Android™ is a computing platform designed for use in some smart phones and other devices. This technology, which is owned by Google, Inc., includes an operating system, software, and applications. The operating system is based on Linux®, which provides advanced computer processing. Android™ technology is maintained and continually developed by the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).
History of Android™
Google purchased Android Inc., a 22-month-old Palo Alto, California, startup in July 2005. Android Inc. was co-founded by Andy Rubin, maker of mobile device Danger Inc.™ The purchase was key in Google's move into the wireless technology market. In 2008, Google introduced the HTC Dream™ as the first marketed phone to use Android™ technology. Since that time, this platform use has expanded to other smart phones, tablet computers, E-readers, netbooks, and other devices.
Although Android™ technology is increasingly being used on a range of devices, the most common hardware to use this platform is mobile phones. A large community of developers regularly write applications (apps), including games, social networking, and business modules, for Android™ smart phones. There are a wide range of free Android™ apps, including games and productivity titles, and paid apps are even more common. Android™ products — which are used by thousands of developers because they are freely available for download — has given software developers the opportunity to sell their creations to a wide group of consumers.
Programming for Android™
Android™ technology is based on Java® software applications. This technology requires the use of a special software development kit (SDK) to create applications for an Android™ device. The SDK is freely available for download from the Internet. For this reason, and because it will work on multiple operating systems, many software developers prefer Android™ products over those used in other smart phones.
Smart phones have evolved into devices that use touch screens for navigation. Android™ technology provides specific application programming interface (API) modules to developers that take advantage of this. The touch screen enables the user to select and scroll through information with the stroke of a finger.
How Android™ Is Different
One of the key differences between Android™ technology and other smart phone systems is that it is open for modification. This gives vendors the opportunity to change and enhance their products based on their own preferences. This has created many versions of Android™ phones, which can vary by vendor, as well as a range of other devices that use this platform. In 2011, Google introduced a new arena for Android™ when it announced plans to launch Android@Home, a network that could allow users to automate and control home appliances.