What is an Android?
Android is a Linux-based operating system designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones 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. HTC is the first who launched android phones. The first Android-powered phone was sold in October 2008.
Android is open source and 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 contributed towards making Android 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.
A report in July 2013 stated that Android's share of the global smartphone market, led by Samsung products, was 64% in March 2013.operating system's success has made it a target for patent litigation as part of the so-called "smartphone wars" between technology companies.As of May 2013, a total of 900 million Android devices have been activated and 48 billion apps have been installed from the Google Play store.
Android's Birth History
Android, Inc. was founded in Palo Alto, California in October 2003 by Andy Rubin,Rich Miner,Nick Sear, and Chris White 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, making it a wholly owned subsidiary of Google. 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.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.Some speculated that as Google was defining technical specifications,it was showing prototypes to cell phone manufacturers and network operators. In September 2007, InformationWeek covered an Evalueserve study reporting that Google had filed several patent applications in the area of mobile telephony.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.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.In 2010, Google launched its Nexus series of devices—a line of smartphones 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 13 March 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.
History behind Android logo
Android, the name, was born with the 1990 8bit-game in which the robot was called Android.The real stab at the originality of the Android logo is the allegation that the logo had in fact been lifted from an Atari video game called ‘Gauntlet: The Third Encounter’.Luckily, Irina Blok – the Android designer who thought up the logo – clears up the question of what actually bought the little bugdroid into existence
This logo is designed to be international symbol for Android, and it is open source, just like the platform itself. There are no cultural references to any other characters or cultural icons… The process was very simple – we talked to the founder of android and did a research on the whole android/robot theme. It was clear that the logo needed to relate to the name, and the first step was to create a huge mood board with all kinds of droids, robots that were inspired by the android operating system. Next step was to explore a variety of visual languages and directions – ranging from pixel based, realistic to cartoony. There were 2 designers working on this – but at the end my sketch was selected…it is ironic that the most basic symbol was chosen. In fact this was my first sketch that I created in 5 minutes, and after that we spent weeks ideating and sketching more. I think the simplicity of this mark really made a statement, this became an international symbol of android (just like airport signs: men, woman, android)…
Blok also provides copies of the original “visual representations” involved in the finished logo’s construction, which do show a fairly diverse range of visual approaches (including a large hat tip to robot nostalgia).
Blok says that the original Android design objective was to generate a representation that completely captured the product (including the open source angle), as well as a strategy for forming an emotional connection with the brand. Initially, the logo was aimed squarely at developers, and was intended to have the same weighting as the Linux Penguin.
As it turns out, the logo resonated strongly with both consumers and developers. Blok says as Google considers “…anything that resembles traditional marketing [as] cheesy and unworthy of attention…”, a typical officious presentation just wouldn’t cut it, so Blok and her team came up with a mischievous display method to ensure the logo made its covert way into the right hands.
This guerrilla scheme involved leaving a sheet of paper containing the logo on a particular table in the Google offices, where they knew it would get noticed and leave Google boffins positively foaming at the mouth. Sure enough, it did: so much so that Blok says the logo went viral. She knew it had hit critical success when she spied a huge Android statue whilst driving to work, thinking: “…This is cool, how something you create has a life on its own.”
The next step in the Android logo evolution was the release of the source design within Google, so engineers could sit and waste their precious grey matter and time doodling cartoony fat stick figures modify and adapt the design to create their own versions like those below. These versions produced by assorted Google engineers seem a tad clumsy, especially the grey-blue versions that looks a little like an unfortunate blind and catatonic stumpy-legged-nightshirt-wearing granny with a mixing bowl stuck upside down on her head.
History of android versions
The version history of the Android mobile operating system began with the release of the Android beta in November 2007. The first commercial version, Android 1.0, was released in September 2008. Android is under ongoing development by Google and theOpen Handset Alliance (OHA), and has seen a number of updates to its base operating system since its original release. These updates typically fix bugs and add new features.
Since April 2009, Android versions have been developed under a codename and released in alphabetical order:
Ice Cream Sandwich(4.0) and
As of 2013, over 900 million active devices use the Android OS worldwide.The most recent major Android update was Jelly Bean 4.2, which was released on commercial devices in November 2012
Highlights of versions
On 27 April 2009, the Android 1.5 update was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.27.This was the first release to officially use a codename based on a dessert item ("Cupcake"), a theme which would be used for all releases henceforth. The update included several new features and UI amendments.
1)Fast, smooth typing with the on-screen virtual keyboard.
2)Easy access to favourite apps, contacts, bookmarks, and more via home screen widgets and live folders.
3)Video recording, playback, and sharing.
4)Full web experience with enhanced browser.
5)Hands-free calls and listening with stereo Bluetooth.
6)Lots of UI refinements and performance improvements to the overall phone experience.
7)New APIs and elements to enable even more innovative apps from developers.
Android V1.6, codename Donut, was released in September 2009. It fixed reboot errors in the OS as well as revamped photo and video features and better search integration. It also added support for larger screen size, and is the first version to offer Google turn-by-turn navigation feature.
Improved Camera, Camcorder, Gallery
New Android Market
Version 2.0(Eclair) was released in December 2009, followed by 2.1 in January 2010. These are considered to be a single release by most people, allowing added capabilities for Bluetooth, multi-touch support and live wallpapers, among other features.
Support for additional screen sizes and resolutions
New browser User Interface and support for HTML5
New contact lists
Improvements to the Google Maps 3.1.2
Microsoft Exchange Support for syncing of e-mail.
Built in flash support for camera
Improved Virtual Keyboard
Bluetooth 2.1 support
Integrated support for Facebook users
Additional text-to-speech functions have been added
New calendar features
Short for “Frozen Yoghurt”, this version was released in May 2010. It allowed for improved OS speed, supported hi-definition screen resolutions and Adobe Flash 10.1, enabling users to stream videos via their mobile browsers. Added support for Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity also became available.
Portable Hotspot and USB Tethering
Select Text on Web Pages, in Email
Improved Application Manager
Better Camera Controls
This version made its debut in December 2010. The key feature that became available with this release was the much hyped ‘Near Field Communications’ (NFC) capability, allowing users to perform tasks such as mobile payments and data exchange through swiping their mobile phones over a tag. It also added support for more than one camera and other sensors.
UI refinements for simplicity and speed
One-touch word selection and copy/paste
Improved power management
Control over applications
New ways of communicating, organizing
Gyroscope and other new sensors, for improved 3D motion processing
Released first in February 2011 and followed rapidly by the 3.1 and 3.2 revisions during the same year, this incremental release added several new features. This version was optimized for tablets and provided developers with more control over UI. It also allowed users the capability to load media files directly from an SD card.
New UI designed from the ground up for tablets
Improved text selection, copy and paste
New connectivity options
Updated set of standard apps
Customizable Home Screens
Ice cream sandwich
Released in October 2011, this was a major overhaul to the Android UI, allowing enhanced contact menus, improved keyboard layouts and NFC capabilities. Since Honeycomb was optimized just for tablets, with most phones still running the 2.x Android versions, the Ice Cream Sandwich release strove for a unified platform that was optimized to run on both tablets and phones.
Refined, evolved UI
Home screen folders and favorites tray
New lock screen actions
Quick responses for incoming calls
Swipe to dismiss notifications, tasks, and browser tabs
Improved text input and spell-checking
Powerful voice input engine
Powerful voice input engine
Designed for accessibility
Rich and versatile camera capabilities
Redesigned Gallery app with photo editor
Live Effects for transforming video
Sharing with screenshots
Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth HDP
The latest major Android update was released in July, 2012. Jelly Bean further polished the Android UI, and also refined the software, enabling Android devices to run faster and also making them even more user-friendly than before. The 4.x updates have allowed developers to create quality apps over Android, cementing its place as the operating system of choice among users.
Faster, Smoother, More Responsive
Refined, refreshed UI
Lock screen widgets
External display support
New Media Capabilities
Google APIs and services
New designs and narrow bezel for upcoming Nexus devices
New Palette colour theme
Revamped user interface
Smoother and more responsive UI
Enhanced battery life
Better network coverage
Optimised firmware to all Android devices including older ones
Android's first and exclusive cloud-based system
Lightweight memory requirements
More support on CPU cores
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