Android is an operating system created for various mobile devices, as smart-phones or tablets, and it was developed by Open Handset Alliance, a company led by Google. In the fourth quarter of 2010, Android was listed by Canalys as the best selling platform for smart-phones, in all over the world. When we are speaking about Android we think automatically at Google, but behind this operating system there are also many companies involved, and that have made possible the continuous development of Android.
The history of Google Android began with the acquisition of Android Inc by Google, in August 2005. In 2007, was formed a consortium with 84 software, hardware and telecommunication companies, under the name of Open Handset Alliance. This consortium was created with the goal of developing advanced standards for mobiles. The majority of Android codes were issued by Google, using a free software license, namely Apache License. The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) was created with the goal of assuring the maintenance and the continuous development of Android OS. In order to assure the functionality, Android is based on Linux kernel, and the libraries, middle-ware and APIs are written in C. The software application is running using a framework that has incorporated libraries compatible with Java, and that are based on the Apache Harmony. For the in-time compilation, Android is using the Dalvik virtual machine, for running the Dalvik executable, that in most of the cases is translated from the Java byte code.
In what regards the applications available for Android, these are created by third party developers, that have formed a large community. These applications are extending the functionality of Android devices. In December 2011, there were counted around 380.000 apps available for Android devices, and the number of downloads has exceeded 10 billion. The Android apps can be downloaded directly from developer's website, and from online stores.
Android Market in the most representative online store, from where owners of Android devices can download lots of useful and interesting applications. Most of the Android apps are developed in Java language, available with the Android Software Development Kit. Developers can also use other tools, as Google App Inventor or a Native Development Kit. At present, Android is running on a large number of mobile phones and tablets, issued by various manufacturers as Acer, HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Alcatel, Cherry mobile, Huawei and many more others.
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