Android as an ecosystem is expanding rapidly in all directions. Every day manufactur-
ers introduce new devices and form factors, consumers purchase and activate over
one million devices, and users download and try new apps. It’s the job of developers
(yourself included, hopefully) to fill this ecosystem with beautiful, engaging, and
deeply fulfilling applications through which users can better interpret and interact
with their world.
As a platform, Android was birthed in late 2003 by former employees of Danger
(the company behind the popular Sidekick phones). In 2005 the company driving
Android was acquired by Google, and three years later the HTC Dream (G1) was
released as the first consumer device running Android. Over the next three years the
hardware and platform were heavily iterated, but Android remained solely a phone
In 2011 Google introduced two new form factors for the Android: tablets and TV.
This represented the first official deviation from phones as the device of choice and
sparked manufacturer interest in other devices. Android now runs on laptops, wrist-
watches, video game consoles, and car stereos. It can only be expected that in the
future the number of devices supporting Android will continue to grow.
As application developers, it’s extremely important that you understand the diver-
sity of the platform and the direction in which it’s heading. Creating content on
Android is no longer as simple as designing for a phone-sized screen held in portrait
orientation. While this does mean more work for the developer creating apps, the end
result is a vastly more pleasant experience for the user, regardless of which device your
content is consumed on.