Android is an operating system that was founded in 2003. It is linux-based and is designed to work expertly with touchscreen mobile devices. It is often the go-to operating system for smartphones and tablet computers. It was bought by Google in 2005. Google released the Android code as open source which greatly increased it’s usage. It is coded under the Apache License. There are currently over 700,000 apps available for Android. In late 2008 the first Android based phone was sold and by 2010 Android was the world’s leading smartphone platform. Application of the Android operating system has been developed beyond mobile phones and tablets and is now featured in televisions, netbooks and cameras.
Android is designed primarily for smartphones and tablets. The open and customizable nature of the operating system allows it to be used on laptops, netbooks and Smart TVs. Google has also developed new home automation technology called “Android@Home”. This allows Android to control a wide range of household devices including light switches, thermostats and power sockets. Android also runs on the upcoming gaming console, Ouya. It will feature a more traditional videogame controller as well as touch screen.
Major Software Suites That Run On Android
Android consists of Linux kernel based software. It primarily uses the Linux kernel 2.6 and Linux Kernel 3.x. The application software runs on an application based framework. Android employs the Dalvik virtual machine with just-in-time compilation. This is necessary to run Dalvik dex-code. Android strongly uses ARM architecture. The support of simple C and SDL applications is possible by injection of a small Java shim and usage of the JNI. Android’s source code is available under open source software licenses.
Android applications run in a sandbox which is an isolated area of the system. The sandbox area does not have access to the rest of the system’s resources. Access permissions must be explicitly granted by the user when the application is first installed. The sandboxing and permissions system helps to reduce viruses and bugs in applications. Notable security firms including AVG Technologies and McAfee have released antivirus software specifically developed for Android devices. Google is developing a malware scanner for its Google Play store. This malware scanner is intended to flag suspicious apps and warn users of any potential issues with the app before they download it.
Android’s user interface utilizes direct manipulation. It uses touch feedback that corresponds to user-actions including swiping, tapping and pinching. The response is almost immediate and provides a fluid touch interface. Internal hardware such as accelerometers and proximity sensors respond to additional user actions. Android devices boot to the home screen which is similar to the desktop found on PCs. Android home screens are typically made up of applications and widgets that the user has chosen.
Android has a fast growing selection of third party applications, which can be downloaded at app stores including Google Play or the Amazon Appstore. The Play Store application allows users to browse, download and update apps published by Google and third-party developers. The Play Store is pre-installed on devices that comply with Google’s compatibility requirements. Developers may only allow applications to be used and downloaded by particular carriers and in certain countries. Unwanted applications can be refunded within fifteen minutes from the time of download.
Android has grown to become the most widely used smartphone operating systems word-wide. Android’s strengths include the open source nature of the operating system and the amount of customization the user has. By the third quarter of 2012, Android had 75% share of the global smartphone market according to IDC. Android is constantly improving its operating system by adding new features and fixing bugs that appeared on previous releases.