Android is a Linux based operating system for mobile devices such assmartphones and tablet computers. It is developed by the OpenHandset Alliance led by Google.Google purchased the initial developer of the software, Android Inc., in2005. The unveiling of the Android distribution in 2007 was announcedwith the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 84hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted toadvancing open standards for mobile devices.Google releases theAndroid code as open-source, under the Apache License. The AndroidOpen Source Project (AOSP) is tasked with the maintenance and furtherdevelopment of Android.
Android has a large community of developers writing applications(“apps”) that extend the functionality of the devices. Developers writeprimarily in a customized version of Java. As of October 2011 there weremore than 400,000 apps available for Android, and the estimatednumber of applications downloaded from the Android Market as ofDecember 2011 exceeded 10 billion. Apps can be downloaded fromthird-party sites or through online stores such as Android Market, the appstore run by Google.Android was listed as the best-selling smartphone platform worldwide inQ4 2010 by Canalys with over 200 million Android devices in use byNovember 2011.According to Google’s Andy Rubin, as of December2011 there are over 700,000 Android devices activated every day.
Android Market is the online software store developed by Google for Android devices.An application program (“app”) called “Market” is preinstalled on most Androiddevices and allows users to browse and download apps published by third-partydevelopers, hosted on Android Market. As of October 2011 there were more than300,000 apps available for Android, and the estimated number of applicationsdownloaded from the Android Market as of December 2011 exceeded 10 billion.Theoperating system itself is installed on 130 million total devices.Google has participated in the Android Market by offering several applicationsthemselves, including Google Voice (for the Google Voice service), Sky Map (forwatching stars), Finance (for their finance service), Maps Editor (for their MyMapsservice), Places Directory (for their Local Search), Google Goggles that searches byimage, Gesture Search (for using finger-written letters and numbers to search thecontents of the phone), Google Translate, Google Shopper, Listen for podcasts and MyTracks, a jogging application. In August 2010, Google launched “Voice Actions forAndroid”, which allows users to search, write messages, and initiate calls by voice
The T-Mobile G1, built by HTC, was the firstAndroid phone. Its slowby modern Androidphone standards. In2008, when it arrived, theAndroid Market wasalmost devoid ofapplications, but now itsimproved. So far atleast, the G1 isntavailable to ordinaryfolks with the latestversion 2.1 of GooglesAndroid operatingsystem
The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is led by Google, and is tasked with the maintenance and development of Android.According to the project “The goal of the Android Open SourceProject is to create a successful real-world product that improvesthe mobile experience for end usersAndroid has seen a number of updates since its original release, each fixing bugs and adding new features. Each version is named, in alphabeticalorder, after a dessert.Recent releases 2.3 Gingerbread. 3.0 Honeycomb February 2011. 3.1 Honeycomb, released in May 2011, 3.2 Honeycomb, released in July 2011,. 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, announced on October 19, 2011, brought Honeycomb features to smartphones and added new features includingfacial recognition unlock, network data usage monitoring andcontrol, unified social networking contacts, photographyenhancements, offline email searching, app folders, and information sharingusing NFC. Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich is the latest Android versionthat is available to phones. The source code of Android 4.0.1 was releasedon November 14, 2011.