back to article Google's Android celebrates fourth birthday

Android will be four years old on Sunday, September 23. Google launched the first public version of the mobile OS, in the form of the Android 1.0, on 23 September 2008, though its origins go back years before that. Google's Android statues Source: Quinn Dombrowski The operating system was created by a company called Android …

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Anonymous Coward

How can it celebrate a birthday when it's still not even finished?!

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You could say that about most humans.

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Knob.

(obviously the door variety...heaven forbid that I swear!)

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Anonymous Coward

Something like this is never finished.

It will improve every year, and unlike iOS, which has pretty much stayed the same, with the same boring list of icons, Android gets significantly better every year. No doubt because of all the big players contributing to it.

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WTF?

Not finished, yet still more functional than the polished shiny shiny offering. I'd say if that was the case, when Google do finish it, Apple are shafted.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Something like this is never finished.

unlike iOS, which has pretty much stayed the same

It may help to actually try the device you're dissing. I have phones of all platforms (except the new Windows, too busy with other things right now) and it's a matter of personal taste. I cannot say that iOS has stood still, but they go more for usability changes, which are a bit more subtle (and they too get it wrong at times). I personally dislike Android, but I prefer not to make statements against it other than those based on facts..

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Anonymous Coward

unfinished unlike

Windows, which is finished.

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Re: Something like this is never finished.

Thanks for that. Nice to see opposition using polite debate and facts. The latter is the better one. ;-)

Cheers.

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I'll be out for Sunday lunch and a pint .....

... with my HTC Wildfire, HTC Incredible, Advent Vega and my Asus Transformer T300.

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It's impressive

Only four years and the end result is really rather good. There's a colossal amount of code in the Android codebase, and for the most part its all pretty good stuff.

If only governmental projects could produce something that good in that space of time...

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Headmaster

Re: It's impressive

To be fair Android has been in development since at least 2003, when Android, Inc was founded making it really a 9 year development effort.

Also much of the code was borrowed from Linux, Java, Webkit...

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Re: It's impressive

Agreed, but many probably forget (or don't even know) that Apple's iOS is based on BSD.

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FAIL

Re: It's impressive

Agreed, but many probably forget (or don't even know) that Apple's iOS is based on BSD.

That is because it's not. It reuses certain components from BSD (specifically FreeBSD), but the OS is not and never has been based on BSD.

As an example, one of the things that is reused is part of the network stack. All versions of Windows also re-use the same parts of the same network stack, is Windows based on BSD?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's impressive

iOS is really not that based on BSD, it only has a BSD layer to provide a POSIX API. The kernel itself is XNU, which was developed at NeXT, a company founded by Jobs and later bought back by Apple. The frameworks also started in OSX and NeXT.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's impressive

You're right. It's defintiely *the* home of mobile malware and in such a short time. It's an achievement I think the android guys will ensure they hold onto for some time.

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Re: It's impressive

XNU itself is based on Carnegie Mellon's Mach, another open-source project.

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Boffin

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

If v1.5 was Cupcake, what were the earlier A & B codenames?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Inquiring Minds Want To Know

"Apple" and "Blackberry"

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Re: Inquiring Minds Want To Know

LOLZ!

Just to be boring and serious for a second, the alphabetic confectionery names start with Cupcake. The previous version was known as "Petit Four".

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JDX
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I've been and seen the giant donut, a bit bizarre.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, the fact that you've been the giant donut is indeed bizarre.

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Re: Inquiring Minds Want To Know

The first 2 versions of Android were known as Astro & Bender,

Andy Rubin is a big robot fan and wanted to name each version after a famous robot but most of those names are trademarks so Google Legal veto'd it, otherwise we'd have probably had C3PO instead of cupcake.

The same reason why none of the current names will be brands otherwise it would have been Jello instead of JellyBean.

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Headmaster

Re: Inquiring Minds Want To Know

Not quite as the story goes...

http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/09/17/a-history-of-pre-cupcake-android-codenames/

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Re: Inquiring Minds Want To Know

Bender - only a non-Brit would call something that.

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Re: Inquiring Minds Want To Know

The 2 Wikipedia articles perpetuating that myth will be repaired. Thanks for pointing that out as i have myself assumed it to be Astro and Bender and kept them in 2 articles.

Thanks again dx!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Inquiring Minds Want To Know

Wikifiddlers basing articles on assumption rather than research of facts?

I am shocked! Shocked!

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Re: Inquiring Minds Want To Know

There was a citation already i place using Astro and Bender, it's clearly a myth though and now exposed it can be fixed.

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Anonymous Coward

Got to feel sorry for Openmoko

From memory, they had a handset out first.

Lack of cash finished the project off, shame Google didn't contribute there rather than reinvent.

Still, history is full of parallel development projects where one gets the momemntum first and wins.

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Linux

Re: Got to feel sorry for Openmoko

Funny how (at least I) think there is always something to the name. What would you choose "Openmoko" or "Android". Most of the open source naming is rather "funny", Linux as an exception like Apache, for instance.

Still if you want to check all the cell phones based on Linux, just have a look at www.linuxfordevices.com

,it goes a long way back.

Incidentally, I still don't know if one should write Linux or linux.

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Patently obvious

This handset clearly shows that the touch paradigm ushered in by the iPhone was in fact an obvious, universal approach, because trackball.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Patently obvious

Trackballs are handy for navigating through text and websites not optimised for touch on sub 4 inch screens. It's surprising the iPhone didn't have one, what with its tiny display and all.

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Re: Patently obvious

Agreed 100%. I had (and still have, boxed way) an early G1 and found the trackball very useful indeed. Even now, it's a bit of a pain using a touchscreen device on a web site with drop down menus; there is no easy way to differentiate a mouseover event from a tap or hold without a trackball.

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Re: Patently obvious

So why don't current Android handsets have that feature?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Patently obvious

Because they have big enough screens that the trackball becomes redundant.

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Maybe it's a good time to look back and learn

In my opinion there have been some problems with Android. Of course others will see those problems as advantages, so much of this is personal opinion and taste.

1. No hardware abstraction below the kernel. This means every phone manufacturer _has_ to adapt the kernel to their hardware. There is no way of enumerating the hardware so a kernel with "all modules" isn't possible.

2. That Java Davlik thingy. OK, the idea was that you could have software on multiple CPU platforms. However today much of the software running on Android loads binary CPU-dependent libraries.

3. Weak standard compliance. OK there's worse, but it would be nice for Android to be X11 based. X11 is the quasi standard for GUI applications. Even if they desperately wanted to invent something new. They could have gone for something more innovative, something which would work independent of the programming language. For example something HTML-based.

4. Tying everything into the Google Account. I don't want to have a Google Account just to use some features. Why didn't they implement syncing via rsync? That would still leave 99% of the people using Google's services, but it would give the rest, particularly corporate users, a safe way to sync. Why can't I use Google Play without a Google Account. And why doesn't it use HTTP?

5. The whole idea of a "Store" as the only intended way of managed software distribution. Why didn't they add a repository, so I can install open source software just like I do with every normal Linux distribution.

Again, you might see many of those points as advantages of Android, however those are things IOS already did before, and by now just about anybody does.

I just wish there still was a "mobile Debian" around.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe it's a good time to look back and learn

The "tying in to a Google account" is the reason Android is *cough* "free" *cough* - you pay for it with your privacy. Google has publicly implied that it uses Android as a continuation of the Streetview WiFi data gathering it got itself into serious trouble with, so you're basically walking around with a device that doesn't just spy on you, but also on those around you. Tying it to a Google account means that it can allocate events to an ID, and flog the result.

"Free" indeed..

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Re: Maybe it's a good time to look back and learn

Well then again, if 99% of the customers hook it into their Google accounts, that's enough for Google. By not forcing people they could probably even increase the total market share. People who don't want Google now install Cyanogenmod or get some other OS. (although the alternatives are getting fewer and fewer)

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Re: Maybe it's a good time to look back and learn

You were doing okay until you suggested X11. I can only imagine you've never tried to code against that fucker. Kafka couldn't have done better.

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Re: Maybe it's a good time to look back and learn

"That Java Davlik thingy. OK, the idea was that you could have software on multiple CPU platforms. However today much of the software running on Android loads binary CPU-dependent libraries."

Define "much"? Sure some top-end games and some CPU-heavy apps (Skype and the like) may load binaries for a specific arch, but the majority of the applications (calculators, fart apps, diaries etc.) don't.

"The whole idea of a "Store" as the only intended way of managed software distribution. Why didn't they add a repository, so I can install open source software just like I do with every normal Linux distribution."

Nothing to stop you from doing that once you're rooted. The current approach of allowing non-market apps, but forcing users to check the permissions of each app they wish to sideload before installation is an acceptable workaround, I think.

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Re: Maybe it's a good time to look back and learn

I can only imagine you've never tried to code against [X11] Kafka couldn't have done better.

I don't know. The client-server paradigm they use is pretty cool (even if they decide to swap the names around). I think if you really want Kafkaesque then you have to be an iphone user. Your arms and legs may no longer be in the place you expect them to be and and you're experiencing difficulty coordinating your extremities to perform what should be a mundane task, but still all you have in mind is asking Siri whether you can make the next train in time for work.

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