Probably ‘Android’ is the most common word now that almost everyone we know. But, if you ask to the people what is Android? Maximum people will be mute after telling like these – “Android is Smartphone, or Mobile phone and you can use apps on it”… very little! So, here is my little effort to give you some dependable information about Android to understand easily.
Android isn’t just only a phone, or an application. It’s an open source operating system based on Linux kernel and developed by Google Inc. For being open source, other companies can use this operating system and use it in their mobile devices, but have to pay a charge to Google. Android is the customizable and easy to use operating system that powers more
than a billion devices across the globe – like phones and tablets, watches, TV, cars and more. But, it is designed with only mobile in mind and on smartphones it is dominant by any metric.
Android OS is divided into various versions, implying significant jumps in features, operation, and stability. Every version has its own identification number and code name. Perhaps, you have heard some of the code names or number, like: Lollipop 5.1, or Marshmallow 6.0. Here, Lollipop and Marshmallow is Code Name, other hand 5.1 and 6.0 is version number. If you own an Android made by the primary manufacturers, they provide you Android Version updates on a timely schedule. Generally the time six to nine months long.
Android is a power house has become the number one mobile operating system. As of May 2013, 900 million Android devices had been activated. And, according the report of the IDC worldwide smartphone shipment, Q4 2012, Android owned 52 percent of the U.S. mobile market share and an astounding 70 percent globally.
The primary manufacturers of the Android smartphones and tablets are HTC, Motorola, and Samsung, however today we see more. Most modern smartphones and tablets usually have a skin on top of the Operating System. A skin, or UI overlay is basically a custom design, which adds extra features to your phone, like: different icons, launchers, and other tweaks designed to provide an experience unique to your chosen phone maker (Samsung TouchWiz, HTC Sense, and LG UI has the most popular skins). A Smartphone or Tablet without any major customizations is generally referred to as “stock Android”. And, UIs with only minor changes (such as found with Motorola phones) are often called near-stock.
Android is a very powerful Operating System that makes life more comfortable and advanced for the users. Its feature divided into main three parts, Interface, Applications, Power & Memory management. So, let’s take a look.
Android’s default user interface works mainly based on direct manipulation system, along with a virtual keyboard. Using touch inputs that nearly correspond to real-world actions – like: tapping, swiping, pinching, and reverse pinching to manipulate on-screen objects. Because of, the response to user input is designed to be immediate and provides a fluid touch interface. Internal hardware. Such as: accelerometers, gyroscopes and proximity sensors are used by some applications to respond to additional user actions; For example: adjusting the screen from portrait to landscape depending on how the device is oriented, or letting the user to steer a vehicle in a racing game by rotating the device.
Android allows users to adjust the look and feel of the devices to their tastes with its beautiful homescreen. Android homescreens are usually made up of app icons and widgets. Every app icon launch the associated app, where widgets display live, auto-updating content, such as the user’s email inbox, the weather forecast, or a news ticker directly on the homescreen. However, a homescreen may be made up of several pages; between which the user can swipe back and forth.
On the top of the screen is a status bar, which shows information about the device and its connectivity. You can pull down this status bar to reveal a notification screen, where apps display important information or updates. Such as: a newly received SMS text or email, in a way that does not immediately interrupt or difficulty to the user. The notifications are persistent until read by tapping it, which opens the relevant app, or you can dismiss by just sliding it off the screen. From the beginning of Android 4.1 version, “expanded notifications” can display expanded details or additional functionality, like: a “missed call” notification provides buttons for calling back or sending the caller an SMS message , or a music player can display playback controls.
Applications are usually called as “apps” that extend the functionality of devices and written using the Android software development kit (SDK). The SDK includes a comprehensive set of development tools, including a handset emulator based on QEMU, software libraries, a debugger, documentation, sample code, and tutorials.
Android has a growing selection of third-party applications, and you can download and install the application’s APK [Android application package] file, or download them using an application store program that allows you to install, update, and remove applications from their Android devices.
Google Play Store is the primary application store installed on Android devices as default that totally comply with Google’s compatibility requirements and license the Google Mobile Services software. Play Store allows you to browse, download and update applications published by Google and third-party developers. It’s amusing that till July 2013, there are more than one million applications available for Android in Google Play Store, and 50 billion applications have been installed worldwide.
Power & Memory Management:
From the beginning Android devices are normally battery-powered and designed to manage processes to keep power consumption at a minimum. So, when an application is not in use the system suspends its operation, and while available for immediate use rather than closed, it doesn’t use battery power or CPU resources.
Android nicely manages the applications stored in memory automatically. So, when memory is low, the system will begin invisibly and automatically closing inactive processes – of course starting with those that have been inactive for longest. However, sometimes we use third third-party task killers to do that, but some experts say those task- killer apps do more harm than good.
Android is getting more popular day by day, we all know. And, the future of Android is extremely bright and moving beyond Phones and Tablets to Other Areas, Like- Wearable Technology (Android Watch). Such as also, Samsung released the Samsung Galaxy Camera, a fully functional digital camera that runs Android. So, now we know what Android is, and in the end it’s all good.