Android OS Makes It Big
Impetus had been building behind Android throughout its first year on the market. But it wasn’t until 2010 that things really took off.
Google carried on its own-branded device initiatives with the forward-thinking Nexus program, but more important a number of high-profile Google android phones from Motorola, the all new HTC and Samsung brought a surge in device activations. Google’s OS also went through three major versions, and looked to be competitive with the brand new iPad with the first Android-powered tablet.
Inside the next part of our Android History series, we’ll look back on the beginnings of the Nexus program, some of the early on device successes that motivated Android’s growth in 2010, and the growing competition between Apple and Yahoo. Read on to relive the year in which Android made it big.
Nexus Landing: The Google Phone Store
Christmas came a tad early for those inside Google in Dec 2009 and it also quickly became an open key that, yes, Google was working on a cell phone. And, yes, Googlers were walking around with them. So we got a few weeks of leaks and unofficial walkthroughs before the HTC-manufactured Nexus One was unveiled on Jan. 5, 2010.
The telephone itself was damned close to futuristic for the time, especially considering it emerged simply a month or so after the block (but super popular) Motorola Droid on Verizon. This truly was your first sexy smart phone running Android. Basic specs included a 3. 7-inch AMOLED display (at 800x480 resolution), a 1GHz Snapdragon 8250 processor, 512 megabytes of on-board storage and micrOSD card support. It experienced a 1400 mAh electric battery and a 5-megapixel camera. (Hey, it was the year 2010. )
This was the start of the “Pure Google” experience. No manufacturer skins. No carrier bloatware. (And never mind that that’s basically what you got from the Motorola Droid just weeks before.) The Nexus program would showcase the best of Google’s Android software, before it was fallible by anyone else.
The telephone itself was damned close to futuristic for the time.
Even greater was that Yahoo was seeking to revolutionize the way we purchased mobile phones.
What’s more was that Google was looking to revolutionize just how we purchased phones. Ends up it was a little a la mode, but the Nexus One was to be sold online only, sans-subsidy, SIM unlocked, and outside of the shackles of the U. S. service provider system.
Well, sort of. This is in the early on days of proper 3G data, and the very first model of Nexus One to be released was only friendly to T-Mobile’s 3G frequencies. The phone would work on other companies, sure, just not with 3G data. An AT&T-friendly model was released later, and the promised Verizon version never materialized.
In addition to there were missteps at the start. While today we know Google as an organization that’s (mostly) more able to selling actual products, the first days saw a good little confusion, especially regarding support of the Nexus One. When problems began to arise and they always do � oogle and HTC at first sort of indicated fingers at each other shouting “Not it! “ Had been it a Google Telephone? Was it an HTC phone? We didn’t really know, and it seems crazy to think that no person bothered sussing that out there ahead of time. Google finally got some telephone support (for the phone) up and running with regards to a month in.
Reflecting on the launch of Nexus, HTC America President Jerr Mackenzie tells Android Key, “if I look again, the Nexus One was probably about five years ahead of its time. Because it wasn’t just about a Google experience telephone, it was really about a totally new way to bring a phone to market. You didn’t go to operator shops, you didn’t go to suppliers to buy it. That was online. We offered customization on that to where you could have stuff engraved, and then we would overnight that phone. “
Google eventually shuttered the “Phone Store” as we knew after that it. (It has, of course, since resumed selling phones and tablets and other things through its own portal. ) The Nexus line is currently on its seventh iteration. Difficult longer simply a developer device, or a phone for nerds. (OK, it’s still very much both of those things, but is actually also a completely good phone for the parents. ) And while other phones have an over-abundance or less adopted the “Pure Google” principle, Nexus still becomes the newest features first, and provides the most overall flexibility for tinkering.
It is, undoubtedly, one of the longest-lasting Android experiments.
While the Nexus One was an important historical first for Google, the product itself never saw much commercial success. Typically the phones that would drive Android activation numbers into the stratOSphere came into being through different sorts of relationships. Two of the big hitters of 2010 belonged to HTC. Internationally, the Nexus One’s close aunty the HTC Desire debuted with almost identical internals and the company’s Sense User Interface bolstered by a major marketing push that the Nexus never enjoyed. In the course of this time, HTC’s “quietly brilliant” handsets were the public face of Android OS, with the enduring Sense time clock widget appearing in commercials across Europe.
In the U. S., operators were looking for new ‘hero’ devices to combat the AT&T-exclusive iPhone.
In the U. S., mobile operators were looking for their own “hero” handsets to combat the AT&T-exclusive i phone. The first and most obvious was your Motorola-built Droid on Verizon. This, the first phone to perform Android 2. 0 Eclair, was backed by an intensive feature list (including an all-important physical keyboard) and an enormous marketing budget. And soon the motto “Droid Does” encapsulated the idea that Android cell phones weren’t just pretenders to the iPhone’s throne, but devices that could be even more capable. The particular Droid brand soon spawned a lineage of mobile phones, like the touchscreen-centric Droid X and the HTC-made Desire lookalike the Droid Outstanding.
HTC was also on hand to help Short build its “iPhone-killer. inches The EVO 4G, centered on an earlier THE ALL NEW HTC design, the Windows Mobile-powered HD2, arrived in Early spring 2010 with a trailblazing specs sheet. It sported an enormous (for the time) 4. 3-inch WVGA display, and it was your first “4G” phone in America, with support for Sprint’s new-fangled WiMAX network. Which was combined with an industry-leading 8-megapixel camera and 720p video recording. And for enthusiasts, the EVO was among the first Google android phones to get their 2. 2 Froyo update, thanks to HTC’s early on use of the Froyo program code although Nexus program.
Typically the U. S. got many Galaxy S variants: the Captivate, the Vibrant, the Fascinate, the Epic 4G.
And last but by no means last, the year of 2010 was the year that gave us the first Samsung Galaxy S. That wasn’t the first Android Samsung phone, nor the first in the Universe series, but the original Galaxy S was the first to bring Samsung’s A-game to a range topping smartphone. Samsung’s SuperAMOLED technology made its debut, as did its 1GHz “Hummingbird” processor, later re-branded to the greater familiar ExynOS.
Within the carrier-dominated U. H. market, the Galaxy T brand took a again seat to operators’ own priorities, with each carrier getting its slightly different variant. The main models were the Captivate (AT&T), Vibrant (T-Mobile), Fascinate (Verizon) and Epic 4G (Sprint), the key dissimilarities being the Epic’s QWERTY keyboard and the Fascinates Microsoft-heavy software, with Bing as the default search engine.
Claimed software and hardware commonalities between the Galaxy H and the iPhone 3-G would eventually land Samsung Korea in hot water, but body fat denying the phone’s place as the starting member of Android’s most important series of devices.
Nexus One revisited
The Nexus One was a groundbreaking phone in a whole lot of ways, but it seemed to be a landmark device for Android. And though its internals have older and its applications are no longer supported, the design and make quality of the inaugural Nexus device is a source of nOStalgia to this today.
The Nexus One was Google’s second collaboration with Taiwanese supplier HTC (after the G1), and this time around the partnership between the two brought more The All New HTC influence into the ending product.
“I know that there were much more THE NEW HTC design techniques starting the Nexus device, propOSing things more to Google than where the G1 was very much designed collaboratively, “ Graham Wheeler, The All New HTC Europe’s Director of Merchandise Management and Service, advised Android Central.
“[Google] saw this as an chance to drive the platform forward, to showcase the technology that could be used. “
“This is my personal perception “Yahoo obviously has its own understanding of why it wanted to collaborate with a Nexus device” they saw this as an pOSsibility to drive the program forward, to showcase the technology that could be used, like the trackball, and give different paradigms. “
Android and individuals using it had also managed to move on since the G1, and consumers were more tech-savvy and comfy with full touchscreen devices in earlier 2010, Wheeler says. inches[Android] had grown up as a platform, a lot more. You got [devices like] the HTC Hero in between and we recognized [the platform], and the testers understood it. So it was a much more natural shipping and delivery. “
HTC seemed to be unique in being one of the few manufacturers creating metal smartphones “devices like the Hero, Story, Desire and Nexus 1” at any given time when even the iPhone was plastic-type. (There’s a good reason for this: metal boxes and radio signals don’t easily mix. )
Peter Chou, HTC’s CEO at the time, was a driving force behind the gradual upgrading of metal into the company’s handsets, Wheeler describes.
“One of the things I see from Philip is an absolute passion with how the telephone feels in your hand. When we were creating the [HTC One] M8 he had a mock-up in his hand for a 30 days or two that this individual would just keep pulling out [and holding]. “
“And I think that’s why metal was one of those materials used, because it has that tactile feel. It’s much cooler, it’s stronger, it really makes you feel like you’re holding something that is designed around you.
Android on a tablet: The particular original Samsung Galaxy Case
Remember the first Android tablet? No, it’s not the Galaxy Tab ten. 1 we saw at Google I/O 2011, or the Motorola Xoom (though these two would be the selections most people would think of). It’s the original 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Case.
This was very much the phone version of Android ported onto a larger screen, however.
Back September of 2010, Samsung Korea did what Samsung really does best “create a device that’s different, and sufficient to define a category” and released a 7-inch device that looked and felt very much like a huge, huge phone. In fact, in many areas of the world, you can use the original Galaxy Tab as a phone.
The Tab launched with Android second . 2 (a custom Samsung build, of course). This can be the same operating system used for phones and lacked any tablet-centric features. While it did cause a few less-than-ideal instances where software were extend too much because they were suitable for much smaller screens, for the most part it was well-received.
The 1024x600 display wasn’t even officially supported by Android. Within fact, every thing about the OG Galaxy Tab was different from anything we were used to. However the 1GHz Hummingbird processor and PowerVR SGX540 GPU shipped, and things like HIGH-DEFINITION video playback and DLNA worked well. Dieter Bohn, reporting for Android Key from the Tab’s Bremen launch event, was amazed with the device, and the takeaway was that 7-inch tablets were a really good thing.
From the time, we thought the 7-inch form factor was a good way for small tablets.
History shows that they were area on. The market for mid-sized tablets soon exploded, and many of us enjoy the smaller form factor compared to a 10-inch (or larger) version.
Without the original Samsung Galaxy Tab, we probably wouldn’t have products like the Nexus seven or the iPad Mini today. Thanks, Samsung!
Eclair and Froyo
Android 2.0 Eclair continued fleshing out Android’s core feature set with important (and now very much taken-for-granted) functions like contacts and account sync for third-party apps, SMS and MMS search support and double-tap to zoom in the browser. An updated Eclair release, Android 2.0 just one, added animated live wallpapers (bundled on the Nexus One), and some minimal behind-the-scenes changes.
The second of the three Android produces in 2010 was version 2.2 Froyo, an even more important Motorola milestone phone for under-the-hood stuff. Android second 0.2 introduced important news for the OS, while laying the foundations for Google Play Services a key piece of the Android OS problem that would arrive 2 yyearslater.
While the Android-iPhone rivalry was stronger than ever this season, BlackBerry was still king of the enterprise. And so Froyo made Android more business-friendly, with Microsoft Exchange support and new “device administrator” APIs for remotely wiping phones.
Google android also got built-in tethering support as standard, a feature which elevated cell phones as a central center of connectivity for travellers. Carriers would be free to wall off this feature on locked, top quality phones (and that they did), but having tethering out of the box on unlocked devices was a huge deal, particularly exterior of the U. S.
Cloud-to-device messaging also opened a new world of pOSsibilities to developers, with the “Chrome to Phone” extension for sending web pages and Maps locations from the desktop to the pocket being shown on stage at the I/O 2010 conference.
Froyo was all about the under-the-hood improvements visual changes would have to wait around until Gingerbread.
Android applications also got a free performance boOSt thanks to the new JIT compiler, making phones noticeably more rapidly.
All of this fuelled the hunger for faster software updates among Android OS owners, something the Android OS of 2010 wasn’t at all built for. Because the first and only Nexus partner, HTC had the code in advance, and so was able to drive out Froyo for the EVO and Desire relatively quickly. For most other OEMs, work couldn’t even start until after public code drop, and even then it’d must be qualified by carriers before going out.
It’s a acquainted scenario for anyone who’s ever eagerly awaited a new Android update. And though things have improved in recent years, it’s a weakness very much built into Android’s GENETICS. But there was a silver lining: users running Froyo in 2012 would get new features and security updates through Google Play Services, even without a firmware update.
Flash support in the Android browser was a big deal in 2010.
Adobe Flash support in the Android web browser was an important move for the web of 2010, bringing more active content to phones, and giving Android a large feature advantage over the i phone in the short expression. With the benefit of hindsight, however, mobile Flash turned out there to be on an incorrect side of history. Whilst Flash worked reasonably well on Android ‘as well as could be expected given the size of phone displays and Flash being created for mouse-driven power-hungry PCs’ the open standard of HTML5 was always going to be the crOSs-device option.
Taking the fight to Apple: Yahoo I/O 2010
Google had been an early partner on the apple iPhone, providing key support in the form of Google Maps data, but the relationship between it and The apple company soured as the two wrestled for control of the future of travelling with a laptop. Google needed its own OS so as not to become dependent on others for its slice of mobile ad revenue. The apple company, and CEO Steve Opportunities in particular, saw Android as a copycat reply to the iPhone.
Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs catches the Apple co-founder’s fury after seeing a 2010 THE ALL NEW HTC phone ‘likely the Nexus One’ which he believed had duplicated features from the i phone.
“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $30 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’ll destroy Android, because that is a stolen product. Now I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this. “
A direct confrontation with Google never came. As an alternative, Apple would wage the thermonuclear war by web proxy, going after Android manufacturers like HTC and Samsung Korea with patent claims.
The Google I/O developer meeting of 2010 was another early flashpoint in the growing rivalry between the two. For that second-day keynote, Google VP Vic Gundotra took to the phase to introduce Android as an alternative to a totalitarian future under Apple and Jobs, as he paraphrased remarks by Android OS founder Andy Rubin.
“If Google did not act, we faced a animal future a future where one man, one company, one device, one carrier would be our only choice. That’s a future we don’t want. “
It set the tone for a demonstration peppered with pot-shots at Apple, the iPhone and the iPad, as Gundotra arranged out Android’s browser performance advantage, Adobe Flash features, multitasking chops, built-in tethering and cloud-based iPhone app unit installation all areas lacking or underdeveloped on iOS.
Though Gundotra himself had worked closely with Work on Google’s mobile programs for the iPhone, the subtext of the I/O 2010 keynote was clear Apple was the evil empire, closed, elitist and rooted in the cable-bound past, and Google android was open, empowering, Internet-driven and forward-looking.
With that said, it’s ironic that the keynote put such concentrate on Adobe Flash, a technology adopted from desktop computers which was eventually eliminated on mobile, and is slowly disappearing from the desktop web as well.
Another historical paradox: Gundotra, now a opportunity capitalist, regularly pOSts pictures to Google+ taken on his iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Apple in 2010: Retina and apple ipad
If 2010 was an important year for Android OS, it was even more pivotal for its biggest rival, Apple. The yr started with the appearance of the much-hyped apple iPad, a 9. 7-inch slate which seems bulky by today’s lean standards, but was significantly sleeker than the Windows-based tablets of the day, which were basically entire laptops loaded behind a screen.
Delivering the simplicity of iOS to a bigger display opened the iPad up to and including far wider audience when compared to a regular computer.
Instead of seeking to pack its desktop OS onto a capsule, Apple stepped its smartphone software up to a larger display, letting it use lower-powered internals and strike a cheaper-than-expected price point of $499. Bringing the simpleness of what was then iPhoneOS to a bigger screen also opened the iPad up to a far broader audience when compared to a regular computer.
Apple also gave the iPhone its biggest change yet with the launch of the iPhone 4 that summer. The 326ppi “Retina” display foreshadowed the era of super-dense phone, tablet and laptop displays of the present, while the glass and steel design forced just about everyone making phones ‘with the possible exemption of HTC’ to up their game. (Though the “antenna-gate” controversy outlined some of the inherent challenges of making a metal phone.)
Although tablets running Froyo and Gingerbread would arrive later in 2010, a full capsule version of Android, Honeycomb, wouldn’t launch until a dozen months after Apple’s iPad announcement. Similarly, it’d take about a year for Android phones to match (and eventually surpass) the sheer density of Apple’s Retina display.
By now, Android had been booming. More devices than ever before were being sold around the world, and the OS’s feature established was expanding to problem Apple among regular consumers, and BlackBerry and Windows Mobile in the business. But there was an issue: Android was still kind of ugly.
The visual style of Android 2. 2 Froyo was largely unrevised from the pre-release milestone builds, with 90s-style device that looked antiquated next to offerings from The apple company and Palm. There were no real design guidelines to speak of. It absolutely was cold, functional and not especially user-friendly. And so phone makers ended upwards adding their own software layers to plug the gaps and differentiate their products.
Duarte led the effort that brought a strong visual identity to Google android, and a firmer hands on the design rudder.
A firmer hand was needed on the design rudder, and that’s where Palm webOS design guru and former Danger artist Matias Duarte came in. Duarte was hired in May of 2010 (shortly after Palm was ingested up by HP), and in the years that followed led the hard work that brought a strong visual identity to Android OS.
The beginnings of that were seen in Android 3. 0’s Tron-like “holographic” UI for tablets. Of which eventually matured into “Holo” in Android 4. zero, Ice Cream Sandwich. Holo was cleaner, darker, less overtly Sci-Fi and more futuristic because of this, with a recognizable blue accent.
Holo evolved within the next pair of years, lOSing a lot of what originally made it “holographic, “ before Duarte, as VP of Style for the entire of Google, unveiled the following stage in Google’s design story, Material Design.
Gingerbread and the Nexus H
Landing in December 2010 together with the Samsung-made Nexus S, Android 2. 3 Gingerbread gave the OS its biggest visible overhaul yet, while moving the platform forward with cutting-edge features like NFC (near-field communication), improved performance and better iPhone app management. In spring 2011, an latest version of Gingerbread would bring native support for front-facing cameras, a feature first popularized by the iPhone 4.
Gingerbread was the first Android release to have been influenced by newly-hired designer Matias Duarte the man in charge of the style and feel of Palm’s webOS, who would eventually rise to VP of The design of the whole of Google.
Along with Gingerbread almost done by enough time of Duarte’s introduction, his influence on that version of the OPERATING SYSTEM was relatively minor. Within a 2011 interview with Engadget, he revealed that the focus of Gingerbread was increasing the cell phone experience in time for the holiday launch of the Nexus S. While Duarte had a turn in the look and feel of Gingerbread, the visible refresh that came was minor in comparison to the vast changes that lay ahead.
“The window of opportunity for Gingerbread was really, really narrow. So we centered on the things that made most sense to make it a great phone for the holiday season. “
These included “getting the text input really right, which meant working on its keyboard counterpart and starting to work on copy-and-paste and bettering text selection. inches
“Giving it a little bit of a visual refresh, [starting] to try to bring some cohesion and some of the new design direction to the product. But the scope was actually narrow. “
For a long time, Gingerbread was the version of Google android that just wouldn’t perish.
That “new design language” debuted in 2011, starting with the Android 3. 0 Honeycomb release for tablets.
Unlike earlier Android versions, Gingerbread stuck around on phones for a comparatively long time period almost a full yr. Which after ICS shipped, sellers continued to sell mobile phones running Android 2.3. As a result, the majority of the Android install base remained on Gingerbread for the next few years, and it so remained an important target for application developers.
In phrases of raw hardware, the Nexus S was a strong but unspectacular phone. It stepped back to an all-plastic design compared to HTC’s metal-framed Nexus A single. And being based after the Galaxy S, it packed Samsung’s own Owl CPU and SuperAMOLED show a serious enhancement after the regular AMOLED of the first Nexus. Like the Nexus One, the Nexus S had not been a huge success, but rather a technological showcase and a solid phone for developers and enthusiasts. Exactly what is more, working so carefully with Google on the Nexus S likely benefited Samsung as it well prepared its next flagship cell phone, the Galaxy S 2.0.