Android Turns 10 Years Old, And It Forever Changed The Smartphone Landscape

It may seem hard to fathom, but Google's Android operating system turned 10 years old over the weekend, and what a remarkable decade it has been for what has become the world's most widely used mobile OS. Andy Rubin and the rest of Android's co-founders probably aren't surprised at Android's success, giving that they had high aspirations from the very beginning.

Android's history dates back more than 10 years. Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears, and Chris White founded Android as company back in October 2003, and at the time they envisioned it playing an integral role in the rise of digital cameras. They would later change their collective vision, shifting from digital cameras to handsets.

That decision helped shaped the modern smartphone landscape, as did Google's acquisition of Android in 2005. On September 23, 2008, Android made its commercial debut on the HTC Dream, otherwise known as the T-Mobile G1, the first-ever commercially released Android phone. I actually still have that handset buried away in storage.

These days the competing landscape is dominated by Android and iOS, the former an open-source OS and the latter a proprietary platform. Which one is better has been the subject of many Internet debates. Regardless, it's apparent that Android is here to stay. It's found on practically every non-iPhone handset, and has out survived a field that used to include Windows Mobile and Blackberry OS, the latter of which it actually replaced (Blackberry OS is no longer being developed, with support slated to end at the end of 2019).

In just 10 years, Android has captured a dominating 85 percent of the global smartphone market, according to the most recent data from IDC. The market research firm predicts Android will hold steady for at least the next several years.

"Android's smartphone share will hover around 85 percent share throughout the forecast. Volumes are expected to grow at a five-year CAGR of 2.4 percent, with shipments approaching 1.41 billion in 2022. Among the more interesting trends happening with Android shipments is that average selling prices (ASPs) are growing at a double-digit pace," IDC says.

What will the next 10 years bring? That's hard to predict, given that we couldn't have foreseen the current landscape a decade ago. However, we suspect Android will still be around, and still in a dominant position.