 and the prototype was displayed by Jobs in January of 2007; it was released to the public in June of 2007.

      And it was NOT bought as a "Blackberry clone" but as a mobile OS. Some aspects were similar to Blackberry, but that is only because the technology of the day was limited. Touchscreens were VERY expensive items unless you include the "touchscreens" that needed a stylus to work - and no one liked having to use a stylus (and likely losing it). That facilitated a need for either a joystick-like button or a jogwheel like Blackberrys had.

      And saying Google had access to iPhone APIs... well so does every developer of iOS apps. All of those 200,000+ apps in the Apple Store wouldn't be possible if Apple didn't release those APIs for their developers to use and Google was one of the developers... or don't you have GMail or Google Maps or any of the other Google apps on your iPhone? If you do, how the heck do you assume they got there?

      I've seen you rant against Google and in favor of Apple whenever there's an Android article published on ZDNet. All of your rants are based on (at best) half-truths and assumptions. Repeating them endlessly (ad nauseum) doesn't make them any more true.

      Oh, and the original founders of Android? They all work for Google still, all in its Android division. So you can't really say that Google stole Android either. They did exactly what Apple has done time and again - they bought the company. Or did you conveniently forget that Apple hired most of the engineers that created the GUI concepts at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center?
      • Of course, I meant 2007, not 1997

        @benched42:<br><br>And mention that Google bought Android OS project is not good or bad thing, it is just part of the history that discussed article missed. Never said that Google stole the OS itself, so there is no need to argue with nonexistent position.<br><br>So where are "assumptions" or "half-truths" in my post?<br><br>Google did stole core UI principles. They suddenly changed their "great" BlackBerry-like UI to finger-based one behind Jobs back, while he gave them early access to UI policy and APIs -- long before any other developers got this.
      • RE: Everything you wanted to know about the history of Android

        Agh, all you people who post with authority from a position of all but complete ignorance are getting quite annoying. Perhaps if you bothered to check what you write before you write it, you'd be less likely to look foolish in retrospect. Quite simply, you don't know what you are talking about.
        First, iPhone development did not begin in 2005, iPad development did. The iPhone project was an offshoot of the iPad, a year later. Second, Android most certainly WAS a Blackberry clone. If you look at the literature being shown to potential investors at the time, Android Inc. was quite clear in their intentions, to make an OS equivalent of the Blackberry OS. The UI, and requisite hardware (trackballs and jogwheels) were all but identical. This was Google's direction, as well.
        As for the APIs, Google had access to them a YEAR before anyone else, and inside knowledge of the interface. That is what allowed them to so slavishly copy it in Android, and get it to market so soon after the iPhone's release. Please name ONE single developer that had access to the APIs during this time. You can't because there weren't any.
        The only rants based on half truths (and to be honest, not even that much) are yours.
        As for your ill-informed rant about P.A.R.C., first, Apple PAID XEROX 150 million just to see the work, and they NEVER saw the OS. What Jobs saw was the SmallTalk programming environment. A HUGE portion of the original MacOS work was done entirely in house. I know this almost first hand, as I am one of the original users of the XEROX system in question, the Alto. If you claim that Apple stole the OS and the concepts therein, please delineate for me how, exactly, one entered in commands to the OS on the Alto. (Hint: Google Alto executive.)
      • RE: Everything you wanted to know about the history of Android

  • RE: Everything you wanted to know about the history of Android

    His article is incomplete if he is referring to Android from it's inception as a Blackberry clone OS that was intended to be installed on older WM devices such as my old PPC-6700.
  • RE: Everything you wanted to know about the history of Android

    Keep in mind that apple did not create the concept of a touchscreen UI interfaces for portable devices!

    So there was nothing stolen from apple here. "Mimicked," (from an icons and tap to initiate, all in a candy bar form factor, perspective) maybe, but definitely not stolen.

    The Android UI "Borrows" more from Desktop UIs, (MS Windows,X-Windows,GDE,Gnome,etc) than it ever did from something as simple as the iOS app launcher interface.

    The inclusion of Folders was a pretty original mobile phone OS concept on Android, can't say that for iOS, as was the pull down notification bar and multi-tasking. All of which came much later on in iOS!

    iOS allows for little user customization while this was an Android UI design principle from the early iterations of the UI development.
    • RE: Everything you wanted to know about the history of Android

      @The_Omega_Man<br><br>Keep in mind that Apple never claimed to have invented touch screen UIs. They did, however, develop a number of the key heuristics that make the iPhone UI work much better than those around prior (such as the Verizon Voyager.)<br>But again, the history of Android development makes it QUITE clear that "stolen" is the correct word here. The idea that Android is closer to a desktop metaphor than iOS is jast laughable. Folders are an obvious extension, and were already implemented in iOS versions shown to Schmidt, back when it was still primarily a tablet OS. Pull-down notifications may be an arguable point, but they also fall into the "obvious" category, and existed in the APIs prior to Google's use of them for notifications.<br>On multitasking, you are just flat out wrong. iOS multitasked from DAY ONE. It was just not available to third party apps, because battery technology was not capable of supporting the extra battery drain.<br><br>As for user customization, um, so what?