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.
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. On June 27, 2012, at the Google I/O conference, Google announced the next Android version, 4.1 Jelly Bean. Jelly Bean is an incremental update, with the primary aim of improving the user interface, both in terms of functionality and performance.
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.
Why Android ?
Features of Android
Android is a powerful operating system competing with Apple 4GS and supports great features. Few of them are listed below:
Beautiful UI: Android OS basic screen provides a beautiful and intuitive user interface.
Connectivity :GSM/EDGE, IDEN, CDMA, EV-DO, UMTS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LTE, NFC and WiMAX.
Storage:SQLite, a lightweight relational database, is used for data storage purposes.
Media support :H.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
Messaging :SMS and MMS
Multi-touch :Android has native support for multi-touch which was initially made available in handsets such as the HTC Hero.
Multi-tasking :User can jump from one task to another and same time various application can run simultaneously.
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,SlideME,Opera Mobile Store,Mobango,F-droid and 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.
History of Android
The code names of android ranges from A to L currently, such as Aestro, Blender, Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwitch, Jelly Bean, KitKat and Lollipop. Let's understand the android history in a sequence.
Set-up Java Development Kit (JDK)
You can download the latest version of Java JDK from Oracle's Java site: Java SE Downloads. You will find instructions for installing JDK in downloaded files, follow the given instructions to install and configure the setup. Finally set PATH and JAVA_HOME environment variables to refer to the directory that contains java and javac, typically java_install_dir/bin and java_install_dir respectively.
If you are running Windows and installed the JDK in C:\jdk1.6.0_15, you would have to put the following line in your C:\autoexec.bat file.
Alternatively, you could also right-click on My Computer, select Properties, then Advanced, then Environment Variables. Then, you would update the PATH value and press the OK button. On Linux, if the SDK is installed in /usr/local/jdk1.6.0_15 and you use the C shell, you would put the following code into your .cshrc file. Alternatively, if you use an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) Eclipse, then it will know automatically where you have installed your Java.
This category encompasses those Java-based libraries that are specific to Android development. Examples of libraries in this category include the application framework libraries in addition to those that facilitate user interface building, graphics drawing and database access. A summary of some key core Android libraries available to the Android developer is as follows −
android.app :Provides access to the application model and is the cornerstone of all Android applications.
android.content :Facilitates content access, publishing and messaging between applications and application components.
android.database :Used to access data published by content providers and includes SQLite database management classes.
android.opengl:A Java interface to the OpenGL ES 3D graphics rendering API.
android.os :Provides applications with access to standard operating system services including messages, system services and inter-process communication.
android.text :Used to render and manipulate text on a device display.
android.view :The fundamental building blocks of application user interfaces.
android.widget :A rich collection of pre-built user interface components such as buttons, labels, list views, layout managers, radio buttons etc.
android.webkit :A set of classes intended to allow web-browsing capabilities to be built into applications.
Having covered the Java-based core libraries in the Android runtime, it is now time to turn our attention to the C/C++ based libraries contained in this layer of the Android software stack.
This is the third section of the architecture and available on the second layer from the bottom. This section provides a key component called Dalvik Virtual Machine which is a kind of Java Virtual Machine specially designed and optimized for Android.
The Dalvik VM makes use of Linux core features like memory management and multi-threading, which is intrinsic in the Java language. The Dalvik VM enables every Android application to run in its own process, with its own instance of the Dalvik virtual machine.
The Android runtime also provides a set of core libraries which enable Android application developers to write Android applications using standard Java programming language.
The Application Framework layer provides many higher-level services to applications in the form of Java classes. Application developers are allowed to make use of these services in their applications.
The Android framework includes the following key services −
Activity Manager : Controls all aspects of the application lifecycle and activity stack.
Content Providers :Allows applications to publish and share data with other applications.
Resource Manager :Provides access to non-code embedded resources such as strings, color settings and user interface layouts.
Notifications Manager :Allows applications to display alerts and notifications to the user.
View System :An extensible set of views used to create application user interfaces.