WHAT IS ANDROID
WHAT IS ANDROID
in real mean(in science fiction) A robot with a human appearance.
Android may also refer to:
Android (board game), published by Fantasy Flight Games
Android (drug), brand name for the anabolic steroid methyltestosterone
Android (film), directed by Aaron Lipstadt
"Android" (song), by The Prodigy
the phone os you see(probably you are here for this)
Android is a Linux-based operating system designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices; such as smartphones and tablet computers. The first Android-powered phone was sold in October 2008.
Android powers hundreds of millions of mobile devices in more than 190 countries around the world. It's the largest installed base of any mobile platform and growing fast—every day another million users power up their Android devices for the first time and start looking for apps, games, and other digital content.
Android gives you a world-class platform for creating apps and games for Android users everywhere, as well as an open marketplace for distributing to them instantly.
Android™ is a computing platform designed for use in some smart phones and other devices. This technology, which is owned by Google, Inc., includes an operating system, software, and applications. The operating system is based on Linux®, which provides advanced computer processing. Android™ technology is maintained and continually developed by the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).
Google releases the 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. Additionally, Android has a large community of developers writing applications ("apps") that extend the functionality of devices, written primarily in a customized version of 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.
These factors have allowed Android to become the world's most widely used smartphone platform, overtaking Symbian in the fourth quarter of 2010, and the software of choice for technology companies who require a low-cost, customizable, lightweight operating system for high tech devices without developing one from scratch. As a result, despite being primarily designed for phones and tablets, it has seen additional applications on televisions, games consoles, digital cameras and other electronics. Android's open nature has further encouraged a large community of developers and enthusiasts to use the open source 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.
Android had a worldwide smartphone market share of 75% during the third quarter of 2012, with 500 million devices activated in total and 1.3 million activations per day.The operating system's success has made it a target for patent litigation as part of the so-called "smartphone wars" between technology companies
Android is a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications. The Android SDK provides the tools and APIs necessary to begin developing applications on the Android platform using the Java programming language.Tips & guides for learning how to better use Android Whether you're brand new to Android, or just want to learn how to get more out of your Android phone or Android tablet
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 customizable, 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 homescreen, and even mimic the look of other operating systems, such as Windows Phone. Most manufacturers, and some wireless carriers, customize the look and feel of their Android devices to differentiate themselves from the competition.
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.
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) plugin. 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.
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.
Linux architecture diagram
Android consists of a kernel based on Linux kernel version 2.6 and, from Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich onwards, version 3.x, with middleware, libraries and APIs written in C, and application software running on an application framework which includes Java-compatible libraries based on Apache Harmony. Android uses the Dalvik virtual machine with just-in-time compilation to run Dalvik 'dex-code' (Dalvik Executable), which is usually translated from Java bytecode. The main hardware platform for Android is the ARM architecture. There is support for x86 from the Android x86 project, and Google TV uses a special x86 version of Android. In 2013, Freescale announced Android on its i.MX processor, i.MX5X and i.MX6X series.
Android's Linux kernel has further architecture changes by Google outside the typical Linux kernel development cycle. Android does not have a native X Window System by default nor does it support the full set of standard GNU libraries, and this makes it difficult to port existing Linux applications or libraries to Android. Support for simple C and SDL applications is possible by injection of a small Java shim and usage of the JNI like, for example, in the Jagged Alliance 2 port for Android.
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 autosleep and wakelocks 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). The merge will be complete starting with Kernel 3.8, Google has opened a public code repository that contains their experimental work to re-base Android off Kernel 3.8.
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 app 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 open source community to enhance the capabilities of their devices, but also by malicious parties to install viruses and malware.
Whether or not Android counts as a Linux distribution is a widely debated topic, with the Linux Foundation and Chris DiBona, Google's open source chief, in favour. Others, such as Google engineer Patrick Brady disagree, noting the lack of support for many GNU tools, including glibc, in Android.
Proprietary binary dependencies
With many devices, there are proprietary binaries which have to be provided by the manufacturer, in order for Android to work.
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 waste 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.
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 4.2 Jelly Bean.
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 smartphones 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 criticised 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. As of 2013, this alliance has never been mentioned since.
Open source community
Android has an active community of developers and enthusiasts who use the Android source code to develop and distribute their own modified versions of the operating system. These community-developed 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 overclock or over/undervolt 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 firmwares such as CyanogenMod sometimes offer features, such as tethering, for which carriers would otherwise charge a premium. As a result, technical obstacles including locked bootloaders 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 some, including HTC, Motorola, Samsung and Sony, providing support and encouraging development. As a result of this, over time the need to circumvent hardware restrictions to install unofficial firmware has lessened as an increasing number of devices are shipped with unlocked or unlockable bootloaders, 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 "hackability" of smartphones 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.
Security and privacy
App permissions in the Play Store
Android applications run in a sandbox, an isolated area of the system that does not have access to the rest of the system's resources, unless access permissions are explicitly granted by the user when the application is installed. Before installing an application, the Play Store displays all required permissions: a game may need to enable vibration or save data to an SD card, for example, but should not need to read SMS messages or access the phonebook. After reviewing these permissions, the user can choose to accept or refuse them, installing the application only if they accept.
The sandboxing and permissions system lessens the impact of vulnerabilities and bugs in applications, but developer confusion and limited documentation has resulted in applications routinely requesting unnecessary permissions, reducing its effectiveness. Several security firms, such as Lookout Mobile Security, AVG Technologies, and McAfee, have released antivirus software for Android devices. This software is ineffective as sandboxing also applies to such applications, limiting their ability to scan the deeper system for threats.
Research from security company Trend Micro lists premium service abuse as the most common type of Android malware, where text messages are sent from infected phones to premium-rate telephone numbers without the consent or even knowledge of the user. Other malware displays unwanted and intrusive adverts on the device, or sends personal information to unauthorised third parties. Security threats on Android are reportedly growing exponentially; 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 smartphones 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 smartphones, allowing them to run apps like Foursquare, Google Latitude, Facebook Places, and to deliver location-based ads. Third party monitoring software such as TaintDroid, an academic research-funded project, can, in some cases, detect when personal information is being sent from applications to remote servers.
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 microvisor for the "Knox" project.
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 Google Nexus series) featuring the new version of Android, then makes the source code available after that device has been released.
In early 2011, Google chose to temporarily withhold the Android source code to 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 smartphones a version of Android intended for tablets. The source code was once again made available in November 2011 with the release of Android 4.0.
Even though the software is open-source, device manufacturers cannot use Google's Android trademark unless Google certifies that the device complies with their Compatibility Definition Document (CDD). Devices must also meet this definition to be eligible to license Google's closed-source applications, including Google Play. As Android is not completely released under a GPL compatible license, e.g. Google's code is under the Apache license, and also because Google Play allows proprietary software, Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation have been critical of Android and have recommended the usage of alternatives such as Replicant.
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, Linux-based 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 Technica 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 non-Google apps and services - for instance the Amazon Kindle Fire points users to the Amazon app store that competes directly with the Google Play store - and speculated that Rubin was 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. Meanwhile other Android manufacturers have struggled since 2011, such as LG, HTC, and Google's own Motorola Mobility. 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 handset manufacturers using Android.
Despite its success on smartphones, Android tablet adoption has been slow. One of the main causes is the chicken or the egg situation where consumers are hesitant to buy an Android tablet due to a lack of high quality tablet apps, but developers are hesitant to spend time and resources developing tablet apps until there's a significant market for them. The content and app "ecosystem" proved more important than hardware specs as the selling point for tablets. Due to the lack of Android tablet-specific apps in 2011, early Android tablets had to make do with existing smartphone apps that were ill-suited to larger screen sizes, whereas the dominance of Apple's iPad was reinforced by the large number of tablet-specific iOS apps.
Despite app support in its infancy, a considerable number of Android tablets (alongside those using other operating systems, such as the HP TouchPad and BlackBerry Playbook) were rushed out to market in an attempt to capitalize on the success of the iPad. InfoWorld has suggested that some Android manufacturers initially treated their first tablets as a "Frankenphone business", a short-term low-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 is expected to overtake the iPad's by the end of 2013.
Market share and rate of adoption
Research company Canalys 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.
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.