We've pointed out before that Android has a lot of somewhat questionable birthdays, but November 5th is arguably the birth of the platform. On this day in 2007 the Open Handset Alliance was formally announced, uniting Google, HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony, Motorola, and dozens of software companies, chip manufactures, and mobile carriers, in the cause of promoting Android. It was presented as an open-source alternative to then-dominant mobile operating systems like Microsoft's Windows Mobile, RIM's BlackBerry, Nokia's Symbian, and - at least at the time - the looming specter of the iPhone.

The mobile market changes fast, and in "just" eight years it's been radically altered. Android has sprung up from a somewhat niche alternative running on only a few devices to become the single most-used operating system on the planet, running on more than a billion phones and powering such diverse hardware as tablets, smart watches, set-top boxes and smart TVs, in-car entertainment systems, and even a connected oven or two. Android dominates the mobile landscape, with only Apple's iOS offering any notable marketshare competition. In the time since its launch, Palm suffered an ignominious demise and was devoured by HP, BlackBerry has become a shell of its former self (and is finally making Android-powered phones), and Microsoft has offered only token opposition with the revitalized Windows Mobile.

Android is now on its sixth full version release and its thirteenth notable revision. While there are still plenty of improvements to make to the platform, not to mention manufacturers' and developers' approach to it, the progress that's been made in eight years is nothing short of remarkable.

Many happy returns.

Image credit: Flickr user Tama Leaver