Android is an open-source software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications. Google Inc. purchased the initial developer of 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 on Android's development andrelease. The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is tasked with the maintenance and further development of Android.
In the third quarter 2010 the Android operating system was the world's best-selling smartphone platform, dethroning Nokia's Symbian from the 10-year top position. Symbian is still slightly ahead on sales if some legacy non-Nokia Symbian smartphones are included in the third quarter2010 figures.
Android has a large community of developers writing application programs ("apps") that extend the functionality of the devices. There are currently over 250,000 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 viaGoogle-developed Java libraries.
The unveiling of the Android distribution on 5 November 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 79 hardware, software, and telecom companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. Google released most of the Android code under the Apache License, a free software and open source license.
The Android open-sourcesoftware stack consists of Java applications running on a Java-based, object-oriented application framework on top of Java core libraries running on a Dalvik virtual machine featuring JIT compilation. Libraries written in language C include the surface manager, OpenCore media framework, SQLite relational database management system, OpenGL ES 2.0 3D graphics API, WebKit layout engine, SGL graphicsengine, SSL, and Bionic libc. The Android operating system consists of 12 million lines of code including 3 million lines of XML, 2.8 million lines of C, 2.1 million lines of Java, and 1.75 million lines of C++.
Android Inc. founded in 2003
Android, Inc. was founded in Palo Alto, California, United States in October 2003 by Andy Rubin, Rich Miner. Other early key employees include AndyMcFadden, who worked with Rubin at WebTV, and Chris White, who led the design and interface of WebTV, before helping to found Android.
Rubin, a co-founder of Danger Inc., Miner, a co-founder of Wildfire Communications, Inc. and former vice-president of Technology and innovation at Orange, and the other early employees brought considerable wireless industry experience to the company. Despite theobvious past accomplishments of the founders and early employees, Android Inc. operated secretively, admitting only that it was working on software for mobile phones.
Android Inc. acquired by Google in 2005
Google acquired Android Inc. in August, 2005, making Android Inc. a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google Inc. Key employees of Android Inc., including Andy Rubin, Rich Miner and Chris White,stayed at the company after the acquisition.
At the time of the acquisition, because little was known about the work of Android Inc., some guessed that Google was planning to enter the mobile phone market.
Development accelerates : 2006-2007
At Google, the team led by Rubin developed a mobile device platform powered by the Linux kernel. Google marketed the platform to handset makers and carrierson the premise of providing a flexible, upgradable system. Google had lined up a series of hardware component and software partners and signaled to carriers that it was open to various degrees of cooperation on their part.
Speculation about Google's intention to enter the mobile communications market continued to build through December 2006. Reports from the BBC and The Wall Street Journal noted...
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