The operating system developed by Google is one of the most popular platforms for mobile devices in the world. Thus, the term “Android” is now familiar to hundreds of millions of users. However, this operating system was not created by the “Corporation of Goodness.”
Instead, it is the brainchild of the company Android Inc., founded in California in 2003—five years before the release of the first Android-based smartphone. Its founders were Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears, and Chris White.
Birth of Android: From Camera OS to Mobile Powerhouse
Originally, Android was conceived as an operating system for… digital cameras. Initially, the folks at Android Inc. didn’t consider the idea that these cameras would soon become toys for photo enthusiasts, while the masses would switch to smartphones. However, their plans soon changed.
The company’s founders realized that Android had significant potential to compete with the leading mobile operating systems of that time—Windows Mobile and Symbian. In 2005, Andy Rubin attempted to secure partnerships with Samsung and HTC, but to no avail.
From Acquisition to Revolution: Google’s Role in Shaping Android
Then, in July 2005, a historic deal took place—Google acquired Android Inc. for $50 million. In 2007, Apple released the iPhone, which radically transformed the mobile phone market. In turn, Google created the first Android-based device, the T-Mobile G1, in 2008. It had a physical keyboard and a trackball.
Furthermore, Google began offering the operating system to phone manufacturers and network operators. This made Android popular across various devices, contributing to its widespread use.
The Name’s Origin: A Playful Journey from Prankster to Brand Icon
But why is it called Android? It’s all thanks to its creator, Rubin. The term “Android” existed long before the operating system’s appearance. The word “android” is found in the “Cyclopedia” by Ephraim Chambers from 1728, describing human-like automatons.
Andy Rubin was a passionate robotics enthusiast. At the age of 15, he even hacked and programmed a toy R2-D2 droid to approach his brother and play a prank on him. Before creating Android Inc. and joining Google, Andy worked at Apple from 1989 to 1992. Due to his interest in robotics, he was jokingly referred to as an “android.” Later, when he created Android, he playfully named the system after himself.
Interestingly, the emergence of this brand was indirectly influenced by Apple—more precisely, by its employees with a penchant for giving witty nicknames. Rubin no longer works at either Apple or Google, but the name once given to him in jest became a brand.
By the way, the green robot, the system’s logo, is named Bugdroid. And perhaps, it’s a playful nod to the fact that Android has its fair share of bugs.