What is ANDROID?

What is ANDROID?

What is Android?

Android is an open source and Linux-based Operating System for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Android was developed by the Open Handset Alliance, led by Google, and other companies.

Android offers a unified approach to application development for mobile devices which means developers need only develop for Android, and their applications should be able to run on different devices powered by Android.

The first beta version of the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) was released by Google in 2007 where as the first commercial version, Android 1.0, was released in September 2008.

The source code for Android is available under free and open source software licenses. Google publishes most of the code under the Apache License version 2.0 and the rest, Linux kernel changes, under the GNU General Public License version 2.

Features of Android

Android is a powerful operating system competing with Apple 4GS and supports great features. Few of them are listed below:

FeatureDescription
Beautiful UIAndroid OS basic screen provides a beautiful and intuitive user interface.
ConnectivityGSM/EDGE, IDEN, CDMA, EV-DO, UMTS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LTE, NFC and WiMAX.
StorageSQLite, a lightweight relational database, is used for data storage purposes.
Media SupportH.263, H.264, MPEG-4 SP, AMR, AMR-WB, AAC, HE-AAC, AAC 5.1, MP3, MIDI, Ogg Vorbis, WAV, JPEG, PNG, GIF, and BMP.
MessagingSMS and MMS.
Web BrowserBased on the open-source WebKit layout engine, coupled with Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine supporting HTML5 and CSS3.
Multi-touchAndroid has native support for multi-touch which was initially made available in handsets such as the HTC Hero.
Multi-taskingUser can jump from one task to another and same time various application can run simultaneously.
Resizable widgetsWidgets are resizable, so users can expand them to show more content or shrink them to save space.
Multi-LanguageSupports single direction and bi-directional text.
GCMGoogle Cloud Messaging (GCM) is a service that lets developers send short message data to their users on Android devices, without needing a proprietary sync solution.
Wi-Fi DirectA technology that lets apps discover and pair directly, over a high-bandwidth peer-to-peer connection.
Android BeamA popular NFC-based technology that lets users instantly share, just by touching two NFC-enabled phones together.

Android Applications

Android applications are usually developed in the Java language using the Android Software Development Kit.

Once developed, Android applications can be packaged easily and sold out either through a store such as Google Play or the Amazon Appstore.

Android powers hundreds of millions of mobile devices in more than 190 countries around the world. It’s the largest installed base of any mobile platform and growing fast. Every day more than 1 million new Android devices are activated worldwide.

This tutorial has been written with an aim to teach you how to develop and package Android application. We will start from environment setup for Android application programming and then drill down to look into various aspects of Android applications.

Android Version History and Comparisons

 

Version name Key user features added Key developer features added Release date Android market share API Level
Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • Multiple SIM cards support
  • Quick settings shortcuts to join Wi-Fi networks or control Bluetooth devices
  • Lock protection if lost or stolen
  • High Definition voice call
  • Stability and performance enhancements
2015-03-09 3.3 % (5.0 – 5.1) 21
Android 5.0.2 Lollipop
  • Performance improvements and bug fixes
2014-12-19 3.3 % (5.0 – 5.1) 21
Android 5.0.1 Lollipop
  • bug fixes, fix issues with video playback and password failures
2014-12-02 3.3 % (5.0 – 5.1) 21
Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • New design (Material design)
  • Speed improvement
  • Battery consumption improvement
  • Several new API
  • Tracking battery consumption app
2014-10-17 3.3 % (5.0 – 5.1) 21
Android 4.4.4 KitKat
  • Fix Heartbleed / OpenSSL vulnerability
2014-06-23 40.9 % (4.4 – 4.4.4) 19
Android 4.4.3 KitKat
  • Bug fixes
  • Enable Sprint Spark band 26 and band 41
2014-04-14 40.9 % (4.4 – 4.4.4) 19
Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • Bug fixes
  • Security enhancements
2013-12-09 40.9 % (4.4 – 4.4.4) 19
Android 4.4.1 KitKat
  • Bug fixes
  • Enhance the camera on the Nexus 5
2013-12-05 40.9 % (4.4 – 4.4.4) 19
Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Screen recording
  • New Translucent system UI
  • Enhanced notification access
  • System-wide settings for closed captioning
  • Performance improvements
  • Public API for SMS management.
  • Improved memory usage
  • Security enhancements (SELinux enforcing mode, new cryptographic algorithms, VPN per user…)
  • NFC Host Card Emulation (for wireless payment, loyalty programs…)
  • Printing Framework
  • Storage Access Framework
  • Hardware Sensor Batching
  • Full-screen immersive mode
  • GLES2.0 SurfaceFlinger
  • Chromium WebView
  • Audio tunneling to DSP
  • Audio monitoring
  • Wi-Fi certified Miracast
  • New Bluetooth profile
  • IR Blasters API
  • Wi-Fi Tunneled Direct Link Setup (TDLS) support
  • Tools for analyzing memory use (procstats, on-device memory status and profiling)
2013-10-31 40.9 % (4.4 – 4.4.4) 19
Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
  • Dial pad auto-complete
  • Photo Sphere enhancements
  • Camera app UI updated
  • 4K resolution support
  • Ability to create restricted profiles for tablets
  • Hebrew and Arabic right-to-left (RTL) support
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) support
  • Bluetooth Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) 1.3 support
  • Security and performance enhancements
  • OpenGL for Embedded Systems 3.0 graphics support
  • Logging and analyzing enhancements
  • Wi-Fi scanning API
  • Improved DRM (digital rights management) API
  • VP8 encoding
2013-07-24 5.9 % (4.3) 18
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
  • Allow toggling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth state in Quick Settings using long-press
  • Shows the percentage and estimated time remaining in the active download notifications
  • Wireless charging and low battery sounds changed
  • Gallery app updated for faster loading with new image transition
  • Performance enhancements and bug fixes (Bluetooth A2DP audio streaming fix…)
  • Secure USB debugging (allow debugging to authenticated computers only)
2013-02-11 19.4 % (4.2 – 4.2.2) 17
Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean
  • Fix missing december bug in the People app
  • Add support for Bluetooth gamepads and joysticks HID devices
2012-11-27 19.4 % (4.2 – 4.2.2) 17
Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • Lockscreen widgets
  • 360 degree images with Photo Sphere
  • Gesture Typing, for faster typing
  • Wireless display with Miracast
  • Daydream to display information when idle or docked
  • Multi-user for tablets
  • vsync timing
  • Triple buffering
  • reduced touch latency
  • CPU input boost
  • Native RTL support – mirrors the display from manifest prop
  • External display support – Display Manager
  • Nested fragments
  • Renderscript Compute – run tasks on the GPU (supported devices)
  • Renderscript ScriptGroups, built-in intrinsics like blur,
  • FilterScript is a subset of Renderscript made for high performance image processing
2012-11-13 19.4 % (4.2 – 4.2.2) 17
Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
  • Enable Home screen rotation
  • Fix bugs and enhance performances
2012-10-09 17.3 % (4.1 – 4.1.2) 16
Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean
  • Fix a bug on screen orientation
2012-07-23 17.3 % (4.1 – 4.1.2) 16
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • Google Now ( http://youtu.be/pPqliPzHYyc )
  • Voice Search
  • Speed enhancements
  • Camera app improvements
  • Accessibility: gesture mode, enable braille external keyboards…
  • app stack navigation to define a parent activity in manifest for deep navigation
  • MediaActionSound class to make sounds like when a camera takes a photo
  • NFC supports large payloads over bluetooth
  • WIFI/WIFI-Direct service discovery
  • Large, detailed, multi-action notifications
  • Input manager allows you to query input devices
2012-07-09 17.3 % (4.1 – 4.1.2) 16
Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • stability improvements
  • better camera performance
  • smoother screen rotation
2012-03-28 5.9 % (4.0.3 – 4.0.4) 15
Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Social stream API in Contacts provider to show updates associated to your contacts
  • Video stabilization and QVGA video resolution API access
  • Accessibility API refinements for screen readers
  • Calendar provider updates
2011-12-16 5.9 % (4.0.3 – 4.0.4) 15
Android 4.0.1 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Facial recognition (Face Unlock)
  • UI use Hardware acceleration
  • Better voice recognition (dictating/Voice typing)
  • Web browser, allows up to 16 tabs
  • Updated launcher (customizable)
  • Android Beam app to exchange data through NFC
2011-10-19 0 % 14
Android 4.0.2 Ice Cream Sandwich Minor fixes 2011-11-28 0 % 14
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • New lock screen actions
  • Improved text input and spell-checking
  • Control over network data
  • Email app supports EAS v14
  • WI-FI direct
  • BlueTooth Health Device Profile
  • Low-level streaming multimedia (Khronos OpenMAX AL
  • Grid Layout
  • Spell checking service
  • Address Space Layout Randomization
  • VPN client API
  • Remote Device camera enable/disable
  • ZSL exposure, continuous focus, and image zoom
  • Flags to help control system ui elements like system bar from apps
2011-10-18 0 % 14
Android 3.2.6 Honeycomb Minor fixes 2012-02-15 0 % 13
Android 3.2.4 Honeycomb Added “Pay as you go” for tablets 2011-12-15 0 % 13
Android 3.2.2 Honeycomb Minor fixes 2011-09-30 0 % 13
Android 3.2.1 Honeycomb
  • Android Market updates including easier automatic updates
  • Google Books updates
  • Wi-Fi improvements
  • Chinese handwriting prediction improved
2011-09-20 0 % 13
Android 3.2 Honeycomb
  • Optimizations for a wider range of tablets
  • Compatibility display mode (zoom for fixed-sized apps)
  • Media sync from SD card
  • Extended API for managing screens support
    • New resource qualifiers for screens support
    • New manifest attributes for screen-size compatibility
    • Screen compatibility mode which allows for phone apps to appear as if they were still on a phone
2011-07-15 0 % 13
Android 3.1 Honeycomb
  • UI improvements
  • Open Accessory API
  • USB host API
  • Mice, joysticks, gamepads… support
  • Resizable Home screen widgets
  • MTP notifications
  • RTP API for audio
2011-05-10 0 % 12
Android 3.0 Honeycomb
  • Multi core support
  • Better tablet support
  • Updated 3D UI
    • customizable homescreens
    • recent applications viewing
    • redone keyboard layout
  • Media/Picture transport protocol
  • Google Talk video chat
  • Google eBooks
  • “Private browsing”
  • System-wide Clipboard
  • HTTP Live streaming
  • contextual action bar
  • Fragments first introduced(support library now supports it as well)
  • Hardware-accelerated 2D graphics
  • Renderscript 3D graphics engine
  • Pluggable DRM framework
  • device administration
  • High performance Animation Framework
  • RTP streaming API
  • Forced rendering of layers
  • High performance WIFI lock
  • Vew network traffic stats
  • ADTS AAC and FLAC audio
  • LRU cache
2011-02-22 0 % 11
Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread
  • Google Wallet support for the Nexus S 4G
2011-09-21 6.9 % (2.3.3 – 2.3.7) 10
Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread
  • Voice search issue fixed
2011-09-02 6.9 % (2.3.3 – 2.3.7) 10
Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread
  • Improved network performance for the Nexus S 4G
  • Fixed Bluetooth issues on the Samsung Galaxy S
  • Gmail app. improvements
2011-07-25 6.9 % (2.3.3 – 2.3.7) 10
Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread
  • Voice or video chat using Google Talk
  • Open Accessory API
2011-05-10 6.9 % (2.3.3 – 2.3.7) 10
Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread
  • NFC API improvements (peer to peer communication…)
  • added unsecure bluetooth sockets
2011-02-09 6.9 % (2.3.3 – 2.3.7) 10
Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • Updated UI
  • Improved keyboard ease of use
  • Improved copy/paste
  • Improved power management
  • Social networking features
  • Near Field Communication support
  • Native VoIP/SIP support
  • Video call support
  • performance – concurrent garbage collection, faster event distribution, updated video drivers
  • NDK – Native Asset Manager, Native Activities + event handling, khronos api
  • audio effects api
  • VP8, WebM, AAC, AMR wideband
  • Multiple camera sensor support
  • strictmode debugging
  • media framework replaces OpenCore
2010-12-06 0 % (2.3 – 2.3.2) 9
Android 2.2 Froyo
  • Speed improvements
  • JIT implementation
  • USB Tethering
  • Applications installation to the expandable memory
  • Upload file support in the browser
  • Animated GIFs
2010-05-20 0.4 % (2.2) 8
Android 2.1 Eclair
  • Updated UI
2010-01-12 0 % 7
Android 2.0.1 Eclair 2009-12-03 0 % 6
Android 2.0 Eclair
  • HTML
  • Digital zoom
  • Microsoft Exchange support
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • Live Wallpapers
  • Updated UI
2009-10-26 0 % 5
Android 1.6 Donut
  • Gesture framework
  • Turn-by-turn navigation
2009-09-15 0 % 4
Android 1.5 Cupcake
  • Bluetooth A2DP, AVRCP support
  • Soft-keyboard with text-prediction
  • Record/watch videos
2009-04-30 0 % 3
Android 1.1 Banana bread
  • “Show” & “Hide” numeric keyboard, in caller application
  • Ability to save MMS attachments
2009-02-09 0 % 2
Android 1.0 Apple pie
  • Download and updates via Android Market
  • Web Browser
  • Camera support
  • Gmail, Contacts and Google Agenda synchronization
  • Google Maps
  • YouTube application
2008-09-23 0 % 1
Android 0.9

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