Android is an operating system for mobile devices such as smart phones and tablet computers. It is developed by the Open Handset Alliance led by Google. Google purchased the initial developer of the software, Android Inc., in 2005.The unveiling of the Android distribution on November 5, 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 84 hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. Google released most of the Android code under the Apache License, a free software license. The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is tasked with the maintenance and further development of Android. Android consists of a kernel based on the Linux kernel, 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 compiled Java code. Android has a large community of developers writing applications ("apps") that extend the functionality of the devices. Developers write primarily in a customized version of Java. There are currently more than 520,000 apps available for Android. Apps can be downloaded from third-party sites or through online stores such as Android Market, the app store run by Google. Android was listed as the best-selling Smartphone platform worldwide in Q4 2010 by Canalys.
The Open Handset Alliance
Open Handset Alliance, is a consortium of several companies which include Google, HTC, Intel, Motorola, Qualcomm, T-Mobile, Sprint Nextel and NVIDIA, ... These companies which aim to develop technologies that will significantly lower the cost of developing and distributing mobile devices and services. The Android platform is the first step in this direction -- a fully integrated mobile "software stack" that consists of an operating system, middleware, user-friendly interface and applications. License Android is under version 2 of the Apache Software License (ASL). The Apache license allows manufacturers and mobile operators to innovate using the platform without the requirement to contribute those innovations back to the open source community.
Android has seen a number of updates since its original release, each fixing bugs and adding new features. Each version is named, in alphabetical order, after a dessert. The code names are in alphabetical order (Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich) Recent releases
* 2.3 Gingerbread refined the user interface, improved the soft keyboard and copy/paste features, improved gaming performance, SIP support (VoIP calls), and added support for Near Field Communication. Android 2.3 Gingerbread is the latest Android version that is available to phones. * 3.0 Honeycomb was a tablet-oriented release which supports larger screen devices and introduces many new user interface features, and supports multicore processors and hardware acceleration for graphics.[ The Honeycomb SDK has been released and the first device featuring this version, the Motorola Xoom tablet, went on sale in February 2011. * 3.1 Honeycomb was announced at the 2011 Google I/O on 10 May 2011. One feature focuses on allowing Honeycomb devices to directly transfer content from USB devices. * 3.2 Honeycomb released at July 15 2011, is "an incremental release that adds several new capabilities for users and developers". Highlights include optimization for a broader range of screen sizes; new "zoom-to-fill" screen compatibility mode; capability to load media files directly from the SD card; and an extended screen support API, providing developers with more precise control over the UI. Android 3.2 Honeycomb is the latest Android version that is available to tablets.
Ice Cream Sandwich is said to be a combination of Gingerbread and Honeycomb into a...