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Android was originally designed for cameras

Samsung Galaxy

By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 16 Apr 2013 at 12:16

Android is installed on 70% of the world's smartphones, but wasn't originally planned for handsets at all.

According to founder Andy Rubin, who recently stepped down to work on other projects at Google, Android was originally designed as a platform for connecting digital cameras to PCs, before the company's founders saw the potential for a smartphone operating system.

Rubin showed off slides from the original Android technology for cameras from 2004 - a year before the company was snapped up by Google - while speaking to an economic summit in Tokyo, according to PC World.

I was worried about Microsoft and I was worried about Symbian, I wasn't worried about iPhone yet

"The exact same platform, the exact same operating system we built for cameras, that became Android for cell phones," Rubin said.

Only as the digital camera market matured and came under pressure from camera phones was Android rebranded as a handset platform.

"We decided digital cameras wasn't actually a big enough market," said Rubin. "I was worried about Microsoft and I was worried about Symbian, I wasn't worried about iPhone yet."

That was before the iPhone even launched, but the vision for a free OS came from falling prices for handset components, which meant operating system licenses were making up an increasing amount of the total cost for manufacturers.

"We wanted as many cellphones to use Android as possible. So instead of charging $99, or $59, or $69, to Android, we gave it away for free, because we knew the industry was price sensitive," Rubin said.

Now, Android is so popular it's also being used to run cameras, such as the Polaroid iM1836 and Samsung Galaxy Camera.

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