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The 20 greatest milestones of Android's first five years

Armando Rodriguez | Oct. 22, 2013
We're celebrating the birthday of everyone's favorite little green robot by taking a look back at its first half-decade.

android birthday

Happy birthday, Android! Although you were technically announced six years ago, it wasn't until October 22, 2008 that you made your debut. Apple tried stealing your thunder this year by hosting an event or something on your special day, so we decided to hold the celebration a day early in order to keep you in the limelight. You've had an interesting five years, and it's only right that we take the time to celebrate one of the most revolutionary things to happen to mobile. Android, this is your life.

First Android phone released (October 22, 2008)

The T-Mobile G1 (known overseas as the HTC Dream) is the first smartphone to ship with Android. Even though the phone was incredibly clunky, it was pretty well received overall and sold over a million units.

Google announces Cupcake (April 30, 2009)
The first major update to the OS, Android 1.5 Cupcake starts the trend of naming Android updates after desserts and adds support for widgets, video uploads to YouTube, and a virtual on-screen keyboard.

Android Donut unveiled (September 15, 2009)
Android 1.6 Donut rolls out to the small handful of Android phones and brings with it support for more screen resolutions. The update also improves the camera and adds a speech-synthesis engine that lets Android "speak" simple lines of text.

Verizon backs Android (October 26, 2009)

The Motorola Droid is announced for Verizon, making it the first Android phone for the carrier. The phone ships running Android 2.0 Eclair, which includes a better version of Google Maps. Verizon aggressively markets the phone, painting it as the antithesis of Apple's iPhone.

The Nexus One is released (January 5, 2010)
Google decides to leave the carriers behind by releasing its own unlocked phone. The Nexus One is sold directly from Google with the promise of software updates directly from the search giant, free from any carrier or OEM interference.

Google announces Android Froyo (May 20, 2010)
Android 2.2 Froyo brings Adobe Flash to Android, allowing people to enjoy Flash videos and games on their smartphones.

Android Gingerbread debuts (December 6, 2010)
Android 2.3 Gingerbread adds native support for NFC (near field communications) and a number of other sensors including gyroscopes and barometers. Gingerbread would go on to be the most used mobile operating system in the world.

First real Android tablet announced (February 24, 2011)
The Motorola Xoom becomes the first true Android tablet and is announced alongside Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Honeycomb adds support for multicore processors and is so far the only version of Android not to go open-source.


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