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This week in tech history: Android is 11 years old



In your opinion, what is Google's most important product after the search (and the associated massive advertising business)? There are several potential candidates like Chrome and Maps, but my money is flowing through Android. The tenth major release of Google's Mobile Operating Service has arrived just a few weeks ago, as is the case every autumn. And tomorrow, on September 23, marks the announcement of the HTC Dream, the first mobile phone with Android, for the eleventh time the official release of Android.

As almost everyone who reads this website knows, Android's vision for the modern smartphone was just over a year after Apple stormed the industry with the iPhone. In more than a decade, both operating systems have radically changed ̵

1; but in typical Google style, Android felt more like a beta test at launch than anything that was really ready for the consumer. "While this phone is much to praise," we wrote in our review in October 2008, "much more is missing – and some of these missing elements are, in our view, the core components of a device in the class of the G1."

But also Android has done very well from the beginning. Signing in with your Google Account from the beginning will sync all the important information you need with your phone. Apple needed years to develop a system that works seamlessly – iOS 5 finally led in the fall of 2011 to a computer-free registration and setup. If you used Google Calendar, Google Contacts, and Gmail, this was the case If everything was right there, no hassles needed. Of course, that was not necessarily a good thing when it came to contacts, because Gmail's contact system was an absolute mess that took years to resolve. Such was life in those early days of the smartphone revolution.

Another place where Android shone from day one was notifications. We may take the pull-down notification shadow for granted now, but Android had it from day one. It was a far better solution than what you would find on Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, or the iPhone, and Apple has decided to essentially completely copy it in 2011. Microsoft has also adopted its own setting for the Android notification shadow in Windows Phone, but that was it. Until then it was too late for this platform.

It would be another year before Android became more than just interesting to Google enthusiasts. In 2009, Android 2.0 and Motorola DROID were simultaneously released on Verizon, the largest wireless service provider in the US. (Disclosure: Verizon became the mother company of Engadget in 2015.) Hardware was a major advance over the G1, while software updates such as support for multiple e-mail accounts, an improved browser, a redesigned contact system, and numerous user interface improvements made Android easier and more comfortable to use.


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