By the way, why is Android called Android?

Android is a reference to androids, these robots having a human form. But why did Google’s mobile operating system get its name?

You may know this if you follow tech news: for several years, Google had fun baptizing each new version of Android with a dessert name. We were thus entitled to Android Donut, Android Oreo, Android Éclair, Android Cupcake, Android KitKat, Android Marshmallow or Android Nougat. These nicknames existed from 2009 to 2018.

In 2019, the mood changed: Google decided to officially abandon the names of cakes, confectionery and other sweets to follow a more austere designation: Android 10, Android 11, Android 12. Behind the scenes, however, the team did not never really neglected these mentions. Codenames always refer to these delicacies, such as Android Tiramisu.

Android arrived recently. But already, Android 13 appears on the horizon. // Source: Photo Numerama

The reasons why Google chose to draw inspiration from the world of pastry have never been very clear: one theory is that it had to be conveyed indirectly that life with Android was so sweet that it was quite normal that each version is named after a dessert. But in 2013, a spokesperson did not confirm anything on the matter.

It’s kind of like an internal team thing, and we prefer to be a little — how to say — a little inscrutable about it. said Randall Sarafa, a Google spokesperson, as quoted by CNN. “ The obvious thing is that, yes, the Android platform versions, they go by dessert names and alphabetically for the most part. »

Android, a name that refers to a passion for robots

What we know with more certainty, however, is the origin of the name of the mobile operating system itself: Android. It is, paradoxically, a little Apple that influenced the choice that will later be made in the eyes of Andy Rubin, the founder of Android Inc. in 2003, a company that will be bought two years later by… Google.

Before working for Android Inc. then Google, Andy Rubin worked for a few years at Apple, as an engineer, between 1989 and 1992. However, told The Verge in 2013, the person concerned was so fascinated by robots that his colleagues ended up giving him the nickname “Android” – which was probably intended at the time to play with his first name, Andy / Android.

Android, with its small antennas.  // Source: Louise Audry for Numerama
Android, with its small antennas. // Source: Louise Audry for Numerama

The name Android is actually linked to robots, since androids designate those who have a human form: two arms, two legs, a head and a torso – with additional details sometimes. This reference to androids, an old term, is also found in the logo of the platform: a green man, embellished with two small antennas.

This obviously marked Andy Rubin, since he made it not only the name of his company, but also the name of the operating system – as well as the name of his website, android.com, which he controlled until in 2008, before selling it to Google. A transfer that owes nothing to chance: at the same time, the first version of Android as an OS was released: Android 1.0.

Today, Andy Rubin no longer works for Google: he left the company in 2014, amid accusations of sexual harassment. It was at the request of Larry Page, one of the two founders of Google, that the person concerned was pushed out, when the behavior for which he was accused went back to the ears of management.

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