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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

Andy Rubin was the first person who developed the Android phone in 2004. It was a small company. After the release of the iphone in 2007, Google bought Android for 50 million to develop the software and Andy Rubin was appointed as head of the division

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

Jelly Bean(4.1,4.2,4.3)


 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.

​​Quick Search

Improved Camera, Camcorder, Gallery

New Android Market

Text-to-speech engine



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
Quick Contact
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
Digital Zoom
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

Flash Support

​Gmail Auto-Advance

Twitter Integration

​Drop-out Menus

​Improved Application Manager​

Better Camera Controls

JavaScript-Heavy Webapps Work Well

Ginger​ bread(2.3)

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

Multimedia enhancements

Gyroscope and other new sensors, for improved 3D motion processing

Honey comb(3.0)

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

​Redesigned keyboard

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

Resizable widgets

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

Face Unlock

Jelly Bean(4.1,4.2)

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

Display manager

Presentation window

New Media Capabilities

Renderscript Computation

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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