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Android (operating system)Android is a Linux-based operating system for mobiledevices such as smartphones and tablet computers,developed by Google in conjunction with the OpenHandset Alliance.Android was initially developed byAndroid Inc, whom Google financially backed and laterpurchased in 2005
The unveiling of the Android distribution in 2007 wasannounced with the founding of the Open HandsetAlliance, a consortium of 86 hardware, software, andtelecommunication companies devoted to advancingopen standards for mobile devices. Google releases theAndroid code as open-source, under the ApacheLicense.The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) istasked with the maintenance and further developmentof Android.
Android has a large community of developers writingapplications ("apps") that extend the functionality ofthe devices. Developers write primarily in a customizedversion of Java, and apps can be downloaded fromonline stores such as Google Play (formerly AndroidMarket), the app store run by Google, or third-partysites. In June 2012, there were more than 600,000 appsavailable for Android, and the estimated number ofapplications downloaded from Google Play was 20billion.
Android became the world’s leading smartphoneplatform at the end of 2010. For the first quarter of2012, Android had a 59% smartphone market shareworldwide.As of third quarter 2012, there were 400million devices activated and 1.3 million activationsper day.
FoundationAndroid, Inc. was founded in Palo Alto, California,United States in October 2003 by Andy Rubin (co-founder of Danger), Rich Miner (co-founder ofWildfire Communications, Inc.), Nick Sears (once VP atT-Mobile), and Chris White (headed design andinterface development at WebTV) to develop, inRubins words "...smarter mobile devices that aremore aware of its owners location and preferences".
Despite the obvious past accomplishments of thefounders and early employees, Android Inc. operatedsecretly, revealing only that it was working on softwarefor mobile phones. That same year, Rubin ran out ofmoney. Steve Perlman, a close friend of Rubin, broughthim $10,000 in cash in an envelope and refused a stakein the company.
Google acquisitionGoogle acquired Android Inc. on August 17, 2005,making Android Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary ofGoogle. Key employees of Android Inc., includingAndy Rubin, Rich Miner and Chris White, stayed at thecompany after the acquisition. Not much was knownabout Android Inc. at the time of the acquisition, butmany assumed that Google was planning to enter themobile phone market with this move.
At Google, the team led by Rubin developed a mobiledevice platform powered by the Linux kernel. Googlemarketed the platform to handset makers and carriers onthe promise of providing a flexible, upgradable system.Google had lined up a series of hardware component andsoftware partners and signaled to carriers that it wasopen to various degrees of cooperation on their part
Speculation about Googles intention to enter themobile communications market continued to buildthrough December 2006. Reports from the BBC andThe Wall Street Journal noted that Google wanted itssearch and applications on mobile phones and it wasworking hard to deliver that.
DesignArchitecture diagramAndroid consists of a kernel based onthe Linux kernel 2.6 and Linux Kernel 3.x (Android 4.0onwards), with middleware, libraries and APIs written in Cand application software running on an applicationframework which includes Java-compatible libraries based onApache Harmony. Android uses the Dalvik virtual machinewith just-in-time compilation to run Dalvik dex-code (DalvikExecutable), which is usually translated from Javabytecode.
FeaturesHandset layoutsThe platform is adaptable to larger, VGA, 2D graphicslibrary, 3D graphics library based on OpenGL ES 2.0specifications, and traditional smartphone layouts.StorageSQLite, a lightweight relational database, is used for datastorage purposes.ConnectivityAndroid supports connectivity technologies includingGSM/EDGE, IDEN, CDMA, EV-DO, UMTS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi,LTE, NFC and WiMAX.
MessagingSMS and MMS are available forms of messaging,including threaded text messaging and Android CloudTo Device Messaging (C2DM) and now enhancedversion of C2DM, Android Google Cloud Messaging(GCM) is also a part of Android Push Messagingservice.Multiple language supportAndroid supports multiple languages
Media supportAndroid supports the following audio/video/still media formats:WebM, H.263, H.264 (in 3GP or MP4 container), MPEG-4 SP,AMR, AMR-WB (in 3GP container), AAC, HE-AAC (in MP4 or 3GPcontainer), MP3, MIDI, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, WAV, JPEG, PNG, GIF,BMP, WebP.Streaming media supportRTP/RTSP streaming (3GPP PSS, ISMA), HTML progressivedownload (HTML5 <video> tag). Adobe Flash Streaming (RTMP)and HTTP Dynamic Streaming are supported by the Flash plugin.Apple HTTP Live Streaming is supported by RealPlayer forAndroid, and by the operating system in Android 3.0(Honeycomb).[
Additional hardware supportAndroid can use video/still cameras, touchscreens, GPS,accelerometers, gyroscopes, barometers, magnetometers,dedicated gaming controls, proximity and pressure sensors,thermometers, accelerated 2D bit blits (with hardwareorientation, scaling, pixel format conversion) and accelerated 3Dgraphics.Multi-touchAndroid has native support for multi-touch which was initiallymade available in handsets such as the HTC Hero. The featurewas originally disabled at the kernel level (possibly to avoidinfringing Apples patents on touch-screen technology at thetime). Google has since released an update for the Nexus Oneand the Motorola Droid which enables multi-touch natively.
BluetoothSupports A2DP, AVRCP, sending files (OPP), accessing the phone book(PBAP), voice dialing and sending contacts between phones. Keyboard,mouse and joystick (HID) support is available in Android 3.1+, and inearlier versions through manufacturer customizations and third-partyapplications.Video callingAndroid does not support native video calling, but some handsets havea customized version of the operating system that supports it, eithervia the UMTS network (like the Samsung Galaxy S) or over IP. Videocalling through Google Talk is available in Android 2.3.4 and later.Gingerbread allows Nexus S to place Internet calls with a SIP account.This allows for enhanced VoIP dialing to other SIP accounts and evenphone numbers. Skype 2.1 offers video calling in Android 2.3, includingfront camera support.
TetheringAndroid supports tethering, which allows a phone to be used asa wireless/wired Wi-Fi hotspot. Before Android 2.2 this wassupported by third-party applications or manufacturercustomizations.Screen captureAndroid supports capturing a screenshot by pressing the powerand volume-down buttons at the same time. Prior to Android4.0, the only methods of capturing a screenshot were throughmanufacturer and third-party customizations or otherwise byusing a PC connection (DDMS developers tool). Thesealternative methods are still available with the latest Android.