The Android platform is a mobile phone operating system originally developed by Android Incorporated. At just under two years old, Android Inc. of Palo Alto, California, had a lot of knowledge about mobile devices. Google, recognizing the potential of the mobile device market, acquired the company in 2005. The operating system is based on a modified version of the open source Linux operating system with applications written in different programming languages, including Java, Python, and Ruby. Android has become one of the most popular mobile phone operating systems along with Blackberry, Apple iPhone, Symbian, Microsoft Pocket PC and now Phone 7.
Google and the Open Handset Alliance further developed the Android operating system. The Open Handset Alliance included companies such as Intel, Motorola, Texas Instruments, Samsung Electronics, Nvidia, LG, Qualcomm, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile. On November 5, 2007, Google and the Open Handset Alliance announced that they were working on a set of open standards for mobile devices and introduced Android. In just over a year, ARM Holdings, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba Corp, Asustek Computer Inc, Garmin Ltd, and Vodafone joined the Open Handset Alliance.
Around August 2008, rumors began to circulate that a new cell phone was about to be released with the Android operating system. In October of the same year, T-Mobile introduced the G1 smartphone running Android 1.0. The new phone was initially priced at $129.99 with a two-year contract. The phone was built by HTC and featured a slide-out keyboard layout. The G1 display was a 3.2-inch diagonal display with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. The G1 had access to Google’s Android Market, where customers could install third-party apps. The market featured only thirty to forty apps at the time.
The Android operating system continued its development, and subsequent releases were called deserts. The following list shows the platform designations 1.0, 1.1, 1.5 (Cupcake), 1.6 (Donut), 2.0/2.1 (Éclair), 2.2 (Froyo), 2.3 (Gingerbread), and 3.0 (Honeycomb). Version 3.0 Honeycomb was designed for tablets taking advantage of the larger screen size and hardware capabilities.
Since the release of the original T-Mobile G1, numerous Android cell phones have been released. All major US carriers now offer Android cell phones. Just as the number of devices has grown, so has the number of Android apps. At the time of writing this article, Android Market offers more than 200,000 applications. One can only wonder what future mobile devices will bring.