An Instructive Look Back At Android's Meteoric Rise

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 10, 2010

Off the top of your head, can you remember when Google's open source mobile OS Android began to pick up momentum? Android lives in so many people's pockets, is spreading out to so many smartphones and other types of devices, and is so often discussed in the media that it can be easy to forget how young it is. It is so young in fact, that when you consider its short history it only seems logical to assume that we've seen very little of what Android will eventually do and become.

Originally released at the very end of 2007 and gaining some mention as 2008 began, Android qualified as little more than an experiment from Google in 2008, although there was an early hardware commitment from HTC, which continues to make many Android handsets. As 2009 started to unfold, as late as March of that year, Android still had very little momentum. We wrote this story then, which pondered why Android was stalled after so much initial hype.

That story was prompted by a blog post from Fabrizio Capobianco, CEO of Funambol, who had returned from Mobile World Congress in early 2009--one of the biggest mobile shows in the world--reporting this:

"Android was a shocking no show. I was expecting a lot of Android devices, but they just were not there. The first day, HTC did not even have the G2. It showed up the second day (thankfully). The HTC Magic (G2) will be available this spring in the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, France and Italy. I have no idea if Android is just hard to put in a phone, or if there is something else. Last year was the year of Android announcements. This year was supposed the year of the phones actually showing up. It did not happen."

Capobianco was right. At that conference, Android was essentially a no show.  In April of last year, PCMag wondered whether Android had already completely failed. A look back at that article shows that there were good reasons to wonder if it had.

Of course, fast-forward to today, and Android is one of the biggest hits in the history of operating systems. Based on Linux, it is also a home run for Linux and the open source concept. Research firm IDC forecasts a coming surge in smartphone sales, and singles out Android as one of the big expected winners. 

A lot can happen in a year, especially for a promising open platform. Since Android's fortunes changed so much in just a little over a year, don't we have every reason to think that we've seen very little of what it will eventually achieve and become?