The world's most popular operating system, Android is 11 today, though with a mixture of ups and downs, the operating system has beaten all odds mostly because there wasn’t any strong competitor.
While the rise of Android is phenomenal, and it's amazing how the smartphone platform has evolved over the last decade, been primarily designed for touchscreen mobile gadgets such as smartphones and tablet devices, the growing adoption of mobile devices sure played a huge part.
Albeit, Google turned the formerly no-name operating system into the world's most popular smartphone platform, Android system has long been criticized for its fragmentation, with millions of devices not able to receive regular security fixes and feature updates, despite that patches are made available every month by Google.
A brief history of Android OS
Originally developed by Andrew E. Rubin, an American computer programmer, Android was stated in a bid to develop what he calls “smarter mobile devices that are more aware of its owner’s location and preferences” - which is perhaps the "SMART" attached to such phones today.
Though with the initial two years of Android, it struggled to gain foothold in the mobile phone industry, not until Google acquired the company in 2005 and from near-obscurity to more than 250 million product activation per year as at 2014.
Google biggest turn around decisions was perhaps the use of Linux as the foundation for the Android operating system, which has lend it the power of the highly disparate open source community. The company was prepared to fight off the Apple advances with the iPhone becoming hugely popular, Google joined the Open Handset Alliance, made up of Qualcomm, T-Mobile, HTC, Motorola, and Texas Instruments.
What were the Android breakthrough moments?
Android OS, following Google's joining of the Open Handset Alliance, became the de facto operating system for all smartphone manufacturing companies under that umbrella body, which includes Motorola, HTC, and Samsung. And given that such phones launched with several of Google own services and unique products like Maps, YouTube, and Google Search, gave Android a vantage point against the competitors.
Even though as at then, Google Play Store (formerly Android Marketplace) could not measure up to the Apple App store, but with the full weight of the open source community of developers, Google knew that the gap will sooner than later be closed.
The Android Marketplace, now known as Google Play Store, is where the developers made their mobile apps available for mobile users to download, which is hugely responsible for the success of Android platform.
And then, the Security Puzzle!
Given the many different manufacturers saddled with the task of churning out Android devices, all updates pushed out by Google, from the monthly security fixes to version updates, have been subject to the partner's discretion.
But Google had been trying to make Android better, and have added notable security features from time to time. Starting from Android 1.x, where Google introduced the Android Market and support for third-party apps. Then comes Android 2.x, with the ability to install apps on external memory, and later versions, Google also made some major changes that brought about a whole new level of security for Android.
Now, still millions of some older devices are not receiving the regular security patches and feature updates, even the upcoming Android 10 will undoubtedly not solve the whole security puzzles, as it will take several years for some manufacturers to trickle out the update to their Android devices.