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Android is a software platform and operating system for mobile devices based on the Linux operating system developed by Google and later the Open Handset Alliance . It allows developers to write managed code in a Java -like language that utilizes Google-developed Java libraries, but does not support programs developed in native code .
The unveiling of the Android platform on 5 November 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 34 hardware , software , and telecom companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. Google has pledged to make most of the Android platform available under the Apache free-software and open-source license , once it is released in 2008 .
In July 2005, Google acquired Android, Inc. , a small startup company based in Palo Alto, CA .Android's co-founders who went to work at Google included Andy Rubin (co-founder of Danger ), Rich Miner (co-founder of Wildfire Communications, Inc.), Nick Sears (once VP at T-Mobile ), and Chris White (one of the first engineers at WebTV ). At the time, little was known about the functions of Android, Inc. other than they made software for mobile phones. This began rumors that Google was planning to enter the mobile phone market, although it was unclear what function it might perform in that market.
At Google, the team, led by Rubin, developed a Linux -based mobile device OS which they marketed to handset makers and carriers on the premise of providing a flexible, upgradeable system. It was reported that Google had already 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.
More speculation that Google would be entering the mobile-phone market came in December 2006.Reports from the BBC and The Wall Street Journal noted that Google wanted its search and applications on mobile phones and it was working hard to deliver that. Print and online media outlets soon reported rumors that Google was developing a Google-branded handset . More speculation followed reporting that as Google was defining technical specifications, it was showing prototypes to cell phone manufacturers and network operators. As many as 30 prototype phones are reported to be operating "in the wild." Phoronix had reported that Google wanted to team up on the GPhone with OpenMoko , a project to create a smartphone platform using free software , including the Linux kernel , but Network World reported that Google’s phone was actually a mobile operating system , rather than a specific hardware device like the iPhon
In September 2007, InformationWeek covered an Evalueserve study reporting that Google has filed several patent applications in the area of mobile telephony, hinting at the arrival of the gPhone in the (then) near future. Notable US patents and patent applications include:
U.S. Patent 6,785,566 : Cellular Telephone Case
U.S. Patent 6,982,945 : Baseband Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum Transceiver
U.S. Patent 6,829,289 : Application of a Pseudo-randomly Shuffled Hadamard Function in a Wireless CDMA System
US patent application 20070067329 : Overloaded Communication Session
US patent application 20070159522 : Image-based Contextual Advertisement Method and Branded Barcodes
US patent application 20060004627 : Advertisements for Devices with Call Functionality Such as Mobile Phones
US patent application 20050185060 : Image Base Inquiry System for Search Engines for Mobile Telephones with Integrated Cameras
US patent application 20070066364 : Customized Data Retrieval Applications for Mobile Devices Providing Interpretation of Markup Language Data
Google applied for a patent for a mobile payment system to complement its plans to launch what was thought to be a Google phone. Known as GPay, it covered a system that would let the user send a text message to Google giving the details of a payment to a specified recipient. GPay would then debit the user's bank account, crediting the money to the payee. (This patent may be invalid in light of prior art.  )
On 5 November 2007 , the Open Handset Alliance , a consortium of several companies which include Google , HTC , Intel , Motorola , Qualcomm , T-Mobile , Sprint Nextel and NVIDIA , was unveiled with the goal to develop open standards for mobile devices.Along with the formation of the Open Handset Alliance, the OHA also unveiled their first product, Android, a mobile device platform built on the Linux kernel.
Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt took a moment in the official press release to dispel all previous rumors and speculation about the existence of a stand-alone Google phone.
Today's announcement is more ambitious than any single 'Google Phone' that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks. Our vision is that the powerful platform we're unveiling will power thousands of different phone models." - Eric Schmidt , Google Chairman/CEO
Handset layouts The platform is adaptable to both larger, VGA , 2D graphics library, 3D graphics library based on OpenGL ES 1.0 specifications, traditional smartphone layouts. Storage The Database Software SQLite is used for data storage purposes Connectivity Android supports a wide variety of connectivity technologies including GSM / EDGE , CDMA , EV-DO , UMTS , Bluetooth , and Wi-Fi . Messaging SMS , MMS , and XMPP are available forms of messaging including threaded text messaging . The XMPP implementation is based on Jive Software's Smack Web browser Main article: WebKit
The web browser available in Android is based on the open-source WebKit application framework . Java virtual machine Software written in Java can be compiled into Dalvik bytecodes and executed in the Dalvik virtual machine , which is a specialized VM implementation designed for mobile device use, although not technically a standard Java Virtual Machine. Media support Android will support advanced audio/video/still media formats such as MPEG-4 , H.264 , MP3 , AAC , AMR , JPEG , PNG , GIF . Additional hardware support Android is fully capable of utilizing video/still cameras, touchscreens , GPS , compasses, accelerometers , and accelerated 3D graphics. Development environment Includes a device emulator, tools for debugging , memory and performance profiling , a plugin for the Eclipse IDE
Several manufacturers have expressed interest in implementing the Android platform.
Google has unveiled at least three prototypes for Android at the Mobile World Congress on 12 February 2008. One prototype at the ARM booth displayed several basic Google applications. A 'd-pad' controls zooming of items in the dock with a relatively quick response. [ citation needed ]
A prototype at the Google IO conference on May 28 , 2008 had a 528 MHz Qualcomm processor and a Synaptics capacitive touchscreen and used the UMTS cellular standard. It had a 128 MB of RAM and 256 MB of flash. The demo was carried out using a 3.6 Mbit/s HSDPA connection.
T-Mobile announced in August 2008 that they would deliver the first production smartphone - the HTC Dream - to use Google 's Android software. The product is intended to compete head-on with the Apple iPhone .The device received FCC approval in August 2008. The phone will be available as early as September 2008 .
The early feedback on developing applications for the Android platform was mixed. Issues cited include bugs, lack of documentation, inadequate QA infrastructure, and no public issue-tracking system. (Google announced an issue tracker on 18 January 2008.)MergeLab mobile startup founder Adam MacBeth stated, "Functionality is not there, is poorly documented or just doesn't work... It's clearly not ready for prime time."  Despite this, Android-targeted applications began to appear already the week after the platform was announced. The first publicly available application was the Snake game .
The Android SDK includes a comprehensive set of development tools.These include a debugger , libraries , a handset emulator , documentation , sample code, and tutorials ). Currently supported development platforms include x86 -based computers running Linux (any Linux Distribution ), Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later, Windows XP or Vista . Requirements also include Java Development Kit , Apache Ant , and Python 2.2 or later. The officially supported integrated development environment (IDE) is Eclipse (3.2 or later) using the Android Development Tools (ADT) Plugin, though developers may use any text editor to edit Java and XML files then use command line tools to create, build and debug Android applications.
A preview release of the Android software development kit (SDK) was released on 12 November 2007 .
On 15 July 2008 , the Android Developer Challenge Team accidentally sent an email to all entrants in the Android Developer Challenge announcing that a new release of the SDK was available in a "private" download area. The email was intended for winners of the first round of the Android Developer Challenge. The revelation that Google was supplying new SDK releases to some developers and not others (and keeping this arrangement private) has led to widely reported frustration within the Android developer community .
On 18 August 2008 the Android 0.9 SDK beta was released. This release provides an updated and extended API, improved development tools and an updated design for the home screen. Detailed instructions for upgrading are available to those already working with an earlier release.
According to the developer roadmap, a 1.0 pre-release is expected to be released sometime in September , with a final release before the end of 2008 .
The Android Developer Challenge was a competition for the most innovative application for Android. Google offered prizes totaling 10 million US dollars , distributed between two phases of the competition.The first phase accepted submissions from 2 January to 14 April 2008 . The 50 most promising entries, announced on 12 May 2008 , each received a $25,000 award to fund further development.The second phase ended in early September with the announcement of ten teams that received $275,000 each, and ten teams that received $100,000 each.
Android has been criticized for not being all open-source software despite what was announced by Google. Parts of the SDK are proprietary and closed source and some believe this is so that Google can control the platform.The Android Software Development Kit License Agreement states that:
3.2 You agree that Google (or Google's licensors) own all legal right, title and interest in and to the SDK, including any intellectual property rights which subsist in the SDK. Use, reproduction and distribution of components of the SDK licensed under an open source software license are governed solely by the terms of that open source software license and not by this License Agreement. Until the SDK is released under an open source license, you may not extract the source code or create a derivative work of the SDK.
However, Google has since announced that all parts of the OS will be released under the Apache License where applicable and under the GPL elsewhere. Google's applications that interact with Google's systems, such as their email service, are not open source.
Also, at least for now, software installed by users must be written in Java and will not have access to lower level device APIs.This provides end-users with less control over their phone's functionality than other free and open source phone platforms, such as OpenMoko .
Another issue is related to Android's disregard of established Java standards, i.e. Java SE and ME. This prevents compatibility among Java applications written for those platforms and those for the Android platform. Android only reuses the Java language syntax, but does not provide the full-class libraries and APIs bundled with Java SE or ME.