Google purchased the initial developer of the software, Android Inc., on August 17, 2005. The unveiling of Android on November 5, 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 84 hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. Google released most of the Android code under the Apache License, a free software license. The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is tasked with the maintenance and further development of Android.
Android, Inc. was founded in Palo Alto, California, United States in October, 2003 by Andy Rubin (co-founder of Danger), Rich Miner (co-founder of Wildfire Communications, Inc.), Nick Sears (once VP at T-Mobile), and Chris White (headed design and interface development at WebTV) to develop, in Rubin's words "...smarter mobile devices that are more aware of its owner's location and preferences". Despite the obvious past accomplishments of the founders and early employees, Android Inc. operated secretly, revealing only that it was working on software for mobile phones. That same year, Rubin ran out of money. Steve Perlman brought him $10,000 in cash in an envelope and refused a stake in the company.
Acquisition by Google Edit
Google acquired Android Inc. in August 2005, making Android Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of Google Inc. Key employees of Android Inc., including Andy Rubin, Rich Miner and Chris White, stayed at the company after the acquisition. Not much was known about Android Inc. at the time of the acquisition, but many assumed that Google was planning to enter the mobile phone market with this move.
Post-acquisition development Edit
At Google, the team led by Rubin developed a mobile device platform powered by the Linux kernel. Google marketed the platform to handset makers and carriers on the promise of providing a flexible, upgradable system. Google had lined up a series of hardware component and software partners and signaled to carriers that it was open to various degrees of cooperation on their part.
Speculation about Google's intention to enter the mobile communications market continued to build through December 2006. Reports from the BBC and The Wall Street Journal noted that Google wanted its search and applications on mobile phones and it was working hard to deliver that. Print and online media outlets soon reported rumors that Google was developing a Google-branded handset. Some speculated that as Google was defining technical specifications, it was showing prototypes to cell phone manufacturers and network operators. In September 2007, InformationWeek covered an Evalueserve study reporting that Google had filed several patent applications in the area of mobile telephony.
On November 5, 2007, the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of several companies which include Broadcom Corporation, Google, HTC, Intel, LG, Marvell Technology Group, Motorola Mobility, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, Sprint, T-Mobile and Texas Instruments was unveiled. The goal of the Open Handset Alliance is to develop open standards for mobile devices. On the same day, the Open Handset Alliance also unveiled their first product, Android, a mobile device platform built on the Linux kernel version 2.6.
On December 9, 2008, 14 new members joined, including ARM Holdings, Atheros Communications, Asustek Computer Inc, Garmin Ltd, Huawei Technologies, PacketVideo, Softbank, Sony, Toshiba Corp, and Vodafone Group Plc.
- Main article: Android Version History
Android has seen a number of updates since its original release, each fixing bugs and adding new features. Each version is named, in alphabetical order, after a dessert. The most recent version of Android is Android 5.0 Lollipop.
2.3 Gingerbread refined the user interface, improved the soft keyboard and copy/paste features, improved gaming performance, added SIP support (VoIP calls), and added support for Near Field Communication.
3.0 Honeycomb was a tablet-oriented release which supports larger screen devices and introduces many new user interface features, and supports multi-core processors and hardware acceleration for graphics. The first device featuring this version, the Motorola Xoom tablet, went on sale in February 2011. 3.1 Honeycomb, released in May 2011, added support for extra input devices, USB host mode for transferring information directly from cameras and other devices, and the Google Movies and Books apps.
3.2 Honeycomb, released in July 2011, added optimization for a broader range of screen sizes, new "zoom-to-fill" screen compatibility mode, loading media files directly from SD card, and an extended screen support API. Huawei MediaPad is the first 7 inch tablet to use this version.
4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, announced on October 19, 2011, brought Honeycomb features to smartphones and added new features including facial recognition unlock, network data usage monitoring and control, unified social networking contacts, photography enhancements, offline email searching, app folders, and information sharing using NFC. Android 4.01 Ice Cream Sandwich is the latest Android version that is available to phones. The source code of Android 4.01 was released on November 14, 2011.
The Android logo was designed along with the Droid font family made by Ascender Corporation. Droid Green is the color of the Android Robot that represents the Android operating system. The print color is PMS 376C and the RGB color value in hexadecimal is #A4C639, as specified by the Android Brand Guidelines. The custom typeface of Android is called Norad (cf. NORAD). It is only used in the text logo.
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