Consumers often refer to phones that use Google's Android operating system as "Droid" phones. Smartphones that use the Android operating system are from many different companies, supported by multiple service providers. Companies such as Motorola and HTC have been licensed to use the word "Droid" in the names of their smartphones to capitalize off the association with Android.
With the growing smartphone market dominated by the iPhone and BlackBerry, Google introduced the Android operating system in 2007 as an alternative option. Unlike the Apple iPhone and the RIM (Research In Motion) BlackBerry, many different manufacturers produce phones that run on Android. The operating system is completely open-source, allowing and encouraging developers to create their own Android-compatible devices. The Android operating system offers users common smartphone features, including Internet browsing and functionality for Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth. All Android phones feature exclusive access to thousands of applications on the Android Market.
Motorola released the Droid in 2009, as the first smartphone running the Android operating system to incorporate "Droid" in its name. Due to the Droid's release and the advertising campaign that followed, many people may hear the terms "Droid" or "Android" and immediately associate it with the Motorola Droid. Since the Droid's release, Motorola has since manufactured additional phones using the name (Droid X and Droid 2). Other manufacturers for example, like HTC with the Droid Incredible, have also capitalized off of the name recognition.
Service and Manufacturing
Google has no exclusive distribution deals with any service provider for the Android operating system. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile all support phones that run on Android. Cell phone manufacturers that produce Android phones include Motorola, HTC, LG and Samsung. With Android, manufacturers have the ability to customize the operating system to offer consumers a unique experience, allowing each brand to set itself apart from the others. While often still running the exact same version of Android, manufacturers are in constant competition to add brand-specific features that help their device to stand out.
Google continues to be in the process of upgrading the Android operating system, with the continued release of new versions since the software's inception. As long as Google and its manufacturer are still supporting an Android smartphone, the phone will receive free over-the-air updates that allow it to run the latest version of Android. More phones that use the name "Droid" are scheduled for release in 2011, including the Droid X2, Droid Bionic and others.
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