As part of its plan to enter the smartphone market, Google acquired a relatively small company named Android Inc. during the summer of 2005. About three years later, the first commercially available Android-powered smartphone went on sale. A bona fide hit, the HTC Dream was an important piece to a massive puzzle that would have a major impact on the software industry as a whole.
Although it’s widely recognized as a mobile operating system, Android is used across a variety of different hardware platforms, including smartwatches, desktops, notebooks, smart TVs and game consoles. With such a robust wheelhouse, Google’s thriving OS has racked up a lot of accomplishments in a very short time. Google recently announced that Android 6.0 will officially be named Marshmallow and as a bit of a high-five to the search giant and its newly flavored operating system, we’ve compiled a list of Android factoids and milestones that you may not know about.
Android hasn’t always been named after sweets
The very first public release of Android was version 1.5 Cupcake. After its success, Google went on to continue naming its mobile operating system after dessert treats. However, during the platform’s early development days, pre-commercial software versions carried internal robot-themed codenames like “Astro Boy,” “Bender,” and even “R2-D2.” After Android’s first public release in 2008, Google decided to retain its dessert-themed branding scheme, and has since named its software sweet foods in alphabetical order. In addition to commercial releases, an early software update for Android carried a snack inspired moniker. Initially released as software update for the HTC Dream, a patch internally referred to as “Petit Four” was named after a small French dessert.
Honeycomb is the only Android version never officially released for smartphones
In early 2011, Google launched Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Designed specifically for tablets, this large screen-focused operating system’s inaugural device was the Motorola Xoom. Unfortunately, Honeycomb received mostly negative reviews from critics and users. Google quickly replaced its ill-received software with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Instead of working on another tablet-centric operating system, the company elected to add large display support to all Android releases going forward.
Over one billion devices activated
Ever gone for a night out on the town and notice that a lot of people are using Android devices? Don’t worry, it’s not just your favorite pub or eatery being flooded by smartphones and tablets running Mountain View’s flexible software. Just shy of two years ago, newly crowned Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that there have been over 1 billion Android activations. To help put this figure in perspective, it’s estimated that the world’s current population is around 7.3 billion people.
Android has more apps than its competitors
Google’s Android Market went live back in 2008, just a few months after Apple’s App Store. But despite launching in such close proximity, the search company’s digital storefront just recently overtook its main competitor. Rebranded in 2012 as Google Play, Android’s software depot now offers around 1.5 million applications. If you’re looking to add some new icons to your device’s homescreen, here are a few of our favorites.
Early Android smartphone designs looked very different
The HTC Dream is known for its sliding AZERTY keyboard and 3.2-inch touchscreen, but the device’s ancestors offered something very different. Pictured above is a shot of the HTC EXCA 300 aka the “Sooner.” This “Android reference device” appeared to draw inspiration from earlier BlackBerry and Palm OS handsets. Equipped with an OMAP 850 processor and a whopping 64MB of RAM, this unreleased gadget helped pave the way for some of the Android smartphones that people enjoy today.
Who designed the Android logo and what is its name?
Just like its software, the Android platform’s mascot is also open source. This is why we’ve seen it dressed up and restyled so many times over without any type of real backlash from Google. The company’s little green robot was designed with a unisex-like tin can shaped body that takes cues from the male and female icons found hanging outside of restroom doors. It was created to be simple and easily recognized. But who designed it?
A graphic designer by the name of Irina Blok is responsible for the Android logo’s likeness. When developing the popular pictogram she and her design team studied sci-fi toys and movies about space for inspiration. As for the robot’s name, it actually doesn’t have one. Although it’s often referred to as “Andy the Android,” the Android brand’s mascot doesn’t have an official name. However, Google internally refers to its green machine as “Bugdroid.”
Android’s arrival resulted in Eric Schmidt’s departure from Apple’s board of directors
Google and Apple haven’t always been locked a nasty blood feud. In fact, prior to the release of Android, the search giant’s former CEO, Eric Schmidt was a member of Apple’s board of directors. However, less than a year after Android’s launch, the Google executive and the Cupertino firm mutually agreed to part ways. Here’s a statement from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs discussing the matter:
Eric has been an excellent Board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion and wisdom to help make Apple successful. Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple’s core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest. Therefore, we have mutually decided that now is the right time for Eric to resign his position on Apple’s Board.
Android has been available to consumers for almost seven years and boy has it accomplished a lot in such a short period. The platform currently has the largest number of global smartphone shipments and it’s making tech affordable in emerging markets. What started out as an operating system for smartphones has stretched to multiple platforms and doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
Did this selection of statistics test your Android IQ or do you have a few tidbits that you’d like to share? Be sure to share your favorite Android factoids in the comments below.
You might not be happy that Google isn’t fixing a web security flaw in your older Android phone, but the search giant now says that it has some good reasons for holding off. As the company’s Adrian Ludwig explains, it’s no longer viable to “safely” patch vulnerable, pre-Android 4.4 versions of WebView (a framework that lets apps show websites without a separate browser) to prevent remote attacks. The sheer amount of necessary code changes would create legions of problems, he claims, especially since developers are introducing “thousands” of tweaks to the open source software every month.
Ludwig suggests a few things you can do to avoid or mitigate problems, though. For a start, he recommends surfing with browsers that don’t use WebView but still get updates, like Chrome (which works on devices using Android 4.0) and Firefox (which runs on ancient Android 2.3 hardware). Hackers can’t abuse the vulnerable software if you’re not using it, after all. The Googler also tells app creators to either use their own web rendering tech or limit WebView to pages they can trust, like encrypted sites.
The advice should help if you’re either a tech-savvy user or write apps. However, it still hints that quite a few people will remain at risk until those older releases of Android ride into the sunset. Many Android device owners aren’t aware of alternatives to the stock Android browser, or can’t easily get them (you have to jump through hoops to install Chrome if you can’t use the Google Play Store, for instance). Also, there’s no simple way to tell whether or not an app is using WebView. The chances of an attack are low if you’re careful, but it could take a long, long while before the majority of Android gadgets are truly safe from WebView-related web exploits.
Source: Adrian Ludwig (Google+)
After months of treading water, Android 4.4 KitKat is finally taking off. Google reports that 5.3 percent of Android users are running the newer OS version as of early April; that’s more than twice the 2.5 percent that it claimed one month earlier. There’s no official explanation for the jump, but it’s most likely thanks to a wave of KitKat upgrades from HTC, LG and Samsung. Most older versions lost share as a result. It could be a long, long time before KitKat overtakes Jelly Bean (which dipped to 61.4 percent), but the transition is under way — and it’s only likely to accelerate now that flagships like the Galaxy S5 and new One are reaching store shelves.
Source: Android Developers
Google has released its first Android device share data for 2014, and it’s now clear that many users are flocking to a newer OS version… just not the latest version. While the shiny new KitKat release did climb to 1.4 percent of active devices in January, Jelly Bean was the real winner — the older software jumped from 54.5 percent in December to 59.1 percent this month. There’s no real mystery as to what happened, though. KitKat remains limited to mostly Google hardware, whether it’s the Nexus line or Motorola phones; we haven’t quite reached that point where large numbers of third-party devices either get KitKat upgrades or ship with the revision pre-installed. That surge may come soon, however, and the team in Mountain View can at least take comfort in knowing that over 60 percent of Android’s active customer base is reasonably up to speed.
Via: Android Central
Source: Android Developers
KitKat may be the new kid on the Android block, but it’s already faring quite well. Google’s latest OS dashboard reveals that 1.1 percent of active Android devices are running the new platform roughly a month after it became available. Not that it…
Back at MWC, HTC officially announced the HTC Flyer, their first Android tablet. The Flyer launched with Gingerbread, despite the fact that most people were expecting Honeycomb. It’s still running on Gingerbread as of right now, but HTC made an announcement a few months ago that the Flyer will be getting a Honeycomb update, with Sense UI incorporated. Now the developer test version of the update is out, and as you can see from the screenshot, Honeycomb looks quite nice on the Flyer. It’s Android 3.2 with HTC Sense UX on top, just like its elder brother, the JetStream, which was launched by HTC and AT&T few days ago. XDA forum member globatron successfully ported the ROM to his HTC Flyer and posted the screenshots. The Sense UX version number is also 1.1, just like the JetStream.
No word on when HTC will officially launch the update, but you can port it to your Flyer if you’re feeling adventurous. It does take some skill, and it’s definitelly not for the faint of heart. After looking at the instructions, all I can say is “mod at your own risk.”
The Galapagos A01SH 7-inch tablet has a slim LCD screen that measures 7-inches and has a resolution of 1024 x 600. The rear camera on the tablet is a 5MP unit and it has a 2MP front camera for video calling. It also has an internal modem supporting downloads at up to 42Mbps. The operating system for the tablet is Android 3.2 Honeycomb.
The little Android tablet has a very attractive design and looks really cool. The processor is a Tegra 2 dual-core from NVIDIA running at 1.2GHz. It also has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. Sharp claims the battery inside the tablet is good for about 7.5 hours of use. Pricing is unknown but with a launch only weeks away that price should get official soon.
I’ve been on a bit of a tablet kick lately, so even if you have dinner with me—tablets are bound to come up (I only break out the SSD conversation for the truly patient). Last week I had the pleasure of having dinner with Tony Tamasi and Jim Black of NVIDIA, and of course—tablets came up.
I’ve been thinking about device synergy, something I brought up in our PlayBook review. The problem is as follows: if I’m on my desktop with half a dozen tabs open and perhaps a PDF as well, but I decide to switch over to a tablet—there’s no quick way that I can transition my reading environment between the devices. What I have to do is sit down on the couch, whip out my tablet, and manually navigate to each website and redownload/open the PDF. What I’d like to do is something along the lines of HP’s Touch to Share, but just on a larger scale.
With the Motorola Xoom being the first tablet to get Honeycomb 3.1, where does this leave other tablets? We know the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will ship with it pre-installed. ASUS and Acer have announced that they will be updating the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Acer Iconia Tab A500 to Honeycomb 3.1 in June.
You can expect the update to be over-the-air and it will bring performance improvements, UI enhancements like stretchable widgets, a new task switcher, and support for USB peripherals.
LG said they will be updating as well, but would not commit to a date.
With the competition heating up in the tablet war, lets hope all the manufacturers recognize that they need to get these updates quicker rather than later.