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Android was not originally designed for smartphones

Android it is perhaps the most popular operating system in the world and yet not everyone knows its history. Here we will not go to see in detail the steps of its realization but we will see only one point: his birth. Most users will most likely imagine the open source OS to be born for smartphones. But no, nothing more wrong. The original project was another. Let's find out together.

The history of Android in brief: did you know that the operating system of the green robot was not born for smartphones but for cameras?

Android was originally born as operating system for cameras. In 2013, Andy Robin (co-founder of Android) said that the OS, which currently has nearly 3 billion users, was designed as an operating system for digital cameras. But what kind of OS could a camera integrate? Very simple: the plan was to form a platform that included one storage space for photos and videos, all in the cloud. Anticipating online services such as Google Drive and similar, Andy already set out almost 10 years ago to eliminate in a certain sense the built-in memory of cameras.

Andy Robin showed slides of his original presentation to investors in April 2004, including a presentation with a video camera connected to a home computer, which then connected to an Android data center. The whole thing was undoubtedly interesting but investors didn't believe it so much and in fact the project did not take off. But as technology became mainstream, the digital camera market was not that attractive.

How was Android for smartphones born?

After five months, Rubin's company renews its business plan and announces that the project has been changed: now the goal is a "open source portable solution". Android bigwigs didn't want to charge for the service as they felt the industry was still too “fragile”. This is where it is born Android as we know it: a platform where various services such as apps and games can be purchased inside. Basically the software could be sold for free but inside there were the so-called "DLC" or paid downloadable content.

Read also: Is it possible to have two ROMs on an Android smartphone? Apparently yes

But to do all this you needed a lot of money and that's why in 2005 Google buys Android (for only 50 million dollars), hiring Andy Rubin as senior vice president of digital content. The decisions therefore (both to abandon the digital camera sector and to sell to Google) were salvific. We don't know what prospects Android would have had had it been developed for cameras, but it probably wouldn't have been very successful. Whereas currently 80% of smartphones around the world run on this operating system.

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to July 20, 2024 16:55
Last updated on July 20, 2024 16:55
Gianluca Cobucci
Gianluca Cobucci

Passionate about code, languages ​​and languages, man-machine interfaces. All that is technological evolution is of interest to me. I try to divulge my passion with the utmost clarity, relying on reliable sources and not "on the first pass".


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