The fascinating story behind Android's iconic mascot

The fascinating story behind Android's iconic mascot
Google's Dan Morrill reveals the fascinating, and slightly so terrifying, origin story behind the Android's iconic mascot.

Yellow droid
The little green Android mascot appears to be everywhere these days. It shows up on your mobile's screen, stands proudly next to the latest gadgets in advertisements, and prominently represents Google HQ's front lawn. Bugdroid, or Andy, if you like, has even briefly explored the vastness of space. There was a time, however, when even the most recognisable icon in the world of technology looked different.

Red and Green droid

A whole lot different, that is, according to Google's Dan Morrill, who posted these initial mascot designs on his Google+ blog. Morrill, who worked in developer relations at the time, explains how he had to quickly create the designs for an internal presentation:

''See, we were prepping for an internal developer launch (meaning, we were going to ask Googlers to start fooling with the APIs and give us early feedback), and I had no eye candy for the slides we were putting together. Hence these guys.''

Yellow and Blue droid

The colourful bunch of droids enjoyed some popularity around the office, as they even managed to pick up the nickname "DanDroids''. Obviously, the designs were never used officially, and the general public got to see a drastically different version of Andy.

While clearly Dan had only the best intentions in mind, the designs were evidently not up to snuff to represent a forward thinking OS that ultimately came to power hundreds of millions of electronic devices around the world, including phones, tablets, wristwatches, DVD players and even videogame consoles. Of course, back in 2007, even Google couldn't possibly have imagined how big Android is eventually going to become.

Luckily enough, a professional designer, Irina Blok, was given the reins to create the little green robot that we've come to know and love.

Android mascot

''Initially the logo was meant for developer community, but it quickly became consumer facing with millions of people creating their own versions of the logo every day'', writes Irina on her personal blog.

The official mascot of Android would go through various transformations to reflect every major update to the OS. The amusing part is that the updates are named in alphabetical order after various sugary treats and deserts. For instance, version 1.5 was dubbed ''Cupcake'', followed by version 1.6 ''Donut'', while Android 4.2, the latest available version running on popular smartphones like Samsung Galaxy S III, is nicknamed ''Jelly Bean''.

Dan Morrill closes the story with yet another fascinating tidbit of information about Google’s mobile OS. The second internal developer launch of Android was called "R2-D2", which, fair and square, stood for "Release to Developers 2". Still sounds familiar? Sure enough, to avoid any trademarking issues, Google quickly abandoned robots as the naming scheme in favour of desserts.

Grand things, so it seems, not always have as grand origin stories to tell, but it nevertheless makes for an interesting look behind one of the world's most popular smartphone OS’s.

Now, aren't you glad Google didn't go with the goofy looking droids as their official mascot?


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