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Android™ is a computer operating system developed by Google® that is used to power several different types of gadgets. These Android™ gadgets include smartphones, tablet computers, ebook readers and accompanying software. Other gadgets in development as of 2011 include Android™ TV and an Android™ game console.
Android™ is mostly associated with a lineup of smartphones. The first Android™ smartphone released to the public was designed to be an alternative to the Apple® iPhone®. The Droid® quickly climbed the list of bestselling phones in the world. After the Droid®’s release, Android™ released several other smartphones that have sold with great success.
The phones are compatible with software designed for Android™ gadgets. These programs, or applications, are referred to as apps and are readily available for download via the phone’s Internet connection. The apps are used for entertainment, news and weather information, business productivity and personal organization. Android™ game apps are some of the most popular programs available for download.
Google® also became a player in the tablet computer market with several Android™-based gadgets, such as the Xoom® and the Tab®. These tablet computers come in various sizes and have become popular with Android™ enthusiasts and others. One of the most highly touted features of these gadgets is its ability to use the Adobe® Flash® player, which allows it to play more video and web content than many of its competitors.
Another popular feature of Android™ gadgets is the use of widgets. A widget is a program that is docked on the homescreen of these gadgets and allows the user to quickly access information or a software program. Popular Android™ widgets include those for weather, news, personal contacts, email, calendar and quick access to social media sites. New widgets become available on a daily basis and are often free to those using registered Android™ gadgets.
Though Android™ hasn’t had much success with a proprietary ebook reader, other Android™ gadgets, such as smartphones and tablet computers, can be used as ebook readers with the addition of ebook reader software. Android™ gadgets can be used to read many popular ebook formats, such as those used for Kindle®, Nook® and the iPad®. Many Android™ users download apps for several formats to have access to a wider range of titles.
Google® is expanding its line of Android™ gadgets, as of late 2011. It has released an Android™-powered television system and is entering the market of video game console systems. Many new Android™ gadgets, such as smartphones and tablet computers with faster Internet connections and higher processing power, also are in the works.
Android seems to pop up in places you wouldn't expect these days. Take the upcoming Hyperkin Retron5, for example. That is a device that will play Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Genesis and Game Boy carts and accepts the original controllers from those systems (well, accept for Game Boy but that should be obvious). It appears to be an emulator that is built on Android.
By the way, the proliferation of Android should come as no surprise. The mobile OS is built on Linux and that operating system has been around for years and is very flexible.
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