17 Apr 2017
In 2004, Andy Rubin made an urgent call to his friend, Steve Perlman.
Rubin’s startup, Android, was in trouble, he explained. Rubin didn’t like asking for money again, but the situation was dire.
Android, which was creating mobile software for phones, was out of cash, and other investors weren’t biting.
Perlman agreed to wire some funds as soon as possible.
“Maybe a little sooner would be better,” Rubin said nervously. Rubin had already missed payments on Android’s office space, and the landlord was threatening to evict him.
Perlman went to the bank and withdrew $10,000 in $100 bills and handed them to Rubin. The next day, he wired over an undisclosed amount of money to provide the seed funding for Android.
“I did it because I believed in the thing, and I wanted to help Andy,” Perlman told Business Insider.
With the new cash, Rubin got Android back on track. He secured more funding and moved the team into a larger office in Palo Alto, California, a technology hub on the West Coast.
Today, Android powers about 85% of all smartphones globally, while the iPhone accounts for only 11%. It’s making a push into wristwatches, cars, and TVs. It’s not hard to envision a time when Android will be in every single device from stove and thermostats to toothbrushes.
To grab 85% of the smartphone market, Rubin had to beat the two most valuable, and profitable, technology companies of their era: Microsoft and Apple. He had to fight entrenched wireless carriers. He had to get phone makers to buy into its radical vision.
Rubin didn’t do it alone. He got help from investors such as Perlman and big support from Google.
Based on interviews that Business Insider conducted with several sources who were there at the beginning, the following is the story of how Android came to be.
An impossible idea
Over the course of his 29-year career in Silicon Valley, Andy Rubin has become known as a technical genius, a skillful businessman, and a dynamic leader.
Above all, Rubin is an entrepreneur who loves to create things, whether it’s writing code or building robots.
His knack for engineering was evident in Building 44, where Android lives on Google’s campus. There, Rubin spent his spare time programming a gigantic robotic arm to make him coffee each time he sent it a text message. The machine was on the second floor of Building 44, and it was large enough to lift cars, a former Googler says.
Another one of Rubin's projects involved flying a massive remote-controlled helicopter on Google’s lawn.
"It's this huge $5,000 helicopter — he's trying to pilot it and it takes off and flips over upside down," said Sumit Agarwal, a former head of mobile product management at Google. "And it doesn't explode, but you've got this helicopter that's literally ripped itself apart out on the lawn in front of Building 44."
Long before Rubin had the luxury of tinkering with enormous robots at Google, he had to prove he could execute his crazy ideas. One of his wildest was building an open operating system for phones in the early 2000s.
In the early 2000s, carriers controlled everything from the way a phone was marketed to how much it would cost. Carriers called the shots back then, and they were determined to keep it that way. They didn’t want any company — large or small — infringing on their profits, which is why most of the tech industry thought an idea like Rubin’s was impossible, say sources who worked at Google in Android’s early days. mini militia
While the carrier system was closed and siloed, Android is open source. The term “open source” means anyone can take the original source code that makes up Android and use it on their gadgets free. Anyone can build on that code or modify it. Fake Gps go
Rubin initially tried to design Android for cameras but couldn’t get traction from investors. So he teamed up with Chris White, who previously designed the interface for WebTV, and Nick Sears, a former T-Mobile marketing executive Rubin had worked with when launching the Danger Hiptop, or T-Mobile Sidekick as it was widely known. Rubin explained his idea to create an open-source operating system for phones. Rich Miner, another Android cofounder who leads the East Coast investment team at Google Ventures, joined the group in February 2004.
--- The first T-Mobile SidekickT-Mobile ------
When the Android team pitched their idea to venture capitalists, their original business plan was to give away the software free to phone manufacturers. The carriers would then order phones from the manufacturers running Android’s open software, and they could brand or modify it as they saw fit. Android would then sell “value-added services” to the carriers to go on top of that software, a source said.
It was a business model designed to attract carriers. The problem, however, was that it was difficult to make any mobile product successful because the carriers didn’t want to give up control of the industry. For example, Rubin’s first phone, the T-Mobile Sidekick, came to fruition only because T-Mobile agreed to sell it and re-brand it. Most teens who owned the Sidekick probably didn’t even know what Rubin’s company, Danger, was. They just knew they could only get the phone through T-Mobile. It was T-Mobile’s product more than Danger’s to any customer looking to buy the phone.
Sure, Rubin’s plan would allow carriers to openly advertise their products and services, but it would also require that they share some of their handle on the mobile market with Android. And they weren’t willing to agree to an idea like that very easily. Mod Apk
--------- The impenetrable environment could rattle any CEO — but not Rubin. ------
“Even when things get really bad, you never really give up,” one source said of Rubin’s reaction to the difficult carriers. “It’s just the way these people who build these kinds of things are built to work.”
Most people thought Rubin was crazy for trying. Perlman, who met Rubin when they both worked for Apple in the early 1990s, remembers running into a venture capitalist at a Whole Foods in 2003 and asking what he thought about Rubin’s open-source project.
“He said, ‘Steve, come on. He’d have to sell at least a million of those things for it to break even,’” Perlman recalled. “‘He’s trying to boil the ocean.’”
In 2014, analysts estimate that more than 1 billion Android phones were shipped.
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