ROID (OPE TING SYSTEM)
Wikipedia, th free ency
Android 4.4 home screen
Company / devel
Open Handset Al
roid Open So
ore), C++,Jav (UI)
Open source with proprietary
September 23, 2008
Latest stable release
4.4.2 Kit Kat / December 9, 2013;
16 days ago
Available language(s) Multi-lingual (46 languages)
Google Play, APK
Supported platforms 32-bit ARM, MIPS,x86
Monolithic (modified Linux
libc, shellfrom NetBSD, native
core utilities with a few from
Apache License 2.0
Linux kernel patches under GNU
Android is an operating system based on the Linux kernel, and designed
primarily for touch screen mobile devices such as smart phones 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 Android phone (HTC Dream) was sold in October
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 is open source and Google releases the source code under the Apache
License. This open-source code and permissive licensing allows the software to
be freely modified and distributed by device manufacturers, wireless carriers
and enthusiast developers. However, most Android devices ship with additional
proprietary software. Additionally, Android has a large community of
developers writing applications ("apps") that extend the functionality of devices,
written primarily in the Java programming language. In October 2012, there
were approximately 700,000 apps available for Android, and the estimated
number of applications downloaded from Google Play, Android's primary app
store, was 25 billion. A developer survey conducted in April–May 2013 found
that Android is the most popular platform for developers, used by 71% of the
mobile developer population.
Android is the world's most widely used Smartphone platform,
overtaking Symbian in the fourth quarter of 2010. Android is popular with
technology companies who require a ready-made, low-cost, customizable and
lightweight 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 opensource 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 November 2013, Android's share of the global Smartphone market, led by
Samsung products, has reached 80%. The operating system's success has made
it a target for patent litigation as part of the so-called "Smartphone" between
technology companies. As of May 2013, 48 billion apps have been installed
from the Google Play store, and as of September 3, 2013, 1 billion Android
devices have been activated.
2.3 Memory management
4.1 Update schedule
4.2 Linux kernel
4.3 Software stack
4.4 Open-source community
5 Security and privacy
7.2 Market share
7.3 Platform usage
7.4 Application piracy
8 Legal issues
9 Usage on other devices
10 See also
13 External links
See also: Android version history
Android, Inc. was founded in Palo Alto, California in October 2003 by Andy
Rubin (co-founder of Danger), Rich Miner (co-founder of Wildfire
Communications, Inc.), Nick Sears (once VP at T-Mobile), and Chris White
(headed design and interface development at WebTV) 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.
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 touch screen-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 touch screen, and a physical, QWERTY keyboard. Work immediately
began on re-engineering the OS and its prototypes to better compete against
Apple. In September 2007, InformationWeek covered an Evalueserve study
reporting that Google had filed several patent applications in the area of mobile
Eric Schmidt, Andy Rubin and Hugo Barra at a press conference for the Google's Nexus 7
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 phone to run Android was the HTC
Dream, released on October 22, 2008.
In 2010, Google launched its Nexus series of devices — a line of smart phones
and tablets running the Android operating system, and built by a manufacturer
partner. HTC collaborated with Google to release the first Nexus
Smartphone, the Nexus One. The series has since been updated with newer
devices, such as the Nexus 4 phone and Nexus 10 tablet, made by LG and
Samsung respectively. Google releases the Nexus phones and tablets to act as
their flagship Android devices, demonstrating Android's latest software and
hardware features. On March 13, 2013, it was announced by Larry Page in a
blog post that Andy Rubin had moved from the Android division to take on new
projects at Google. He was replaced by Sundar Pichai, who also continues his
role as the head of Google's Chrome division, which develops Chrome OS.
Since 2008, Android has seen numerous updates which have incrementally
improved the operating system, adding new features and fixing bugs in previous
releases. Each major release is named in alphabetical order after a dessert or
sugary treat; for example, version 1.5 Cupcake was followed by 1.6 Donut. The
latest released version is 4.4.2 KitKat, which was released on 9 December 2013.
See also: List of features in Android
Android's user interface 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. The response to user input is
designed to be immediate and provides a fluid touch interface, often using the
vibration capabilities of the device to provide haptic feedback to the user.
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, or allowing the user to steer a vehicle in a racing game by rotating the
device, simulating control of a steering wheel.
Android devices boot to the home screen, the primary navigation and
information point on the device, which is similar to the desktop found on PCs.
Android home screens are typically made up of app icons and widgets; app
icons launch the associated app, whereas widgets display live, auto-updating
content such as the weather forecast, the user's email inbox, or a news
ticker directly on the home screen. A home screen may be made up of several
pages that the user can swipe back and forth between, though Android's home
screen interface is heavily customisable, allowing the user to adjust the look and
feel of the device to their tastes. Third-party apps available on Google Play and
other app stores can extensively re-theme the home screen, and even mimic the
look of other operating systems, such as Windows Phone. Most manufacturers,
and some wireless carriers, customise the look and feel of their Android devices
to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Present along the top of the screen is a status bar, showing information about
the device and its connectivity. This status bar can be "pulled" down to reveal a
notification screen where apps display important information or updates, such
as a newly received email or SMS text, in a way that does not immediately
interrupt or inconvenience the user. In early versions of Android these
notifications could be tapped to open the relevant app, but recent updates have
provided enhanced functionality, such as the ability to call a number back
directly from the missed call notification without having to open the dialer app
first. Notifications are persistent until read or dismissed by the user.
See also: Android software development and Google Play
Android has a growing selection of third party applications, which can be
acquired by users either through an app store such as Google Play or
the Amazon Appstore, or by downloading and installing the
application's APK file from a third-party site. The Play Store application allows
users to browse, download and update apps published by Google and third-party
developers, and is pre-installed on devices that comply with Google's
compatibility requirements. The app filters the list of available applications to
those that are compatible with the user's device, and developers may restrict
their applications to particular carriers or countries for business
reasons. Purchases of unwanted applications can be refunded within 15 minutes
of the time of download, and some carriers offer direct carrier billing for Google
Play application purchases, where the cost of the application is added to the
user's monthly bill. As of September 2012, there were more than 675,000 apps
available for Android, and the estimated number of applications downloaded
from the Play Store was 25 billion.
Applications are developed in the Java language using the Android software
development kit (SDK). The SDK includes a comprehensive set of development
tools, including a debugger, software libraries, a handset emulator based
on QEMU, documentation, sample code, and tutorials. The officially
supported integrated development environment (IDE) is Eclipse using the
Android Development Tools (ADT) plug-in. Other development tools are
available, including a Native Development Kit for applications or extensions in
C or C++, Google App Inventor, a visual environment for novice programmers,
and various cross platform mobile web applications frameworks.
In order to work around limitations on reaching Google services due to Internet
censorship in the People's Republic of China, Android devices sold in the PRC
are generally customized to use state approved services instead.
Since Android devices are usually battery-powered, Android is designed to
manage memory (RAM) to keep power consumption at a minimum, in contrast
to desktop operating systems which generally assume they are connected to
unlimited mains electricity. When an Android app is no longer in use, the
system will automatically suspend it in memory – while the app is still
technically "open," suspended apps consume no resources (e.g. battery power or
processing power) and sit idly in the background until needed again. This has
the dual benefit of increasing the general responsiveness of Android devices,
since apps don't need to be closed and reopened from scratch each time, but also
ensuring background apps don't consume power needlessly.
Android manages the apps stored in memory automatically: when memory is
low, the system will begin killing apps and processes that have been inactive for
a while, in reverse order since they were last used (i.e. oldest first). This process
is designed to be invisible to the user, such that users do not need to manage
memory or the killing of apps themselves. However, confusion over Android
memory management has resulted in third-party task killers becoming popular
on the Google Play store; these third-party task killers are generally regarded as
doing more harm than good.
See also: Android version history: Hardware requirements
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, free scale 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
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 touch screens. Some hardware
components are not required, but became standard in certain classes of devices,
such as smart phones, 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 were 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.
Android is developed in private by Google until the latest changes and updates
are ready to be released, at which point the source code is made available
publicly. This source code will only run without modification on select devices,
usually the Nexus series of devices. The source code is, in turn, adapted by
OEMs to run on their hardware. Android's source code does not contain the
often proprietary devices that are needed for certain hardware components.
The green Android logo was designed for Google in 2007 by graphic designer
Irina Blok. The design team was tasked with a project to create a universally
identifiable icon with the specific inclusion of a robot in the final design. After
numerous design developments based on science-fiction and space movies, the
team eventually sought inspiration from the human symbol on restroom doors
and modified the figure into a robot shape. As Android is open-sourced, it was
agreed that the logo should be likewise, and since its launch the green logo has
been reinterpreted into countless variations on the original design.
From left to right: HTC Dream (G1),Nexus One, Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus
See also: Android version history
Google provides major updates, incremental in nature, to Android every six to
nine months, which most devices are capable of receiving over the air. The
latest major update is Android 4.4 KitKat.
Compared to its chief rival mobile operating system, namely iOS, Android
updates are typically slow to reach actual devices. For devices not under
the Nexus brand, updates often arrive months from the time the given version is
officially released. This is caused partly due to the extensive variation
in hardware of Android devices, to which each update must be specifically
tailored, as the official Google source code only runs on their
flagship Nexus devices. Porting Android to specific hardware is a time- and
resource-consuming process for device manufacturers, who prioritize their
newest devices and often leave older ones behind. Hence, older smart phones
are frequently not updated if the manufacturer decides it is not worth their time,
regardless of whether the phone is capable of running the update. This problem
is compounded when manufacturers customize Android with their own interface
and apps, which must be reapplied to each new release. Additional delays can
be introduced by wireless carriers who, after receiving updates from
manufacturers, further customize and brand Android to their needs and conduct
extensive testing on their networks before sending the update out to users.
The lack of after-sale support from manufacturers and carriers has been widely
criticized by consumer groups and the technology media. Some commentators
have noted that the industry has a financial incentive not to update their devices,
as the lack of updates for existing devices fuels the purchase of newer ones, an
attitude described as "insulting". The Guardian has complained that the
complicated method of distribution for updates is only complicated because
manufacturers and carriers have designed it that way. In 2011, Google partnered
with a number of industry players to announce an "Android Update Alliance",
pledging to deliver timely updates for every device for 18 months after its
release; however, this alliance has never been mentioned since.
In 2012, Google began decoupling certain aspects of the operating system
(particularly core applications) so they could be updated through Google Play
Store, independently of Android itself. One of these components, Google Play
Services, is a system-level process providing APIs for Google services, installed
automatically on nearly all devices running Android version 2.2 and higher.
With these changes, Google can add new operating system functionality
through Play Services and application updates without having to distribute an
update to the operating system itself. As a result, Android 4.2 and 4.3 contained
relatively fewer user-facing changes, focusing more on minor changes and
As of November 2013, current Android versions consist of a kernel based on
the Linux kernel version 3.4.10, while Android versions older than 4.0 Ice
Cream Sandwich were based on the Linux kernel 2.6.x.
Android's Linux kernel has further architecture changes by Google outside the
typical Linux kernel development cycle. Certain features that Google
contributed back to the Linux kernel, notably a power management feature
called "wakelocks", were rejected by mainline kernel developers partly because
they felt that Google did not show any intent to maintain its own code. Google
announced in April 2010 that they would hire two employees to work with the
Linux kernel community, but Greg Kroah-Hartman, the current Linux kernel
maintainer for the stable branch, said in December 2010 that he was concerned
that Google was no longer trying to get their code changes included in
mainstream Linux. Some Google Android developers hinted that "the Android
team was getting fed up with the process," because they were a small team and
had more urgent work to do on Android.
In August 2011, Linus Torvalds said that "eventually Android and Linux would
come back to a common kernel, but it will probably not be for four to five
years". In December 2011, Greg Kroah-Hartman announced the start of the
Android Mainlining Project, which aims to put some Android drivers, patches
and features back into the Linux kernel, starting in Linux 3.3. Linux included
the auto sleep and wake locks capabilities in the 3.5 kernel, after many previous
attempts at merger. The interfaces are the same but the upstream Linux
implementation allows for two different suspend modes: to memory (the
traditional suspend that Android uses), and to disk (hibernate, as it is known on
the desktop). Google maintains a public code repository that contains their
experimental work to re-base Android off the latest stable Linux versions.
The flash storage on Android devices is split into several partitions, such
as /system for the operating system itself, and /data for user data and
application installations. In contrast to desktop Linux distributions, Android
device owners are not given root access to the operating system and sensitive
partitions such as /system are read-only. However, root access can be obtained
by exploiting security flaws in Android, which is used frequently by the opensource community to enhance the capabilities of their devices, but also by
malicious parties to install viruses and malware.
Android is a Linux distribution according to the Linux Foundation and Google's
open-source chief, Chris DiBona. Others, such as Google engineer Patrick
Brady, disagree that it is a Linux distribution, noting the lack of support for
many GNU tools in Android, including glibc.
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Android has an active community of developers and enthusiasts who use
the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) source code to develop and distribute
their own modified versions of the operating system. These communitydeveloped releases often bring new features and updates to devices faster than
through the official manufacturer/carrier channels, albeit without as extensive
testing or quality assurance; provide continued support for older devices that no
longer receive official updates; or bring Android to devices that were officially
released running other operating systems, such as the HP Touchpad.
Community releases often come pre-rooted and contain modifications
unsuitable for non-technical users, such as the ability to over
clock or over/under volt the device's processor. CyanogenMod is the most
widely used community firmware, and acts as a foundation for numerous others.
Historically, device manufacturers and mobile carriers have typically been
unsupportive of third-party firmware development. Manufacturers express
concern about improper functioning of devices running unofficial software and
the support costs resulting from this. moreover, modified firmware’s such as
CyanogenMod sometimes offer features, such as tethering, for which carriers
would otherwise charge a premium. As a result, technical obstacles including
locked boot loaders and restricted access to root permissions are common in
many devices. However, as community-developed software has grown more
popular, and following a statement by the Librarian of Congress in the United
States that permits the "jailbreaking" of mobile devices, manufacturers and
carriers have softened their position regarding third party development, with
Including HTC , Motorola, Samsung and Sony, providing support and
encouraging development. As a result of this, over time the need to circumvent
hardware to install unofficial firmware has lessened as an increasing number of
devices are shipped with unlocked or unlock able boot loaders, similar to
the Nexus series of phones, although usually requiring that users waive their
devices' warranties to do so. However, despite manufacturer acceptance, some
carriers in the US still require that phones are locked down.
The unlocking and "hack ability" of smart phones and tablets remains a source
of tension between the community and industry, with the community arguing
that unofficial development is increasingly important given the failure of
industry to provide timely updates and/or continued support to their devices.
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however, Google engineers have argued that the malware and virus threat on
Android is being exaggerated by security companies for commercial
reasons, and have accused the security industry of playing on fears to sell virus
protection software to users. Google maintains that dangerous malware is
actually extremely rare, and a survey conducted by F-Secure showed that only
0.5% of Android malware reported had come from the Google Play store.
Google currently uses their Google Bouncer malware scanner to watch over and
scan the Google Play store apps. It is intended to flag up suspicious apps and
warn users of any potential issues with an application before they download
it. Android version 4.2 Jelly Bean was released in 2012 with enhanced security
features, including a malware scanner built into the system, which works in
combination with Google Play but can scan apps installed from third party
sources as well, and an alert system which notifies the user when an app tries to
send a premium-rate text message, blocking the message unless the user
explicitly authorises it.
Android smart phones have the ability to report the location of Wi-Fi access
points, encountered as phone users move around, to build databases containing
the physical locations of hundreds of millions of such access points. These
databases form electronic maps to locate smart phones, allowing them to run
apps like Foursquare, Google Latitude, and Face book Places, and to deliver
location-based ads. Third party monitoring software such as Taint Droid, an
academic research-funded project, can, in some cases, detect when personal
information is being sent from applications to remote servers. In August 2013,
Google released the Android Device Manager (ADM), a component that allows
users to remotely track, locate, and wipe their Android device through a web
interface. In December 2013, Google released ADM as an Android application
on the Google Play store, where it is available to devices running Android
version 2.2 and higher.
The open-source nature of Android allows security contractors to take existing
devices and adapt them for highly secure uses. For example Samsung has
worked with General Dynamics through their Open Kernel Labs acquisition to
rebuild Jelly Bean on top of their hardened micro visor for the "Knox" project.
As part of the broader 2013 mass surveillance disclosures it was revealed in
September 2013 that the American and British intelligence agencies, the NSA
and Government Communications Headquarters(GCHQ) respectively, have
access to the user data on iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android devices. They are
able to read almost all Smartphone information, including SMS, location,
emails, and notes.
The source code for Android is available under free and open-source
software licenses. Google publishes most of the code (including network and
telephony stacks) under the Apache License version 2.0, and the rest, Linux
kernel changes, under the GNU General Public License version 2. The Open
Handset Alliance develops the changes to the Linux kernel, in public, with
source code publicly available at all times. The rest of Android is developed in
private by Google, with source code released publicly when a new version is
released. Typically Google collaborates with a hardware manufacturer to
produce a "flagship" device (part of the Nexus series) featuring the new version
of Android, then makes the source code available after that device has been
released. The only Android release which was not immediately made available
as source code was the tablet-only 3.0 Honeycomb release. The reason,
according to Andy Rubin in an official Android blog post, was
because Honeycomb was rushed for production of the Motorola Xoom, and they
did not want third parties creating a "really bad user experience" by attempting
to put onto smart phones a version of Android intended for tablets.
While much of Android itself is open source software, most Android devices
ship with a large amount of proprietary software. Google licenses a suite of
proprietary apps for Android, such as Play Store, Google Search, and Google
Play Services—a software layer which provides APIs that integrate with
Google-provided services, among others. These apps, along with the Android
trademarks, can only be licensed by hardware manufacturers for devices which
meet Google's compatibility standards; as such, forks of Android which make
major changes to the OS itself, such as Amazon's Fire OS and Alibaba
Group's Aliyun OS, do not include any of Google's non-free components, and
are incompatible with apps that require them. Custom, certified distributions of
Android produced by manufacturers (such as Touch Wiz and HTC Sense) may
also replace certain stock Android apps with their own proprietary variants and
add additional software not included in the stock Android operating system.
Several stock apps in Android's open source code used by previous versions
(such as Search, Music, and Calendar) have also been effectively deprecated by
Google, with development having shifted to newer but proprietary versions
distributed and updated through Play Store, such as Google Search and Google
Play Music. While these older apps remain in Android's source code, they have
no longer received any major updates. Additionally, proprietary variants of the
stock Camera and Gallery apps also include certain functions (such as
Photosphere panoramas and Google+ album integration) that are excluded from
the open source versions (however, they have yet to be completely abandoned),
and the home screen itself on the Nexus 5 is replaced by one implemented as a
component of the proprietary Google Search app. Although an update for
Google Search containing the relevant components was released through
Google Play for all Android devices, the new home screen was not enabled by
the Android 4.4 updates for any other Nexus devices, which still use the
previous AOSP home screen.
Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation have been critical of
Android and have recommended the usage of alternatives such as Replicant,
because drivers and firmware vital for the proper functioning of Android
devices are usually proprietary, and because Google Play allows nonfree software.
Android received a lukewarm reaction when it was unveiled in 2007. Although
analysts were impressed with the respected technology companies that had
partnered with Google to form the Open Handset Alliance, it was unclear
whether mobile phone manufacturers would be willing to replace their existing
operating systems with Android. The idea of an open-source, Linuxbased development platform sparked interest, but there were additional worries
about Android facing strong competition from established players in the
Smartphone market, such as Nokia and Microsoft, and rival Linux mobile
operating systems that were in development. These established players were
skeptical: Nokia was quoted as saying "we don't see this as a threat," and a
member of Microsoft's Windows Mobile team stated "I don't understand the
impact that they are going to have."
Since then Android has grown to become the most widely used Smartphone
operating system and "one of the fastest mobile experiences
available." Reviewers have highlighted the open-source nature of the operating
system as one of its defining strengths, allowing companies such
as Amazon (Kindle Fire), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Ouya, Baidu, and others
to fork the software and release hardware running their own customised version
of Android. As a result, it has been described by technology website Ars
Technical as "practically the default operating system for launching new
hardware" for companies without their own mobile platforms. This openness
and flexibility is also present at the level of the end user: Android allows
extensive customisation of devices by their owners and apps are freely available
from non-Google app stores and third party websites. These have been cited as
among the main advantages of Android phones over others.
Despite Android's popularity, including an activation rate three times that of
iOS, there have been reports that Google has not been able to leverage their
other products and web services successfully to turn Android into the money
maker that analysts had expected. The Verge suggested that Google is losing
control of Android due to the extensive customization and proliferation of nonGoogle apps and services—Amazon's Kindle Fire line uses Fire OS, a heavily
modified fork of Android which does not include or support any of Google's
proprietary components, and requires that users obtain software from its
competing Amazon Appstore instead of Play Store. Google SVP Andy Rubin,
who was replaced as head of the Android division in March 2013, has been
blamed for failing to establish a lucrative partnership with cell phone makers.
The chief beneficiary of Android has been Samsung, whose Galaxy brand has
surpassed that of Android in terms of brand recognition since 2011. Mean while
other Android manufacturers have struggled since 2011, such as LG, HTC, and
Google's own Motorola Mobility (whose partnership with Verizon Wireless to
push the "DROID" brand has faded since 2010). Ironically, while Google
directly earns nothing from the sale of each Android
device, Microsoft and Apple have successfully sued to extract patent royalty
payments from Android handset manufacturers.
Android has suffered from "fragmentation", a situation where the variety of
Android devices, in terms of both hardware variations and differences in the
software running on them, makes the task of developing applications that work
consistently across the ecosystem harder than rival platforms such as iOS where
hardware and software varies less. For example, according to data from Open
Signal in July 2013, there were 11,868 models of Android device, numerous
different screen sizes and eight Android OS versions simultaneously in use,
while the large majority of iOS users have upgraded to the latest iteration of that
OS. Critics such as Apple Insider have asserted that fragmentation via hardware
and software pushed Android's growth through large volumes of low end,
budget-priced devices running older versions of Android. They maintain these
forces Android developers to write for the "lowest common denominator" to
reach as many users as possible, who have too little incentive to make use of the
hardware o softwar features only ava
ailable on a smaller p
device Howev Open S
Signal, wh develop both An
ndroid and iOS app
uded that a
tion can make devel
Android's wider global reach also in
ncreases the potenti reward
t-generation Nexus 7 tablet
Despit its succe on sma phones initially Android tablet ado
option was slow.
One o the main causes w the chicken or th egg situ
uation wh consu
hesitant to buy an A
Android tab due to a lack of high qual tablet apps,
velopers w hesitant to spen time an resourc develo
oping table apps
until th was a significa market for them. The con
ntent and a "ecosy
proved more im
mportant th hardwa specs as the sell
ling point for tablets Due
to the l
lack of An
blet-specifi apps in 2011, ear Androi tablets had to
make d with ex
martphone apps that were ill-s
suited to la
whereas th domina
ance of Ap
pple's iPad was rein
nforced by the large
numbe of tablet
t-specific iOS apps.
Despit app support in its infancy, a consider
rable numb of Android tablets
gside those using oth operati system such as the HP T
Touch Pad and
berry) were rushed o to mar in an attempt to capitalize on the su
of the iPad. Info
oWorld has suggeste that som Androi manufa
term lowtreated their first tablets as a "Frank phone business" a short-t
investment opportunity by placing a Smartphone-optimized Android OS (before
Android 3.0 Honeycomb for tablets was available) on a device while neglecting
user interface. This approach, such as with the Dell Streak, failed to gain market
traction with consumers as well as damaging the early reputation of Android
tablets. Furthermore, several Android tablets such as the Motorola Xoom were
priced the same or higher than the iPad, which hurt sales. An exception was
the Amazon Kindle Fire, which relied upon lower pricing as well as access to
Amazon's ecosystem of apps and content.
This began to change in 2012 with the release of the affordable Nexus 7 and a
push by Google for developers to write better tablet apps. Android tablet
market share surpassed the iPad's in Q3 2012.
Research Company Canalise estimated in the second quarter of 2009 that
Android had a 2.8% share of worldwide Smartphone shipments. By the fourth
quarter of 2010 this had grown to 33% of the market, becoming the top-selling
Smartphone platform. By the third quarter of 2011 Gartner estimated that more
than half (52.5%) of the Smartphone market belongs to Android. By the third
quarter of 2012 Android had a 75% share of the global Smartphone market
according to the research firm IDC.
In July 2011, Google said that 550,000 new Android devices were being
activated every day, up from 400,000 per day in May, and more than 100
million devices had been activated with 4.4% growth per week. In September
2012, 500 million devices had been activated with 1.3 million activations per
day. In May 2013, at Google I/O, Sundar Pichai announced that 900 million
Android devices had been activated.
Android market share varies by location. In July 2012, Android's market share
in the United States was 52%, and rose to 90% in China. During the third
quarter of 2012, Android's worldwide Smartphone market share was
75%, with 750 million devices activated in total and 1.5 million activations
As of March 2013, Android's share of the global Smartphone market, led by
Samsung products, was 64%. The Kantar market research company reported
that Google’s platform accounted for over 70% of all Smartphone device sales
in China during this period and that Samsung's loyalty rate in Britain (59%) is
second to that of Apple (79%).
As of N
November 2013, An
ndroid's sh of the Smartph
hone mark is said to
eached 80 Indeed during A
eptember, and Octo
ober 2013, no
less than 261.1 m
million sm phone were so overall with abo 211 mi
Breakdo of the A
Android versio usage
These charts pro
ovide data about the relative number of devices a
unning a g
given versi of the Android p
platform, as of 2
Play Store recen and ru
October 31, 2013
Ju 24, 20
November 13, 2012 17
Ju 9, 2012
December 16, 2011 15
4.0.4 Ice Cream Sa
Ju 15, 20
February 9, 2011
May 20, 2010
There has been some concern about the ease with which paid Android apps can
be pirated. In a May 2012 interview with Euro gamer, the developers
of Football Manager stated that the ratio of pirated players vs. legitimate players
was 9:1 for their game Football Manager Handheld. However, not every
developer agreed that piracy rates were an issue; for example, in July 2012 the
developers of the game Wind-up Knight said that piracy levels of their game
were only 12%, and most of the piracy came from China, where people cannot
purchase apps from Google Play.
In 2010, Google released a tool for validating authorized purchases for use
within apps, but developers complained that this was insufficient and trivial
to crack. Google responded that the tool, especially its initial release, was
intended as a sample framework for developers to modify and build upon
depending on their needs, not as a finished piracy solution. In 2012 Google
released a feature in Android 4.1 that encrypted paid applications so that they
would only work on the device on which they were purchased, but this feature
has been temporarily deactivated due to technical issues.
Further information: Oracle v. Google, Smartphone wars, and Patent troll
Both Android and Android phone manufacturers have been involved in
numerous patent lawsuits. On August 12, 2010, Oracle sued Google over
claimed infringement of copyrights and patents related to the Java programming
language. Oracle originally sought damages up to $6.1 billion, but this valuation
was rejected by a United States federal judge who asked Oracle to revise the
estimate. In response, Google submitted multiple lines of defense,
counterclaiming that Android did not infringe on Oracle's patents or copyright,
that Oracle's patents were invalid, and several other defenses. They said that
Android is based on Apache Harmony, a clean room implementation of the Java
ibraries, a an inde
ependently develop virtual machine
called Dalvik. In May 201 the jur in this case found that Google did no
cle's paten and the trial judg ruled th the stru
ucture of the
infring on Orac
APIs used b Google was not copyright
In addition to law
ainst Goog directl various proxy wa have been
ndirectly b targetin manufac
cturers of Android
waged against A
device with the effect of discourag
ufacturers from ado
platfor by incr
reasing the costs of bringing an Androi device t
market Both Ap and M
Microsoft have sued several m
manufacturers for pa
gement, w Apple''s ongoing legal acti agains Samsun being a
case. In Oc
ctober 201 Micros said th had si
patent license ag
greements with ten A
Android device man
orldwide revenue fo Android devices. These
produc accoun for 55% of the wo
include Samsung and HTC Samsun paten settleme with M
eement tha Samsun will allo
ocate more resource to devel
includes an agre
nning Microsoft's Windows P
Google has publ
essed its fr
frustration for the cu
urrent pate landsca in
nited State accusin Apple, Oracle and Microso of tryin to take down
Android through patent lit
rather than innovatin and com
products a servic In 201
Mobili for US
lion, which was view in par as a def
to prot Andro since M
Motorola Mobility held more than 17,0 patent In
mber 2011, Google b
bought ov a thous
sand paten from IB
In 2013, Fairs ar a lobb
anization supported by Micro
osoft, Orac and
regarding Android with the European C
others, filed a co
allegin that it’s free of ch
ribution model cons
cing. The Free Software Foun
donors include G
isputed the Fairs arc allegati
Usag on o
Ouya, a video game console whi runs And
droid, was on of the mos successful crowd
funding campaigns o the websit Kick starte
The op and cu
ustomizable nature o Android allows i to be use on othe
onics aside from sm phones and table includ
ding laptop and net books
, smart books , s
smart TVs (Google T and cameras (N
S800c and Galax Camer In add
dition, the Android o
system ha seen
ations on smart glas (Goog Glass) smart wa
CD an DVD pl
table medi players, landline and Voice over
ones. Ouya a video game con
nsole runni Andro becam one of the
successful Kick-star campa
gUS$8.5m for its
opment, an was late followe by othe Android
idia's Proje Shield — an An
ndroid dev in a vi
ideo game controlle form
rated "Android Hom a hom automa
In 2011, Google demonstr
droid to control a ran of hou
which uses And
ototype lig bulbs w anno
switch power sockets a thermo
ould be con
rom an An
ndroid pho or tabl but An
Rubin was cautious to note th "turnin a light b
bulb on an off is nothing
new," pointing t numerous failed h
ervices. Google, he said,
hinking mo ambiti
iously and the intent
tion was to use their position as
a cloud services provider to bring G
oducts into custome homes.
In Aug 2011, Parrot lau
unched the first car stereo sys
ered by th
Android platform known as Astero and fea
aturing vo comm
mber 2013 Clarion released m
anced car s
by the Android p
platform, known as AX1 and Mirage, r
Android 2.3 and
Gingerbread respectively, and featuring GPS-bas naviga
screen and vario option for wireless data access.
Free software portal
Comparison of mobile operating systems
Ind of And
droid OS a
Lis of GPS software f mobile phones
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JA2 Stracciatella Feedback » Jagged Alliance 2 Android Stracciatella Port
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