Today, November 5th marks the 7th anniversary of Google's Android mobile operating system. On this occasion, here's a look at some interesting facts and trivia about one of the world's most popular mobile operating systems.
HTC Dream, the first commercially available smartphone was released on October 22, 2008 which ran on Android OS.
Android is not only the most widely used mobile operating system but also the highest selling OS overall.
According to a recent survey, Android devices sell more than Windows, iOS, and Mac OS X devices combined with sales in 2012, 2013 and 2014 close to the installed base of all personal computers.
The Google Play store has had over 1 million Android apps published, and over 50 billion apps downloaded.
71% of mobile developers develop for Android, revealed a developer survey conducted in April–May 2013.
At Google I/O 2014, Google's annual developer-focused conference, the company revealed that there were over 1 billion active monthly Android users, up from 538 million in June 2013.
Android's open nature has encouraged a large community of developers and enthusiasts to use the open-source code as a foundation for community-driven projects, which add new features for advanced users or bring Android to devices which were officially released running other operating systems.
The operating system's success has made it a target for patent litigation as part of the so-called 'smartphone wars' between technology companies.
Going beyond smartphones and tablets
In 2011, Google demonstrated 'Android@Home', a home automation technology which uses Android to control a range of household devices including light switches, power sockets and thermostats. Prototype light bulbs were announced that could be controlled from an Android phone or tablet.
Ouya, a video game console running Android, became one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns, crowdfunding US$8.5m for its development, and was later followed by other Android-based consoles, such as Nvidia's Project Shield — an Android device in a video game controller form factor.
On March 18, 2014, Google announced Android Wear, an Android-based platform specifically intended for smartwatches and other wearable devices; only a developer preview was made publicly available. This was followed by the unveiling of two Android Wear–based devices, the LG G Watch and Moto 360.
On June 25, 2014, at Google I/O, it was announced Android TV, a Smart TV platform, is replacing the previously released Google TV.
On June 26, 2014, Google announced Android Auto for the car.
A few features that make Android a winner
WiFi on the go: Android supports tethering, which allows a phone to be used as a wireless/wired Wi-Fi hotspot. Before Android 2.2 this was supported by third-party applications or manufacturer customizations.
Effecient memory management: When an Android app is no longer in use, the system will automatically suspend it in memory – while the app is still technically "open", suspended apps consume no resources (for example, battery power or processing power) and sit idly in the background until needed again. This has the dual benefit of increasing the general responsiveness of Android devices, since applications do not need to be closed and reopened from scratch each time, and also ensuring that background applications do not consume power needlessly.
Enhanced accessibility: Built in text to speech is provided by Talk back for people with low or no vision. Enhancements for people with hearing difficulties are available as are other aids.
Screen capture made easy: Android supports capturing a screenshot by pressing the power and volume-down buttons at the same time. Prior to Android 4.0, the only methods of capturing a screenshot were through manufacturer and third-party customizations or otherwise by using a PC connection (DDMS developer's tool). These alternative methods are still available with the latest Android.
Amazing voice based features: Google search through voice has been available since initial release. Voice actions for calling, texting, navigation, etc. are supported on Android 2.2 onwards. As of Android 4.1, Google has expanded Vce Actions with ability to talk back and read answers from Google's Knowledge Graph when queried with specific commands. The ability to control hardware has not yet been implemented.