What is Android? Introduction to the Android Operating System
Adam Parnala | On 11, Mar 2012
Android‘s popularity nowadays cannot be denied as it was on fire due to its many features and offers almost unlimited possibilities to anyone’s android device. Today i will dish some things to know about android for future users who are looking for some information about the planet’s hottest smartphone and tablet Operating System.
What is Android?
Android is an operating for smartphones and tablets based on the linux. Android was purchase by Google from its original developer and unveiled its distribution in 2007 with formation of Open Handset Alliance led by Google.
- Android beta v1.0 (2007)
- Android v1.1 (2009)
- Android v1.5 Cupcake (April 2009)
- Android v1.6 Donut (September 2009)
- Android v2.0/2.1 Eclair (January 2010)
- Android v2.2.x Froyo (May 2010)
- Android v2.3.x Gingerbread (December 2010)
- Android v3.x Honeycomb (February 2011)
- Android v4.x Ice Cream Sandwich (October 2011)
- Android v5.x Jelly Bean (Unannounced)
Android has many developers for apps and games and lots of great can be downloaded for free and some comes with a fee from the Android Market. The Android Market was now replaced by Google Play Store but it still offers the same features. The applications are usually developed by the use of Java language but others are also applicable such as C and C++.
Rooting gives you access to the system of your phone making it possible to add tweaks to your system, run special root-only apps, add or edit codes, or even delete the unwanted system files and many more.
Flashing a ROM
Users can flash and install different ROMs (if available) to their device. An official update is available thru the instructions given by the manufacturer to update your phone while Custom ROMs offers different types of installation such as using recovery like the ClockWorkMod Recovery or using a PC.
Custom ROMs are modified Android ROMs by a developer to push some modifications and tweaks to the system and make the device run smoother and faster. It also showcases many options and gives more space to customize your phone as you wish because mos of them are rooted upon installation.
Current features and specifications:
- Handset layouts
The platform is adaptable to larger, VGA, 2D graphics library, 3D graphics library based on OpenGL ES 2.0 specifications, and traditional smartphone layouts.
SQLite, a lightweight relational database, is used for datastorage purposes.
Android supports connectivity technologies includingGSM/EDGE, IDEN, CDMA, EV-DO, UMTS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi,LTE, NFC and WiMAX.
SMS and MMS are available forms of messaging, including threaded text messaging and now Android Cloud To Device Messaging (C2DM) is also a part of Android Push Messaging service.
- Multiple language support
Android supports multiple languages.
- Web browser
- Java support
While most Android applications are written in Java, there is no Java Virtual Machine in the platform and Java byte code is not executed. Java classes are compiled into Dalvik executables and run on Dalvik, a specialized virtual machine designed specifically for Android and optimized for battery-powered mobile devices with limited memory and CPU. J2ME support can be provided via third-party applications.
- Media support
Android supports the following audio/video/still media formats: WebM, H.263, H.264 (in 3GP orMP4 container), MPEG-4 SP, AMR, AMR-WB (in 3GP container), AAC, HE-AAC (in MP4 or 3GP container), MP3, MIDI, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, WAV, JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP.
- Streaming media support
RTP/RTSP streaming (3GPP PSS, ISMA), HTML progressive download (HTML5 and by the operating system in Android 3.0 (Honeycomb).
- Additional hardware support
Android can use video/still cameras, touchscreens, GPS, accelerometers, gyroscopes,barometers,
magnetometers, dedicated gaming controls, proximity and pressure sensors,thermometers, accelerated 2D bit blits (with hardware orientation, scaling, pixel format conversion) and accelerated 3D graphics.
Android has native support for multi-touch which was initially made available in handsets such as the HTC Hero. The feature was originally disabled at the kernel level (possibly to avoid infringing Apple’s patents on touch-screen technology at the time). Google has since released an update for the Nexus One and the Motorola Droid which enables multi-touch natively.
Supports A2DP, AVRCP, sending files (OPP), accessing the phone book (PBAP), voice dialing and sending contacts between phones. Keyboard, mouse and joystick (HID) support is available in Android 3.1+, and in earlier versions through manufacturer customizations and third-party applications.
- Video calling
Android does not support native video calling, but some handsets have a customized version of the operating system that supports it, either via the UMTS network (like the Samsung Galaxy S) or over IP. Video calling through Google Talk is available in Android 2.3.4 and later. Gingerbread allows Nexus S to place Internet calls with a SIP account. This allows for enhanced VoIP dialing to other SIP accounts and even phone numbers. Skype 2.1 offers video calling in Android 2.3, including front camera support.
Multitasking of applications is available.
- Voice based features
Google search through voice has been available since initial release. Voice actions for calling, texting, navigation, etc. are supported on Android 2.2 onwards.
Android supports tethering, which allows a phone to be used as a wireless/wired Wi-Fi hotspot. Before Android 2.2 this was supported by third-party applications or manufacturer customizations.
- Screen capture
Android supports capturing a screenshot by pressing the power and volume-down buttons at the same time. Prior to Android 4.0, the only methods of capturing a screenshot were through manufacturer and third-party customizations or otherwise by using a PC connection (DDMS developer’s tool). These alternative methods are still available with the latest Android.
- External storage
Most Android devices include microSD slot and can read microSD cards formatted with FAT32,Ext3fs or Ext4fs file system. To allow use of high-capacity storage media such as USB flash drivesand USB HDDs, many Android tablets also include USB ‘A’ receptacle. Storage formatted withFAT32 is handled by Linux Kernel VFAT driver, while 3rd party solutions are required to handle other popular file systems such as NTFS, HFS Plus and exFAT.
- Source of features and for more information and if you have anymore questions on what is android : Go to Wikipedia.org