The Android platform is a mobile-phone operating system originally developed by Android Incorporated. Just under two years old, the Palo Alto, California Android Inc. possessed a lot of mobile device knowledge. Google recognizing the potential of the mobile-device market acquired the company in 2005. The operating system is built upon a modified version of the open source Linux operating system with applications written in different programming languages including Java, Python and Ruby. Android has become one of the most well known mobile-phone operating systems along with Blackberry, Apple iPhone, Symbian, and Microsoft’s Pocket PC and now Phone 7.
Google and the Open Handset Alliance further developed the Android operating system. The Open Handset Alliance included companies such as Intel, Motorola, Texas Instruments, Samsung Electronics, Nvidia, LG, Qualcomm, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile. On November 5th of 2007 Google and the Open Handset Alliance announced they were working on a mobile device set of open standards and introduced Android. In a little over a year ARM Holdings, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba Corp, Asustek Computer Inc, Garmin Ltd, and Vodafone joined the Open Handset Alliance.
Around August of 2008 rumors started to circulate that a new cell phone was about ready to be released with the Android operating system. On October of the same year T-Mobile introduced the G1 Android 1.0 powered smart phone. The new phone initially carried a price tag of $129.99 with a two year contract. The phone was built by HTC and featured a slide out keyboard design. The G1 screen was a 3.2 inch diagonal display with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. The G1 had access to Google ran Android Market where customers could install third-party applications. The marketplace featured only about thirty to forty applications at the time.
The Android operating system continued development with subsequent releases being named after deserts. The following list shows the platform designations 1.0, 1.1, 1.5 (Cupcake), 1.6 (Donut), 2.0/2.1 (Éclair), 2.2 (Froyo), 2.3 (Gingerbread) and 3.0 (Honeycomb). The 3.0 Honeycomb version was designed for tablets taking advantage of the bigger screen size and hardware capabilities.
Since the release of the original T-Mobile G1 numerous Android cell phones have been released. Every major carrier in the United States now offers Android powered cell phones. As with the increase of devices has grown so has the number of Android applications. As of the time of this writing the Android Market offers over 200,000 applications. One can only wonder what the future mobile devices will hold.