Android is an open-source software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications. Google Inc. purchased the initial developerof the software, Android Inc., in 2005. Android's mobile operating system is based upon a modified version of the Linux kernel. Google and other members of the Open Handset Alliance collaborated onAndroid's development and release. The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is tasked with the maintenance and further development of Android.
Canalys reported that in Q4 2010 the Android operatingsystem was the world's best-selling smartphone platform, dethroning Nokia's Symbian from the 10-year top position.
Jumping from 23.5 percent, Android now represents 31.2 percent of the U.S smartphonemarket. According to Gartner, Symbian is still slightly ahead on sales if some legacy non-Nokia Symbian smartphones are included in the Q4 2010 figures.
Android has a large community of developerswriting application programs ("apps") that extend the functionality of the devices. There are currently over 150,000 apps available for Android. Android Market is the online app store run by Google,though apps can also be downloaded from third-party sites. Developers write primarily in the Java language, controlling the device via Google-developed Java libraries.
The unveiling of the Androiddistribution on 5 November 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 80 hardware, software, and telecom companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobiledevices. Google released most of the Android code under the Apache License, a free software and open source license.
The Android open-source software stack consists of Java applications running on aJava-based, object-oriented application framework on top of Java core libraries running on a Dalvik virtual machine featuring JIT compilation. Libraries written in C include the surface manager,...