Android is an operating system for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. It is developed by the Open Handset Alliance led by Google.
Google purchased the initial developer of the software, Android Inc., on August 17, 2005. The unveiling of the Android distribution on November 5, 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 84 hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. Google released most of the Android code under the Apache License, a free software license.The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is tasked with the maintenance and further development of Android.
Android consists of a kernel based on the Linux kernel, with middleware, libraries and APIs written in C and application software running on an application framework which includes Java-compatible libraries based on Apache Harmony. Android uses the Dalvik virtual machine with just-in-time compilation to run Dalvik dex-code (Dalvik Executable), which is usually translated from Java bytecode.
Android has a large community of developers writing applications (“apps”) that extend the functionality of the devices. Developers write primarily in a customized version of Java. As of October 2011 there were more than 300,000 apps available for Android, and the estimated number of applications downloaded from the Android Market as of December 2011 exceeded 10 billion.Apps can be downloaded from third-party sites or through online stores such as Android Market, the app store run by Google.
Android was listed as the best-selling smartphone platform worldwide in Q4 2010 by Canalys with over 200 million Android devices in use by November 2011,across the several versions of the operating system. As of December 2011 there are over 700,000 Android devices activated every day.
Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is the latest version of the 2011 Android platform for phones, tablets, and more. It builds on the things people love most about Android — easy multitasking, rich notifications, customizable home screens, resizable widgets, and deep interactivity — and adds powerful new ways of communicating and sharing.