Where Android's little green robot mascot came from

We’re not exactly sure where the little green robot that’s become the staple of Android’s branding originated. But apparently it just started to “show up” all over Android’s apps.

“So the robot [is] starting to show up,” one person who worked on the Android team in its early days told Business Insider. “Some engineer, somebody created it. I don’t even know who. And then they probably showed it to Andy [Rubin], and he said ‘that’s cool,’ and he took that robot and he open sourced it.”

It wasn’t long before the robot started to appear everywhere within Android.

“So somebody, some engineer started taking that robot and putting it in every application on the phone,” this person said. “And we were playing in the office with the phone one day and all of a sudden you start seeing robots coming out of the app on the screen.”

But this caused some confusion and concern within the Android unit at Google. This was back when the team was working on the first version of the Android software and the very first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1.

Google had already made agreements with T-Mobile about which parts of the phone and its software would be branded by T-Mobile and which parts would be branded by Google.

This little green robot, however, didn’t seem to be part of Google or T-Mobile’s branding at the time.

“And we’re like, what’s going on here?” this person said. “We’re looking at it and we go, holy smokes, what are we going to do? We have to figure out if this is going to be able to stay or not.”

But luckily, T-Mobile thought the robot was cool. They agreed to let Google put the green robot and Android branding on the phone or its packaging.

“That’s the organic way things happen on Andy’s team,” this person said.

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