Android is a mobile operating system (OS) based on the Linux kernel that is currently developed by Google. With a user interface based on direct manipulation, Android is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, with specialized user interfaces for televisions (Android TV), cars (Android Auto), and wrist watches (Android Wear). The OS uses touch inputs that loosely correspond to real-world actions, like swiping, tapping, pinching, and reverse pinching to manipulate on-screen objects, and a virtual keyboard. Despite being primarily designed for touchscreen input, it also has been used in game consoles, digital cameras, and other electronics. As of 2011, Android has the largest installed base of any mobile OS and as of 2013, its devices also sell more than Windows, iOS, and Mac OS devices combined. As of July 2013 the Google Play store has had over 1 million Android apps published, and over 50 billion apps downloaded. A developer survey conducted in April–May 2013 found that 71% of mobile developers develop for Android. At Google I/O 2014, the company revealed that there were over 1 billion active monthly Android users (that have been active for 30 days), up from 538 million in June 2013. Android's source code is released by Google under open source licenses, although most Android devices ultimately ship with a combination of open source and proprietary software. 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. Android is popular with technology companies which require a ready-made, low-cost and customizable operating system for high-tech devices. Android's open nature has 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. The operating system's success has made it a target for patent litigation as part of the so-called "smartphone wars" between technology companies History
See also: Android version history
Android, Inc. was founded in Palo Alto, California in October 2003 by Andy Rubin (co-founder of Danger), Rich Miner (co-founder of Wildfire Communications, Inc.), Nick Sears (once VP at T-Mobile), and Chris White (headed design and interface development at WebTV) 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 realized 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; 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...
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