April 26, 2012

The Numbers Are In On Android's Brief History

As the Google/Oracle trial continues, The Verge has published a complete internal presentation from Google's Andy Rubin and his team that discussed projections--including specific financial targets--for the Android mobile OS. The presentation shows that in mid-2010 there were 20 million Android phones, but Google expected that number to double to 40 million by the end of that year. Google was projecting $278.1 million in Android revenues for 2010, with $158.9 million from ads, $3.8 million from app sales and $115.4 million from selling Android handsets.  The company wanted to be generating $840.2 million from advertising and nearly $36 million from app sales by 2012. The presentation shows just how far Google's mobile operating system has come.

Android lives in so many people's pockets, is spreading out to so many smartphones and other types of devices, and is so often discussed in the media that it can be easy to forget how young it is. Originally released at the very end of 2007 and gaining some mention as 2008 began, Android qualified as little more than an experiment from Google in 2008, although there was an early hardware commitment from HTC, which continues to make many Android handsets. As 2009 started to unfold, as late as March of that year, Android still had very little momentum. We wrote this story then, which pondered why Android was stalled after so much initial hype.

At Mobile World Congress in early 2009, Android was supposed to pick up its early momentum, but many observers were shocked when only one Android device was shown at the conference.

At the time, PCMag wondered whether Android had already completely failed. A look back at that article shows that there were good reasons to wonder if it had. "If Android is so cheap and so customizable, why isn't anyone releasing Android phones?" the article asked.

With all of this as background from 2009, it's especially interesting to see Rubin and team's presentation from mid-2010, when Android phones were starting to proliferate and Android was shaping up to be big business for Google. Of course, Android is also a big part of why Google wanted to spend $12.5 billion to buy Motorola Mobility and go deeply into the mobile hardware business. 

In this GigaOM post, you can find an informative infographic, packed with data, about how Android has become the force that it is--a true open source success story. If you look at it in conjunction with Rubin and team's presentation from 2010, the infographic tells an even deeper story.



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