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Since its initial launch on the T-Mobile G1 in October of 2008, Google's Android operating system has evolved rapidly, perhaps more rapidly than any other operating system in recent memory, to become one of the most important and prolific smartphone platforms in the market today.
The Android OS is the name of the Linux based operating system owned by Google and supported by the Open Handset Alliance. Android is used as an operating system for devices such as cell phones, tablets and netbooks. Google bought the original developer of the software, Android Inc., in 2005. Android's kernel (core of the OS) was derived from Linux but has been modified by Google developers. Android is also open source, which means developers can customize the OS for different phones and applications. This is why different phones may have different looking graphical interfaces and features even though they are running the same OS. Android OS is completely open source, which means that developers can use the core OS functions to develop applications, unlike iphone OS which is a closed system.
The version history of the Android operating system began with the release of version 1.0 in September 2008. Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance. Android has seen a number of updates since its original release. These updates to the base operating system typically fix bugs and add new features. Generally, each version is developed under a code name based on a dessert item. The code names were released in alphabetic order: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and Ice Cream Sandwich.
Like Apple's Appstore, Google opened its Android market, allowing the apps developers to publish their apps without any restrictions. Unlike Apple's Appstore, Google Android market does not have any restrictions for third party development and will not run an apps approval system. Android is an open source platform. The entire stack, from low-level Linux modules all the way to native libraries, and from the application framework to complete applications, is totally open. More so, Android is licensed under business-friendly licenses (Apache/MIT) so that others can freely extend it and use it for variety of purposes. Even some third-party open source libraries that were brought into the Android stack were rewritten under new license terms. Therefore, every developer has access to the entire platform source code.
There are several advantages of the Android OS for developers, besides the fact that it’s completely open source, let’s mention a few:
• The entire Application framework can be reused and replaced by selective components
• Wi-Fi network applications support (Depends on hardware)
• Dalvik virtual machine enhances the power management systems
• Supports 2D and 3D graphics