What is Android?

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Following its official release on September 23, 2008, Android has received tremendous response from the users worldwide. It started as a smartphone OS, then moved into tablets, phablets. And now, it is incorporated in wearables (Android Glass, watch), automobile, and television. As a common technical user, it is a common question to ask, “What is Android?”.

So, what is Android?

This doubt could be cleared better by the definition provided by the group which maintains Android.

Open Handset Alliance describes Android as

Androidâ„¢ delivers a complete set of software for mobile devices: an operating system, middleware and key mobile applications.

Open Handset Alliance (OHA)

Android is developed and maintained by a group of organizations, together they are called Open Handset Alliance (OHA). This group comprises of 84 technology companies categorized as
– Mobile Operators,
– Handset Manufacturers,
– Semiconductor Companies,
– Software Companies, and
– Commercialization Companies.

This consortium is responsible for accelerating innovation in mobile and offer consumers a richer, less expensive, and better mobile experience.

Android is based on Linux kernel. It runs applications on Dalvik Runtime and Android Runtime (ART). Android started with Dalvik Runtime and in KitKat, it provided an alternative runtime, i.e. Android Runtime. And, in Lollipop Android Runtime was made official runtime for Android devices.

What applications run on Android

Android runs applications packaged in apk format. This package contains compiled source code and resource files such as fonts, images and other media files used in the application.

Official marketplace for Android applications is Google Play. Here, developers from around the globe upload applications created by them. These developer applications also include applications from Google as well as any other developer. Even you could upload applications here, after registration and payment of $25.