Android was originally intended for 'smart cameras', not phones

Whether you love it or hate it, the dominance of Android in the mobile landscape is impossible to ignore. A staggering 1.5m Android devices are registered every single day, and Google believes that by the end of this year, there'll be a total of one billion devices out there in the wild running Android. 

Android is best known for running on smartphones and tablets, but it now features on many more devices than that, including e-readers, media centers, gaming devices, and even kitchen equipment such as refrigerators and ovens. The OS has also made the leap to digital cameras, which is significant in light of comments made this week by Andy Rubin, co-founder of Android, who revealed that it was originally created for a new generation of "smart cameras" that could be connected to PCs. 

Speaking at an economic summit in Tokyo, Rubin discussed slides from his original April 2004 pitch to investors, which showed a camera linked to a home PC, which then connected to an "Android Datacenter". The initial plan, as PC World notes, was to establish an 'intelligent' imaging platform, with cloud integration for storing and sharing photos online. But as the market for digital cameras evolved - and trends in digital photography indicated a shift towards smartphone integration rather than standalone devices - the plan changed. 

Just a few months after the initial pitch, Rubin and his team had reworked their plan, calling Android "an open-source handset solution", ditching the more limited camera-focused scope of their initial aims. In practice, it was a simple pivot rather than a complete change of direction. As Rubin explained: "The exact same platform, the exact same operating system we built for cameras, that became Android for cellphones."

When Google acquired Android in 2005, Rubin stayed on to oversee development of the OS within the tech giant. Back then, the tech landscape looked quite different. As he explains: "I was worried about Microsoft, and I was worried about Symbian; I wasn't worried about iPhone yet." 

Indeed, the Android team had what Rubin calls "ambitious" aims to achieve 9% market share in Europe and North America by 2010. The most recent data shows that Android currently commands over 50% of the US smartphone market, and that number is much higher globally. 

How times change. 

Source: PC World

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