Did you know that Android has two birthdays, depending on when you count from? Of course, it was in development for years before the public ever saw it, but it was “born” on either the date of its first commercial release (September 23rd 2008) or the date of its first official introduction by Google on November 5th, 2007. Well, that last date just so happens to line up with today, so happy 13th(ish) birthday, Android.
Andy Rubin was apparently really into robots.
On November 5th, 2007, the “Open Handset Alliance” was revealed after long speculation that Google would enter the smartphone market, following the purchase of a little startup named “Android.” Rumors had swirled surrounding a potential “Gphone,” but Google quashed them as it announced that Android would be an open platform for anyone. Companies including Motorola, Qualcomm, HTC, and T-Mobile were all on board to help deliver the hardware and partnerships the nascent platform would require.
I wish my Pixel 5 turned into underpants.
Google promised that Android would change the status quo, and it definitely delivered, with it now claiming over 72% of the worldwide smartphone market share, according to some recent estimates (if not more). It’s the primary vehicle that has allowed billions of people to get online in emerging markets, and it’s the reason our site even exists.
If you’re feeling festive to the platform, it might be time for a trip down memory lane. We’ve got a visual tour of what Android 1.0 was like, as compared to more recent versions, and I used a T-Mobile G1 running Android 1.6 Donut exclusively as my only phone for a week back in 2018, but that’s not all.
Earlier this year, we got our hands on an Android prototype that pre-dates pretty much everything we’ve come to know about the platform, and I spent the better part of a week (again) using it as my primary device. If you ever wondered what Android might have been like if it debuted during the Blackberry era, this is it.
However you choose to celebrate it: Happy 13th birthday, Android.