The Android operating system has been dominating our phones and markets since 2008 and even more so as phones get smarter and more powerful. And for good reason – the interface is easy to navigate, vastly customizable, and there are a plethora of apps for all sorts of uses ranging from secure banking apps to fun games. The Android OS is here to stay for sure! For many, Android maybe just an operating system, but there are plenty of interesting facts about Android that you may not be aware of.
For instance, did you know that the little green alien in the logo is unofficially known as “Bugdroid” by Google? Delve deeper into the world of Android with us and dive into these interesting facts about Android that you might not have been aware of:
#1. What’s in the name?
This fact is a little language bonus: the word ‘Android’ refers to a robot that has an appearance similar to a human. It comes from the Greek root andr, which means “man”.
#2. Wait – Android Wasn’t for Phones at First?
According to Andy Rubin, one of the original Android Inc. co-founders, the operating system began as software for digital cameras.
#3. Android was not Google’s company originally!!
Android was initially developed by the company Android Inc., which was founded in 2003 by Andy Rubin, Chris White, Nick Sears, and Rich Miner. Interestingly, at that time it was not known what they were working on since the company functioned under a “cloak of secrecy”.
#4. Android OS is Open-Source
One of the coolest facts about Android OS is that unlike Windows or Apple, the OS is open-source. Open source refers to the fact that the source code is available publically for individuals, who are provided the right to alter and distribute the source code. Many developers use the source code to add various features or customize the software in other ways.
#5. Google Bought Android Inc.
In July 2005, Google purchased Android Inc. for a sum of $50 million and under the new management, the founding members continued to develop the OS.
#6. The First Android Device
The first-ever real “Android device” made was the Google Sooner or the HTC EXCA 300, which never saw the official release and served as a reference.
#7. The HTC Dream Device
HTC Dream, also known as the T-Mobile G1 was the first commercially available smartphone ever to feature the Android OS on it. Officially introduced in the United States in 2008, the device came out in the United Kingdom too.
It ran the Android 1.6 (Donut) version, and had a TFT capacitive touchscreen, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a 3.15 MP camera, a dedicated MicroSD slot, and a whopping 192MB of RAM – compare that to today’s feature-filled phones!
#8. Current Android OS Developers
Currently, Google, as well as the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), continually develop Android.
#9. Android in Space
Who isn’t fascinated by space? NASA has used the Android OS for its robots for the International Space Station (ISS). More specifically, the Human Exploration and Telerobotics Project (HET) prepared a trio of robots, each with a Nexus S Android device installed with Gingerbread. These are called “Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites” or SPHERES.
#10. Formats and Files
You might have installed several apps using their APKs instead of from the Play Store. APK is the format for file packaging used by the Android OS for installing mobile apps and games. It stands for –wait for it– Android Package.
#11. Building Android OS With Linux
Android OS is built upon the Linux operating system, which is popular with power users.
#12. Desserts or Devices?
All past Android versions –except for the very early Android 1.0 and 1.1– followed the convention of naming as desserts and sweets. A phone running on Jelly Beans or having an Ice Cream Sandwich sounds delicious!
#13. What’s in a (trademarked) Name?
Android 4.4 is the first release of the OS that uses a formerly trademarked name. Planned as “Key Lime Pie”, John Langerling, who directed the global partnerships for Android, decided to go with something more familiar. Nestle allowed the use of the brand. Android 8.0 followed with the use of the trademarked name Oreo.
#14. Going Sugar-Free
For the current Android versions, Google stated that the use of dessert names and letters would be dropped, and the officially released version would be simply named according to their number publicly. Android 10 would have received the name “Queen Cake”, while the follow-up ended up as Android 11.
#15. Androids and Alphabetical Order
Android releases in the past followed the alphabetical order. Astro, Bender, Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop, Marshmallow, Nougat, Oreo, and finally Pie, which the last version on the name of a dessert.
#16. Paper-like UI for Lollipop
Android 5.0, or Lollipop, stands out as the first of the OS to utilize Google’s freshly-developed Material Design language. This made substantial use of shadow and lighting effects as well as other features to mimic the look of paper for the user interface.
This is one of the weirder facts about Android. Irina Blok created the iconic green Bugdroid logo in 2007, with her inspiration coming from the “for men” image on toilet doors. Nevertheless, the logo has become symbolic of the Android OS and has popped up all over the world in the form of plushies, stickers, keychains, and other artworks.
#18. Android Logo is also Open-Source for all to Use
The Android logo itself is also an open-source design. Google allows the use and modification of the logo under the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License, and so we see how the little robot in various forms everywhere.
#19. Skipping the Honeycomb
Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) rolled out for release in 2011 only for use on tablets and other devices with larger screens than the smartphones of that time. Ultimately, Honeycomb did not face public release, since Google integrated much of its code in its upcoming Android 4.0, or the Ice Cream Sandwich version.
#20. Sweet (tapping) Secrets
This is one of the more adventurous facts about Android! Every version of Android comes bundled with a secret activity. Navigate to Settings > About Phone > Device Information, and tap repeatedly on the “Android version” option. Depending on the version, you will see a logo, and tapping again on the logo takes you to a game.
Android 10 might have ditched the sweet name, but it still offers this Easter egg in the form of a nonogram game, where you fill numbers in a grid.
Found these facts interesting? Even if you are partial to Apple, no one can deny that Android devices have a charm of their own. Stay tuned for more!
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