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the evolution of android

The Evolution of Android and How It Panned Out !

As the new OnePlus 5 was being released with 8 gigs of RAM, only a handful of true and dedicated Android lovers might have wondered and thought about the first-ever donuts they tasted back in 2008. No, not the actual donut, I am talking about Android Donut, the first ever version of Android OS to run on any device.That indeed was the start of a evolution in the smartphone industry. Today, that evolution is a part of a storm! At that point in time, in 2008, Android’s interface was totally different from what it is today. There were less than half the APIs back then. With the dominance of feature phones in the market, HTC Dream with 192 MB of RAM was considered as heavenly. But since it is Google and their excellent team of programmers and developers, today we are being served a nougat along with a minimum of 4 GB of RAM. So, how did Android manage to reach where it is right now? Well, firstly because, Google and the good folks behind the Android development team allowed developers to fully debug, test and modify the beta versions of Android which is worth appreciation. Secondly, unlike Apple, Google did not take hardware into their hands and instead formed the Open Handset Alliance, which is a consortium of 84 smartphone brands coming together to set up global standards upon which Android devices will be built. Although, Google did have its range of the high budget Nexus and now the Pixel series. So, every new version of Android being released, the hardware is automatically taken into consideration.

The naming conventions of the Android releases.

Well, what is the thing we love the most about life? FOOD! Yes. And many of us really love sweets and candies. So, Android likewise named all the Android releases with names of sweets and desserts in an alphabetical order. Started by D(Donut). Then, E(Eclairs), F(Froyo), G(Gingerbread)…. till M(Marshmallow), N(Nougat) and a new Android 8 version on the horizon whose name will start with O. This naming convention looks pretty vivid and a bit hard to remember if you do not follow Android much and are more into iOS.

 

Making Android open source and Android Studio.

The best thing Android did was, made its development absolutely open source. This means, if you are a pro-Android developer and know what are you doing, you can tweak your OS according to your will. This has resulted in Android users being able to customize Android to their fullest. Here, we are talking about custom launchers, changing fonts and installing new themes into the device. Plus, with Android Studio and the entire SDK bundle available to everyone on Android’s developer website, developers can easily build excellent apps for Android and put it on Play Store by creating a paid developer account in the Play Store.

The first ever Android logo.
(Source: Google Images)

 

Andy Rubin (Android co-founder) had this in mind…

Your phone is a tool for communicating. You shouldn’t be communicating with your phone. You should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone.

It is less expensive than iOS!

Cost is one thing we have to take into consideration. Before the onset of Android in the smartphone market, it was either an expensive iPhone or a regular Nokia feature phone. And iPhone would cost a fortune to most people. And the main catch was, iPhones were smart! They were the only smartphones, unchallenged with no opposition. What iPhones could do, no one would think of doing that on a keypad phone(playing Angry Birds for example!). But, cometh the man, cometh the hour. Andy Rubin and team launch Android. An all new operating system by Google! Google! The name people knew only as a search engine and as an email service gatecrashed into the scene with Android! Built absolutely open source, was smart enough, and you could play your favorite Angry Birds without cashing out so much! Well, not that fast as an iPhone, but still, you were getting a smartphone at less than half the cost of iPhone. And with 192 MB of RAM, who knew that 8 years later, phones would be launched with 8 gigabytes of RAM, and an ever improving Android OS. That one day, Android would have an assistant at par with the much famed Siri by Apple was beyond anybody’s dreams. But that has happened and now OnePlus 5 costs less than half of what an iPhone 7 Plus (128 GB) would cost! And yes, Android dominated around 72%  of the global smartphone scene with Apple’s iOS around 20% and Microsoft’s mobile version of Windows being reduced to mere single digits! So, no matter how many times iPhone tops the benchmark tests, people will rather protect their pockets than look for phones which perform at lightning speed.

Web request share by various operating systems.
(Source: Google Images)

Bringing Android to TVs and watches.

After initial success and a good reception for Android smartphones in the market, Google decided to introduce the Android OS to TVs and later watches. As part of the development effort, attendees of the Google I/O conference in 2014 were all given the Android TV Development Kit-1 or ADT-1. Initially, Google partnered with Sony, Sharp, and Phillips to introduce the Android OS to TVs. In CES 2017, Shield Android TV by Nvidia was announced with a Google Assistant update in the future. Using Android TV, users can stream new episodes and movies in their Android TVs using apps like Netflix and Hulu. Android TV has provided Play Store support and through voice commands or otherwise, users can download their favorite apps on the TV. Then in the same year, Google also introduced their OS to watches, naming it Android Wear, partnering up with Motorola, Samsung, HTC, LG and Asus. Any device running Android 4.3 or newer could pair up with an Android smartwatch via Bluetooth through an app. In 2017, Google released Android Wear 2.0 with Android 7.x support. Main features include offline music playing, 2G/HSPA/LTE connectivity and a Google Now experience in your watches. Also, users can download apps on their devices by simply navigating to the Play Store on their watches.

Conclusion..

So, after 8 years of Android becoming a part of our everyday lives, today we cannot imagine the world without a smartphone in our hands. We literally do everything on our smartphones. Smartphones have become an assistant to us in recent times with the onset of Google Assistant in Android 6.x and Android 7.x and Siri, which has been there for a long time now. Today, almost every person has mostly an Android or people with higher afford-abilities have an iPhone. Android has become a part of us. Like, you wanna go to your friend’s place? Vocally tell Google to take you there and Google Maps is there for you. Want some news? Google News and Weather app has got your back along with a plenty of other news apps on Play Store. Want to do some serious gaming, Play Store has got over a million games for you available for free starting from 3 MB games to mega 2 GB games. Want to have a quick coffee and you are new to the place? Ask Google to give you a listing of all coffee shops in your locality within 2 miles. Stuck in traffic and wanna see how your team is performing? Ask Google and you will be updated real-time as the match goes on. You can get so much done through Android. Yes, iPhone was there but how many can afford it? Android has provided similar smart features at a lesser price than iOS. Android is open sourced, so developers can tweak it and develop new things for their Android. Thus, the point is, you cannot live without a smartphone in 2017!

Hitoishi Das




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