What is Android?

Android is a mobile operating system that is based on a modified version of Linux. It was originally developed by a startup of the same name, Android, Inc. In 2005, as part of its strategy to enter the mobile space, Google purchased Android and took over its development work (as well as its develop- ment team).

Google wanted Android to be open and free; hence, most of the Android code was released under   the open-source Apache License, which means that anyone who wants to use Android can do so by downloading the full Android source code. Moreover, vendors (typically hardware manufacturers)  can add their own proprietary extensions to Android and customize Android to differentiate their products from others. This simple development model makes Android very attractive and has thus piqued the interest of many vendors. This has been especially true for companies affected by the phe- nomenon of Apple’s iPhone, a hugely successful product that revolutionized the smartphone industry. Such companies include Motorola and Sony Ericsson, which for many years have been developing their own mobile operating systems. When the iPhone was launched, many of these manufacturers had to scramble to find new ways of revitalizing their products. These manufacturers see Android as   a solution — they will continue to design their own hardware and use Android as the operating sys- tem that powers it.

The main advantage of adopting Android is that it offers a unified approach to application development. Developers need only develop for Android, and their applications should be able to run on numerous different devices, as long as the devices are powered using Android. In the world of smartphones, appli- cations are the most important part of the success chain. Device manufacturers therefore see Android as their best hope to challenge the onslaught of the iPhone, which already commands a large base of applications.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *