It is 5 years since the Open Handset Alliance announced the Android platform and, despite all the problems of fragmentation, Android's 75% of the market vindicates Google's decision to make Android an open platform.
Five years ago pundits were expecting Google to announce a G-phone to rival Nokia's Symbian, RIM's Blackberry and Apple's iPhone, which had been launched a few month's earlier.
Instead on November 5, the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium led by Google and with members including handset makers, application developers, mobile carriers and chip makers, the lineup including T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm and Motorola, announced the Android Platform as an open software platform:
In this video Steve Horovitz states:
There's no such thing as a single G-phone. What we are doing is enabling an entire industry to create thousands of G-phones.
In fact the first Android handset, the the HTC Dream smartphone, also known as the T-Mobile G1 in the US and some parts of Europe. didn't ship until September 2008 but it was only a week later that the first Android SDK was launched and as Google hasn't yet celebrated Android's 5th birthday maybe November 12 is counted as the anniversary date.
Here's the video from November 11, 2007 in which Sergey Brin and Steve Horovitz provide the first demo of the capabilities of the SDK.
Given Android's predilection for cakes and sweets, surely it deserves a cake with candles.
From the developer's point of view there is a lot to celebrate. With the JellyBean version Android has reached a good level of maturity for a five year old. The OS is fast, smooth and stable and it works as well as any alternative. We could still use some better tools and perhaps wider language support but Android at five is worth celebrating.
And with last week's news that 75% of handsets shipped in the latest quarter are Android, compared to 15% iOS and 10% for all the rest between them, there is plenty of cake for Android developers to share between them.