Android is a mobile operating system developed primarily by Google and the Open Handset Alliance, and is based on a modified version of the Linux kernel. The operating system is an open source software and is designed primarily for touchscreen devices like smartphones and tablets, but it is also utilized in other devices like smart TVs, smartwatches, and automotive infotainment systems.
While most versions of Android are proprietary, the core Android components are taken from the Android Open Source Project, a free and open source software licensed under the Apache License.
Android was originally developed by Android, Inc., a company founded in 2003. In 2005, Google acquired Android, Inc., and started collaborating with various technology companies to develop an open-source mobile operating system. The first commercial version of Android, Android 1.0, was released in September 2008. Since then, Google has continued to release regular updates, introducing new features and improvements with each iteration of Android.
- User Interface: Android offers a flexible and customizable user interface, allowing users to personalize their devices with different themes, wallpapers, and home screen layouts. It supports various input methods, including touch gestures, voice commands, and virtual keyboards.
- App Ecosystem: One of the key strengths of Android is its extensive app ecosystem. Users can access millions of applications through the Google Play Store, offering a wide range of categories such as productivity, entertainment, social media, gaming, and more.
- Google Integration: As a product of Google, Android seamlessly integrates with Google services such as Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos. This integration allows users to sync data across devices and access a unified experience within the Google ecosystem.
- Multitasking and Notification Center: Android provides robust multitasking capabilities, allowing users to run multiple apps simultaneously and switch between them effortlessly. The notification center provides quick access to alerts, messages, and other notifications, ensuring users stay informed without interrupting their workflow.
- Customization Options: Android offers a high degree of customization, allowing users to personalize their devices to suit their preferences. This includes the ability to install custom launchers, widgets, and themes, enabling a unique and tailored user experience.
- Open-Source Nature: Android is based on the Linux kernel and is developed as an open-source project. This means that the source code is available to the public, encouraging collaboration and allowing device manufacturers and developers to modify and customize Android to suit their specific needs.
Versions and Updates
Android has gone through numerous versions and updates since its initial release. Each version is named after a dessert or sweet treat, following an alphabetical order. Some notable versions include the following.
- Android Cupcake (1.5)
- Android Donut (1.6)
- Android Eclair (2.0-2.1)
- Android Froyo (2.2)
- Android Gingerbread (2.3)
- Android Honeycomb (3.0-3.2)
- Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0)
- Android Jelly Bean (4.1-4.3)
- Android KitKat (4.4)
- Android Lollipop (5.0-5.1)
- Android Marshmallow (6.0)
- Android Nougat (7.0-7.1)
- Android Oreo (8.0-8.1)
- Android Pie (9.0)
- Android 10
- Android 11
- Android 12
- Android 13 (Latest)
Android 13 is the latest version of Android, released on August 15, 2022. It initially arrived on Google Pixel phones and was quickly rolled out to Samsung Galaxy devices. Subsequently, phones from OnePlus, Xiaomi, Nokia, and others slowly followed suit, receiving the Android 13 update.
Google regularly releases major updates and security patches to improve the functionality, performance, and security of the Android Operating System. These updates are delivered over-the-air (OTA) to compatible devices.