Android Turns 10, Powers 77% of the Smartphones Today


Rewind to 2008. Less than a year ago, Steve Jobs showed off the original iPhone. RIM’s Blackberry still dominated the smartphone market, Nokia was still a big force. At this time, Google decided to show off a brand new phone running on their new Android mobile operating system. It changed the world forever. It all started with humble HTC Dream or T-Mobile G1 Android phone back on September 23, 2008.

Sergei Brin and Larry Page – Google’s co-founders, unveiled the first-ever Android smartphone. The phone in question was G1, a collaborative effort of Google, HTC and T-Mobile. Priced at $399, it was supposed to be the first real competitor of the iPhone. According to an August 2018 report, Android occupies a lion’s share of the mobile OS market at 77%, more than three times than that of iOS at 21%.

Google claimed there were 2.3 billion active Android phone users in the world – contrast it with Apple who confirmed that it crossed the 1 billion iPhone mark in January 2017. There’s no doubt that Google’s Android operating system is a major force in the world of technology, enabling how most people connect online. It has survived a lot in the past 10 years and has evolved from being a rough-edged, sometimes eccentric and geeky alternative to the iPhone, into something that is the most popular (read, most used) smartphone operating system in the world.

The world’s first Android phone which ran on Android 1.5 Cupcake, and upgraded to Android 1.6 Donut – didn’t have touchscreen support, nor a 3.5mm headphones jack. There was no Google Play Store at the time either. The phone came preloaded with Google search, Gmail and Google Maps app. The HTC Dream’s 3.2-inch TFT screen had a resolution of 320×480 pixels only. It had 192 MB RAM and 256 MB storage space, and an optional microSD slot expanded the storage by up to 8 GB.

While you may laugh at the humble beginnings of Android over a decade ago, you have to wonder at how quickly the Android ecosystem has grown from strength to strength. Where Apple had a closed iOS platform only available on the iPhone, iPod and iPad, Google democratized Android by encouraging device makers into tweaking Android according to their product needs.

At a time when massive innovations in smartphones aren’t happening anymore, the focus has instead shifted towards making the experience better. Android is now in smart watches, smart speakers, gaming consoles, streaming devices and even smart TVs. Android, as it turns out, is no longer reliant on just smartphones anymore.