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Android: A Broad Overview

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Android is undoubtedly the king of mobile operating systems. Since 2011, it has been the best-selling operating system for smartphones and tablets since 2013. At present, Android commands 2 billion+ active users (monthly) which is the biggest for any OS around the globe. So, what is Android? Well, the post below offers a detailed overview of the operating system.

What is Android?

Android can be defined as a popular operating system for mobile and smartphones by Google. It was originally developed by a tech company called Android Inc. that was bought by Google in the year 2005. The Android operating system is developed on an advanced version of the Linux kernel as well as other famous open-source software programs. As it is based on the open-source program, the Android interface can be easily customized by developers.

Google officially launched android in the year 2007. The first Android commercial device, HTC Dream, was launched in 2008.

The Android operating system is primarily meant for smartphones and tablets while Google has also developed Android programs for TV, cars, and wearables. Each of these Android programs carries its specialized UI. Android variants are also available for digital cameras, gaming consoles, PCs as well as many other electronic items.

Android is used by the broadest suite of smartphone and tablet makers. Some of the most renowned of these are Samsung, HTC, Panasonic, Motorola and so on.

The logo of Android is a tiny green robot.

Android versions

Android released its 9.0 version in August 2018. It’s the ninth major update from Android and represents the 16th version from the esteemed operating system. At present, it is available for Essential Phone and Google Pixel systems.

The latest 9.0 Pie version is based on the state of the art technologies of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The new technologies ensure more simplistic operation & optimized the user experience for Pie users. Sony Xperia XZ3 is the first Android phone with Pie version.

Each of the versions of Android (since 1.5 version) is named after a candy based on the consecutive alphabet letters. It started with “Cupcake” for the version released just after 1.5, and the latest one is called “Pie.” In between, there were KitKat, Lollipop, Jelly Bean, Marshmallow and so on.

Android apps

Android’s Google Play Store is the largest marketplace for apps today. This is exactly where the mobile app development companies or individual app developers publish their applications for the users to download. The market currently features 3.3 million+ apps. The top 10 categories of Android apps are:

  • Communication
  • Tools
  • Social
  • Travel and Local
  • Video playing and editing
  • Music and audio
  • Productivity
  • Entertainment
  • Books and reference
  • News and Magazine

Top advantages of the Android operating system

There are several reasons while Android is the most popular and best-selling mobile & tablet operating system today. Here is a brief on the best advantages of Android.

Easy customization

As mentioned previously, Android is based on open-source software programs which means it offers easy customization facilities for device manufacturers. Thus, you may find different user interfaces on various Android smartphones. Some of the most popular customized Android UI is TouchWiz by Samsung, Emotion by Huawei and Xperia by Sony.

However, it’s to note here the global Android community generally prefers “stock Android,” the purest of all Android versions.

Versatile range of phones

Android is often pitted in close competition with Apple’s iOS. Now, while the iOS is great in its way, Android rules over it with élan given its certain unique advantages. One of them is surely the number of choices when it comes to smartphones. While Apple’s smartphone collection is limited to only ten variants, Android covers hundreds and hundreds of mobile devices, if not more.

Easy charging

This is certainly one of the best benefits of the OS that Android users swear by. Android allows universal charging facility with its standardized Micro USB charger system. The charger device of one Android phone can be easily used for another Android device from another maker. Moreover, Android devices are also easily compatible with power banks. You won’t get such facilities with Apple phones.

Removable battery and storage

Most of the Android phones come with a removable battery facility. This way, if something is wrong with the battery, you will only need to replace it & not your entire phone. In regards to storage, Android phones are usually equipped with microSD slots where you can chip in a memory card to expand the storage capacity. On the other hand, Apple users generally complain about the pricey upgrades they have to go through to enhance memory capacity.

Infrared facility

This is surely another great advantage of the Android operating system.

The most popular mobile OS is backed by an advanced infrared facility that assures easy cross-device interaction wirelessly. The state of the art technology also doubles up your Android device into a handy TV remote.

Large range of app choices

Android apps are not just limited to the Google Play Store. You can also access Android apps from other 3rd party providers like Amazon.

Multi-window support

Android devices are strategically designed to complement the dynamic multi-taskers of the 21st century. Thus, the latest Android phones are equipped with the advanced multiwindow facility. The multiwindow mode enables users to work simultaneously on several windows. For example, you will be able to catch your favorite TV series on your phone screen while sending an urgent mail to your client. Some of the previous versions come with an almost similar split-screen mode that offers more or less that same amazing experience. Such facilities are not exactly available with Apple phones.

Let’s wind up the discussion with some interesting facts on the Android operating system

  • Android commands 87% share on the mobile system market worldwide
  • There are more than 4,000 Android devices today
  • There are over 400 Android device makers today
  • There are 4,000 Android wearable apps today
  • Android commons 70% share in the global tablet market
  • Android commands 17% share in wearable operating system market
  • Around 500 carriers extend Android devices