Android - 101 Facts - 1 to 50
Android is an operating system used in smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices. It is highly customizable and user friendly - find out more below!
Android is an operating system used in smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices. It is highly customizable and user friendly.
Android is based on Linux kernel, the version of which has changed with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It is expected that both Android and Linux would come back to a common Kernel in the near future.
Android is designed for touch screen devices such as mobile phones, tablet computers etc though currently it is used in a number of other electronic devices too.
Android was initially developed by Android inc. and later acquired by Google.
Android is open source software of the open handset alliance. This has allowed the modification of Android to suit the interest of handset makers, Network carriers and so on.
The first publicly used phone to run Android was HTC Dream. It used Android version 1.0 and was upgradable till 1.6. The Android operating system on the device was criticized for lack of functionality and software in comparison to certain established platforms but was still considered to be innovative.
The user interface of Android is based on direct manipulation. In order to use the device a person is required to provide certain direct inputs on the screen of the device.
Android responds to touch inputs and other actions which resemble real world actions such as pinching, swiping, touching etc. These actions are converted into signals and translate itself to an outcome.
Android makes use of internal hardware as a response to user actions and acts as an interface. Some of this hardware, such as the Proximity Sensor and Accelerometer, responds to human actions such as turning the device and this even helps to change the orientation of the screen.
Android is highly customizable in nature. From the home screen to the themes or wall papers, everything can be customized. The position of apps and the apps which are to be present on the screen can also be controlled. It is also possible to install a number of third party applications on the device.
Android can communicate with users through notifications. The Notification alert is displayed in the form of light or sound, which can be customised. Dragging the notification bar displays the notification in detail.
Android is programmed in C(core), C++, Java(UI). It has a large community of developers writing apps which extends the functionality of the devices. These apps are written primarily in Java programming language.
Android belongs to UNIX OS family though not certified to any version of the Single UNIX specification.
Android was initially released in September 23, 2008 which coincided with the unveiling of the Open Handset Alliance.
Android is multi-lingual in nature and is now available in 46 languages. This extends the geographical coverage of the operating system. At the same time it also provides for the making of apps in different languages thereby reaching a wider audience.
The package manager of Android is Google Play and APK. The applications are distributed in these file formats. It is very similar to that of the MSI package in Windows or a Deb package in Ubuntu.
Android is supported in 32-bit ARM, MIPS and x86 platforms.
Android is licensed under the Apache License 2.0 Linux kernel patches.
Android has a large community of developers writing applications and there are as many as 700000 apps available.
Is Android used in any other technology as well other than phones?
Though primarily made for phones and tablets, it has also been used in televisions, cameras, gaming consoles and other electronic devices.
Android Inc was the first company that began the process of working on Android while later hands changed and right now Google works on the development of newer versions of Android.
Android Inc. was founded by Andy Rubin, Nick Sears, Chris White and Nick Sears in California in October 2003
The company had many ups and downs and at a point of time even ran out of money and had to loan money for staying afloat.
Android Inc was later acquired by Google which signaled intentions of Google getting into the Smartphone business.
Android was initially intended to be an operating system for digital cameras!
Google signed up a number of hardware and software partners and even signed up with carriers signaling that it was willing to cooperate with them.
The unveiling of iPhone had a disruptive effect on the development of Android. So far independently developed software had to stand up to competition from another technology giant.
The formation of Open Handset Alliance came up as a boost for the development of Android. The consortium consisted of a number of technology companies including Google, device manufacturers such as HTC, Sony and Samsung , wireless carriers and chipset makers
The unveiling of the Android coincided with the launch of Open Handset Alliance.
Another milestone in the development of Android was the launch of the Nexus series of devices by Google which carried the latest Android OS.
An important fact about Android is that it has a number of updates and each major update is named in alphabetical after a sugary treat or dessert.
The first Android version was called cupcake and the current version stands at KitKat.
The primary navigation and information point of the Android OS is called the home screen and Android devices boot to it.
The home screen of Android is made up of app icons and widgets. App icons are used for launching the applications while the widgets display live and auto-updating content. The home screen may also be made up of several pages that the user can swipe back and forth.
The best feature of Android OS is that it is highly customizable. The home screen interface is also customizable allowing the user to change the look and theme of the device to their tastes. This allows most manufacturers to customize the look and feel of their devices to make it different from that of their competitors.
The Android home screen is also noted for its status bar on the screen which shows information about the device and its connectivity. It can also be pulled down to reveal a notification screen which displays updates or other important information
The second best feature of Android is its applications. The Android has a growing selection of third party applications which can be bought by users either through the app store such as Google Play or the Amazon app store or by downloading them from other sources
The third party applications can be installed by downloading the application’s APK file from a third party website and installing the same.
The App store filters the list of available applications to those that are compatible with that of a particular user’s device and this allows developers to restrict their apps to particular carriers or countries for business reasons
The number of apps in the Android Play Store is more than a million as of July 2013 and more than 48 billion apps have been installed from Google Play store
The applications are generally developed in Java with the help of the Android software development kit which includes a comprehensive set of development tools such as debugger, a handset emulator, software libraries, tutorials etc.
The development environment which is officially supported is the integrated development environment(IDE) called Eclipse which uses Android Development Tools(ADT) plugin.
Power management is another important feature of Android. The Android devices have to be managed to keep the power consumption to a minimum since it is generally battery-powered.
Apps consume power as memory management i.e. RAM is involved. In order to keep battery consumption to minimum the app is suspended in memory when it is not in use. So, the app though technically open does not consume any resources and sits idly in the background till needed again. Also this makes it easier to improve the responsiveness as the apps don’t need to be reopened each time
The management of apps stored in memory also takes place automatically. When memory is low, Android kills the apps and processes which have stayed inactive for sometime in the reverse order of its usage. This saves the user of trouble to manage memory and kill the apps themselves often.
The hardware features depend on the versions of Android to a certain extent. The current versions of Android require at least 512 MB of RAM and a 32 bit ARMv7, MIPS or x86 processor with a compatible graphics processing unit.
Android devices also incorporate many additional hardware components such as cameras, GPS, sensors, dedicated gaming controls, accelerometers, barometers, gyroscopes, proximity sensors etc. Though some of these hardware components are not required it became a standard in many of the devices.
Android though is available publicly is developed in private by Google until it is completely ready to be released. Once the process is complete the source code is made available publicly.
The publicly available Source code is modified to suit the devices of other manufactures while it runs without any modification in the Nexus series of devices. Certain devices drivers needed for certain hardware components may not be present in the publicly released version of Android.
The Android logo was designed by Irina Blok for Google in 2007. It is surprising to note that the inspiration for the logo is the human symbol on restroom doors which was modified into the shape of a robot.