Android is an operating system based on the Linux kernel and designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers.
Initially developed by Android, Inc., which Google backed financially and later bought in 2005, Android was unveiled in 2007 along with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance: a consortium of hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices.The first publicly available smartphone running Android, the HTC Dream, was released on October 22, 2008.
The user interface of Android is based on direct manipulation, using touch inputs that loosely correspond to real-world actions, like swiping, tapping, pinching and reverse pinching to manipulate on-screen objects. Internal hardware such as accelerometers, gyroscopes and proximity sensors are used by some applications to respond to additional user actions, for example adjusting the screen from portrait to landscape depending on how the device is oriented. Android allows users to customize their home screens with shortcuts to applications and widgets, which allow users to display live content, such as emails and weather information, directly on the home screen.
Applications can further send notifications to the user to inform them of relevant information, such as new emails and text messages. Android’s source code is released by Google under the Apache License this permissive licensing allows the software to be freely modified and distributed by device manufacturers, wireless carriers, and enthusiast developers.
Most Android devices ship with a combination of open source and proprietary software.As of July 2013, Android has the largest number of applications available for download in Google Play store which has had over 1 million apps published, and over 50 billion downloads.
A developer survey conducted in April–May 2013 found that Android is the most used platform among developers: it is used by 71% of the mobile developer’s population.
Android is popular with technology companies who require a ready-made, low-cost and customizable operating system for high tech devices. Despite being primarily designed for phones and tablets, it also has been used in televisions, games consoles, digital cameras and other electronics.
Android’s open nature has encouraged a large community of developers and enthusiasts to use the open-source code as a foundation for community-driven projects, which add new features for advanced users or bring Android to devices which were officially released running other operating systems.
As of May 2012, Android became the most popular mobile OS, having the largest installed base, and is a market leader in most countries including the United States; there it has had the highest installed base of mobile phones for years.In the third quarter of 2013, Android’s share of the global smartphone shipment market—led by Samsung products—was 81.3%, the highest ever. In most markets Android-powered phones are the most popular comprising more than half of the overall smartphone sales, including the United States market starting with the September–November 2013 period. The operating system’s success has made it a target for patent litigation as part of the so-called “smartphone wars” between technology companies. As of September 2013, one billion Android devices have been activated
In most markets, Android-powered phones are the most popular comprising more than half of the overall smartphone sales, including the United States market starting with the September–November 2013 period. The operating system’s success has made it a target for patent litigation as part of the so-called “smartphone wars” between technology companies. As of September 2013, one billion Android devices have been activated
Android, Inc. was founded in Palo Alto, California in October 2003 by Andy Rubin , Rich Miner, Nick Sears and Chris White to develop, in Rubin’s words “smarter mobile devices that are more aware of its owner’s location and preferences”. The early intentions of the company were to develop an advanced operating system for digital cameras, when it was realised that the market for the devices was not large enough, and diverted their efforts to producing a smartphone operating system to rival those of Symbian and Windows Mobile. Despite the past accomplishments of the founders and early employees, Android Inc. operated secretly, revealing only that it was working on software for mobile phones.That same year, Rubin ran out of money. Steve Perlman, a close friend of Rubin, brought him $10,000 in cash in an envelope and refused a stake in the company.
Despite the past accomplishments of the founders and early employees, Android Inc. operated secretly, revealing only that it was working on software for mobile phones.That same year, Rubin ran out of money. Steve Perlman, a close friend of Rubin, brought him $10,000 in cash in an envelope and refused a stake in the company.
Google acquired Android Inc. on August 17, 2005; Key employees of Android Inc., including Rubin, Miner and White, stayed at the company after the acquisition. Not much was known about Android Inc. at the time, but many assumed that Google was planning to enter the mobile phone market with this move. At Google, the team led by Rubin developed a mobile device platform powered by the Linux kernel. Google marketed the platform to handset makers and carriers on the promise of providing a flexible, upgradable system. Google had lined up a series of hardware component and software partners and signaled to carriers that it was open to various degrees of cooperation on their part.
Speculation about Google’s intention to enter the mobile communications market continued to build through December 2006. The unveiling of the iPhone, a touchscreen-based phone by Apple, on January 9, 2007, had a disruptive effect on the development of Android. At the time, a prototype device codenamed “Sooner” had a closer resemblance to a BlackBerry phone, with no touchscreen, and a physical, QWERTY keyboard. Work immediately began on re-engineering the OS and its prototypes to combine traits of their own designs with an overall experience designed to compete with the iPhone. In September 2007, InformationWeek covered an Evalueserve study reporting that Google had filed several patent applications in the area of mobile telephony.
On November 5, 2007, the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of technology companies including Google, device manufacturers such as HTC, Sony and Samsung, wireless carriers such as Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile, and chipset makers such as Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, unveiled itself, with a goal to develop open standards for mobile devices. That day, Android was unveiled as its first product, a mobile device platform built on the Linux kernel version 2.6. The first commercially available smartphone running Android was the HTC Dream, released on October 22, 2008.
The main hardware platform for Android is the 32-bit ARMv7 architecture. There is support for x86 from the Android-x86 project and Google TV uses a special x86 version of Android. In 2013, Freescale announced Android on its i.MX processor, i.MX5X and i.MX6X series. In 2012 Intel processors began to appear on more mainstream Android platforms, such as phones.
As of November 2013, current versions of Android require at least 512 MB of RAM, and a 32-bit ARMv7, MIPS or x86 architecture processor together with an OpenGL ES 2.0 compatible graphics processing unit (GPU). Android supports OpenGL ES 1.1, 2.0 and 3.0. Some applications explicitly require a certain version of the OpenGL ES, thus suitable GPU hardware is required to run such applications.
Android devices incorporate many optional hardware components, including still or video cameras, GPS, hardware orientation sensors, dedicated gaming controls, accelerometers, gyroscopes, barometers, magnetometers, proximity sensors, pressure sensors, thermometers and touchscreens. Some hardware components are not required, but became standard in certain classes of devices, such as smartphones, and additional requirements apply if they are present.
Some other hardware was initially required, but those requirements have been relaxed or eliminated altogether. For example, as Android was developed initially as a phone OS, hardware such as microphones was required, while over time the phone function became optional. Android used to require an autofocus camera, which was relaxed to a fixed-focus camera if it is even present at all since the camera was dropped as a requirement entirely when Android started to be used on set-top boxes.