Google Android Was Really Meant for Smart Cameras from the Beginning


It’s funny when the original intention and the final product don’t really line up. Chemist William Perkin was trying to find a cure for malaria when he ended up creating the world’s first synthetic dye. And Team Android was trying to create a platform for a smart camera when it ended up releasing what is now the world’s most popular smartphone OS.

In an economic forum in Tokyo, Android-co-founder Andy Rubin said, “The exact same platform, the exact same operating system we built for cameras, that became Android for cellphones.” So, I guess products like the Nikon Coolpix S800c and Samsung Galaxy Camera aren’t that far-fetched after all.

The original intention for Android was to provide a platform for a smart camera that would sync easily with computers. Rubin described a 2004 marketing pitch for Android where he spoke of a camera that hooked up to a computer connected to an “Android Datacenter.” However, they decided that the digital camera market “wasn’t actually a big enough market,” but the smartphone market was growing. In either case, Android was designed to be a mass market platform from the get-go.

“We wanted as many cellphones to use Android as possible,” said Rubin. “So instead of charging $99, or $59, or $69 [like how other companies license their software], to Android, we gave it away for free, because we knew the industry was price sensitive.”

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