For many of you this may be common knowledge but to those of you that are new to Android or just seek more knowledge we are starting a new segment called guide to Android.
Andy Rubin (Vice President of Engineering/Android at Google)
Andy Rubin is no stranger to phone operating systems. His experience before Android is actually an important part of Android and smartphone OS’s as we know them. Rubin began his career at Apple in 1989. After apple he went to work on WebTV.
Andy Rubin left WebTV which was acquired by Microsoft. After which he, along with partners Joe Britt and Matt Hershenson founded Danger. Danger was the company that developed the Danger Hip Top device which most of us know as the T-Mobile Sidekick. Danger was founded in 2000 and the original Sidekick debuted in 2002. T-Mobile officially retired the Sidekick as we know it in 2010 and announced that Microsoft would stop supporting the Sidekick servers this spring.
The T-Mobile Sidekick (also known as the mobiflip elsewhere) featured a quick release slide out qwerty keyboard for which the phone took it’s name. In terms of software, operating system and performance, with it’s release in 2002 it was actually ahead of it’s time. You see while everyone is fighting for the best cloud based this and cloud based that, the Sidekick stored everything in the Cloud.
In 2003 Rubin founded Android with partner Rich Miner with the goal to create “…smarter mobile devices that are more aware of its owner’s location and preferences.” In the early phases of Android, Rubin kept it more secretive than an Apple release only telling people they were working on software for mobile phones.
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In 2005 Google acquired Android and it’s employees, including Rubin who stayed on and became the Vice President of Engineering and the Android lead. After the Android team was in place at Google the rumors started popping up everywhere but not that Google was working on an Operating System, but that they were working on a phone.
It was no secret that Google saw things shifting to mobile and by getting in the mobile space they provided themselves with more opportunities to serve the search and advertising needs of consumers and companies. The Android team at Google developed an operating system based on the Linux Kernel.
Google began searching out OEM and carrier partners for it’s new operating system, all the while the media was serving up a frenzy of speculative stories about a Google branded or Google produced mobile device. Things came to a head when in 2007 it was widely reported that Google had filed several patents all of which were in the mobile space.
On November 5, 2007 the Open Handset Alliance announced it’s founding as a consortium of OEM and carrier partners to develop open standards for mobile devices. It’s interesting to note that T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel were the only carrier partners when the Open Handset Alliance was formed.
T-Mobile was the company that partnered with Andy Rubin’s previous company, Danger, to release the hiptop, “Sidekick” which was the most popular consumer centric smartphones of it’s time. In the early part of the decade Blackberry was even more geared for business. It wasn’t until Blackberry released the Pearl, and Curve lines that they were perceived as for non business people as well.
On October 22, 2008 T-Mobile released the first Android device the G1. There are currently over 180 devices running some form of Android.
T-Mobile released the follow up to the G1, appropriately named the G2. Later this spring they are expected to release the G2X as well as the new Sidekick 4G, this time running Android. It’s like a father being reunited with his long lost child.