This article will explore the history of Android and why Google acquired the company. It all started back in 2003 when co-founder Andy Rubin started Android Inc. out of Palo Alto, Calif., and the goal of the company was to develop software (OS) for mobile phones. In July 2005, Google decided to buy Android for a reported $50M but this amount has never been confirmed. Key employees, including Rubin, Miner and White, stayed at the company after the acquisition.
The Android OS was built on a Linux kernel and a graphical interface that allowed touch screen, swiping operations and a virtual keyboard for text input. It is clear that Google wanted to expand in the mobile devices industry, to compete against giants like Apple (IPhone). Google unveiled Android in 2007. In 2014, the company revealed that there were over 1 billion Android users monthly.
As of July 2013, the Google Play store has had over one million Android applications (“apps”) published, and over 50 billion applications downloaded. A 2015 survey found that 40% of full-time professional developers see Android as their priority target platform, which is comparable to Apple’s iOS on 37% with both platforms far above others.
Android’s source code is released by Google under open source licenses, although most Android devices ultimately ship with a combination of open source and proprietary software, including proprietary software required for accessing Google services.
The lack of after-sale support from manufacturers and carriers has been widely criticized by consumer groups and the technology media. It will be interesting to see in 2016 a new breed of mobile devices (tablets) running on the Ubuntu operating system. Phones with the Ubuntu interface are already available. I believe that the emergence of Ubuntu on mobile devices will increase security significantly.