Android is a mobile operating system (OS) developed by Google and used on smartphones and other mobile devices. The Android platform includes an operating system based on the Linux kernel, a graphical user interface (GUI), a web browser, and end-user applications that can be downloaded.
Android was released under the Apache v2 open-source software license, which allowed many variations of the operating system to be developed for other devices, such as gaming consoles and digital cameras. Although Android is based on open-source software, most Android devices come preinstalled with a suite of proprietary software, such as Google Maps, YouTube, Google Chrome, and Gmail.
Android runs on both widely deployed cellular standards, GSM/HSDPA and CDMA/EV-DO, and supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, SMS and MMS messaging, autocorrect, video and still digital cameras, accelerometers, accelerated 3D graphics, and multitasking applications.
Android uses ARM for its hardware platform, and later versions support x86 and x86-64 architectures. Starting in 2012, device manufacturers released Android smartphones and tablets with Intel processors.
In October 2003, Android, Inc. was founded in Palo Alto by Rich Miner, Nick Sears, Chris White, and Andy Rubin. Before founding Android Inc. and joining Google, Andy Rubin worked at Apple from 1989 to 1992. At Apple, he was given the nickname “Android” for his love of robots, and the original android.com site was Rubin’s website until 2008.
The company originally worked to develop an operating system for digital cameras but changed directions. In 2005, Google acquired Android, Inc. and its key employees for approximately $50 million. They released the first public beta version, Android 1.0, in November 2007. In 2008, HTC Dream became the first smartphone to use the Android operating system, but it received some criticism for its physical keyboard and no touchscreen like the new iPhone that was released the year before.
In April 2009, Google released Android 1.5, "Cupcake," which introduced both a virtual keyboard and its dessert-themed naming scheme. Around the time Android 4.4 "KitKat" was released, Google made an official statement to explain the naming: "Since these devices make our lives so sweet, each Android version is named after a dessert." However, in 2019, Google stopped using dessert-themed names with Android 10.
Google employee Irina Blok made the original Android logo, with guidance to make it look like a robot. She stated that one of her inspirations for the design was the familiar restroom logos representing “men” and “women.” Google made the logo open source, allowing others to modify and use it. Over the years, the logo has changed, with a major revision in 2019 with the release of Android 10.