Slideshow

The secret history of Android

From Hollywood to smartphones, the Android domain name and surrounding company as a web of mysteries

  • The following February, a more robust site came online, showing off popular applications and offering a more in-depth look at the platform's features and capabilities.

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  • Finally, in April of 2004, Andy Rubin -- head honcho of the Android we know and love today -- showed up on the site. Rubin started using the Android.com domain as a personal Web page of sorts, featuring links to various projects, photos, and other items of interest.

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  • In December '05, four months after Android's acquisition by Google, Rubin's Android.com domain shifted back to his personal page design. This time, however, the link for "work" led to a page filled with business cards showcasing Rubin's work history (and a few jokes as well -- look closely at the Apple cards). At the top of the page sat a large enigmatic question mark; clicking it would take you to bajobs.com, a job search site.

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  • Next up: April of 2005. Four months before Google would acquire Android -- Rubin's then-small startup -- Android.com changed briefly to a series of simple Google Maps. One showed Seattle, one showed Boston, and one showed Palo Alto.

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  • The Android.com domain has existed since mid-'97 and the first archived records of Android.com are from March of 2000. At that point, the domain was in the possession of a reseller called GreatDomains.com. The company wanted to sell the name for upwards of $75,000 (yikes!).

  • Just three short months later, in December of 2002, Android.com transformed again. This time, the site featured a sparse design with a man's silhouette and the phrase "a digital construction company."

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  • By the following July, the owner had expanded the site to include links to what appear to be Web design samples (though it's hard to say for sure). The new Android.com site offered an apology for its ongoing construction -- construction that, at least in this incarnation, was never completed.

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  • That May, Rubin ditched the personal page for a cryptic image of a metallic man with the top of his head exposed. The only text on the page said "Android.com" and provided an email address for contact.

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  • An updated version of the page appeared in June; this time, if you clicked the head, you'd get a curious cartoon about unproductive ants.

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  • By September of '02, a film and television development company called Android Creative had set up a site at Android.com. According to its page, the company -- which also refers to itself simply as "ANDROID," stylized in all caps -- worked to "create small and medium budget content that possesse[d] big budget appeal."

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  • In April of 2008, Android.com started redirecting users to the site of the Open Handset Alliance. That October -- the month the first Android phone launched -- a new standalone site emerged. It showed the Android logo and lettering we all know today, along with introductions to the new operating system and what it could do.

    [[Artnid:383999|The full history of Android|new]] "Android will enable a richer, more powerful user experience on mobile phones," the site promised.

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