Google Android turns 13. It’s been a mad rush for the developers.
In November 2007, the Open Handset Alliance, which included Google and various device manufacturers, unveiled a brand new operating system for mobile devices: Android. At the thirteenth anniversary of this event, let’s take a moment to reflect on how this platform has changed the tech industry.
Even before this 2007 unveiling, the existence of Android wasn’t exactly a secret. Android Inc., which was founded in 2003 by Andy Rubin and a handful of developers, was acquired by Google for around $ 50 million in 2005. But the operating system developed in those early years hardly looked like the final version deployed to consumers; for starters, it was designed for a world in which low-power mobile devices relied on a physical QWERTY keyboard.
Apple’s introduction of the iPhone (and iOS, its operating system) in 2007 changed all that. Following Steve Jobs’ historic unveiling, the Android team scrambled to rebuild a mobile phone user experience for touchscreen devices as well as tiny physical keyboards. After a year of hard work, Google rolled out an out-of-the-box version in September 2008.
Google also made some very crucial Android distribution decisions that would impact the tech industry for the next thirteen years (and more). In order to stay competitive with Apple, which would never license iOS to other device manufacturers, Google decided to create its own free and open source operating system. This not only led to an explosion of Android on a bewildering galaxy of devices, but some companies, including Amazon and Samsung, have gone further and heavily modified the platform for their own uses.
This led to the first and arguably the biggest problem facing the growing Android ecosystem: fragmentation. Multiple versions of Android running on all kinds of smartphones, tablets and “phablets” made it difficult to keep the entire ecosystem secure and up-to-date. It would take more than 10 years before Google introduced “Project Treble” which was supposed to defragment the ecosystem by allowing carriers and manufacturers to update phones to the latest version without having to rework their apps or services.
Project Treble worked, albeit slowly (Google also introduced Project Mainline last year, designed to deliver security and compatibility updates to phones through Google Play, the storefront that virtually all mainstream Android devices share) . But the stability within the ecosystem may be largely the result of something else: many of those initial devices failed to catch on, narrowing the list of manufacturers to a handful more and more. smaller.
Today, Google has taken more and more control of its ecosystem, and only a few manufacturers continue to produce devices in large quantities (Samsung in particular). Still, Android remains the most widely used mobile operating system in the world, a position it seems unlikely to abandon anytime soon.
Always a good time to explore Android
Google has always encouraged developers to learn Android (after all, the company derives its share of revenue from apps sold through the Google Play storefront, so the more apps there are, the merrier). Four years ago, she launched the Android Basic Program, who walked students through Android Studio, the basic IDE for building apps, and other tools.
Android Basics also teaches the basics of building user interfaces, working with databases, and fixing basic bugs. As Google has pivoted to adopt Kotlin as a top-notch development language, it has also expanded its program: Android Basics in Kotlin is an important step for anyone learning the operating system and its applications, as well as Kotlin Bootcamp for programmers, Android Kotlin Fundamentals, and, for those with a little more experience, Advanced Android in Kotlin.
Once you’ve mastered your Android app building skills, check out some tips for certifications, Android-related job interviews, and how to build your resume. Thirteen years after its deployment, Android remains in high demand around the world, and that’s good news for mobile app developers and designers around the world.