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Android operating system

(The innovation it brought to smartphones market)

Introduction to android OS:


Android is a Linux-based mobile operating system developed and distributed by Google in conjunction with the Open Handset Alliance. Initially developed by Android Inc. before its purchase by Google in 2005, it was unveiled in 2007, with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 86 hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. Designed primarily for touchscreen smartphones and tablet computers, the first Android-powered phone was sold in October 2008.

Push for Android OS:


With the fast growing age of smartphones, customers needed something more than just camera, music and color screens in their touch phones. So Linux started to initiate an operating system on theoretical bases to introduce something which could be customizable according to the need and demand of the customers. And they named it Android Operating system. In 2005 the first design of Android OS was introduced. But it was impossible for Linux creators to develop such an OS which needed whole new apps running on universal demands so on showing interest by Google.inc they sold out the project. Google.inc in association with 86 hardware and software companies got successful in introducing Android OS V 1.5 (Cupcake) into the market in 2007.

On November 5, 2007, the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of technology companies including Google, device manufacturers such as HTC and Samsung, wireless carriers such as Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile, and chipset makers such as Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, unveiled itself. The goal of the Open Handset Alliance is to develop open standards for mobile devices. On the same day, the Open Handset Alliance unveiled Android as its first product, a mobile device platform built on the Linux kernel version 2.6.The first commercially available phone to run Android was the HTC Dream, released on October 22, 2008.

Innovation Brought by Android OS:

Interface
Android's user interface is based on direct manipulation, using single- and multi-touch inputs like swiping, tapping, pinching and reverse pinching to manipulate on-screen objects. The response to user input is designed to be immediate and provides a fluid touch interface. Internal hardware such as accelerometers, gyroscopes and proximity sensors are used by some applications to respond to additional user actions, for example adjusting the screen from portrait to landscape depending on how the device is oriented, or allowing the user to steer a vehicle in a racing game by rotating the device, simulating control of a steering wheel.

Home screen
Similarly to a PC's desktop, Android devices boot to the home screen, its primary navigation and information point. It may be made up of several pages that a user can swipe back and forth between. Home screens are generally comprised of app icons, which launch the associated app, and widgets, which display auto-updating content including an email inbox, a news ticker, or the weather forecast.

Notification shade
The notification shade is a status bar located at the top of the device's screen, showing information about the device and its connectivity. When "pulled" down, it reveals a notification screen, where apps display important information or updates in a way that doesn't immediately interrupt or inconvenience the user, such as a newly received email or SMS text. In earlier Android versions, notifications could be tapped to open the relevant app, but recent updates have provided enhanced functionality, such as the ability to call a number back directly from the missed call notification, without having to open the dialer app first. Notifications are persistent until read or dismissed by the user.

Multitasking
Multitasking was improved with the release of Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich". When users hold down or press on a device's home button, a task manager with a list of recently-opened apps appear, which users may select to resume use of the application in the status it was last accessed at.

Applications
Applications are usually developed in the Java language using the Android Software Development Kit, but other development tools are available, including a Native Development Kitfor applications or extensions in C or C++, Google App Inventor, a visual environment for novice programmers and various cross platform mobile web applications frameworks. Applications can be acquired by end-users either through a store such as Google Play or the Amazon Appstore, or by downloading and installing the application's APK file from a third-party site.

Google Play
Google Play is an online software store developed by Google for Android devices. An application program ("app") called "Play Store" is preinstalled on most Android devices and allows users to browse and download apps published by third-party developers, hosted on Google Play. As of June 2012, there were more than 600,000 apps available for Android, and the estimated number of applications downloaded from the Play Store exceeded 20 billion. The operating system itself is installed on 400 million total devices. Only devices that comply with Google's compatibility requirements are allowed to preinstall and access the Play Store. The app filters the list of available applications to those that are compatible with the user's device, and developers may restrict their applications to particular carriers or countries for business reasons. Google offers many free applications in the Play Store including Google Voice, Google Goggles, Gesture Search, Google Translate, Google Shopper, Listen and My Tracks. In August 2010, Google launched "Voice Actions for Android", which allows users to search, write messages, and initiate calls by voice.

Security and privacy


Android applications run in a sandbox, an isolated area of the operating system that does not have access to the rest of the system's resources, unless access permissions are granted by the user when the application is installed. Before installing an application, the Play Store displays all required permissions. A game may need to enable vibration, for example, but should not need to read messages or access the phonebook. After reviewing these permissions, the user can decide whether to install the application. The sandboxing and permissions system weakens the impact of vulnerabilities and bugs in applications, but developer confusion and limited documentation has resulted in applications routinely requesting unnecessary permissions, reducing its effectiveness. The complexity of inter-application communication implies Android may have opportunities to run unauthorized code. Several security firms have released antivirus software for Android devices, in particular, Lookout Mobile Security, AVG Technologies, Avast!, F-Secure, Kaspersky, McAfee and Symantec. This software is ineffective as sandboxing also applies to such applications, limiting their ability to scan the deeper system for threats. Android smartphones have the ability to report the location of Wi-Fi access points, encountered as phone users move around, to build databases containing the physical locations of hundreds of millions of such access points. These databases form electronic maps to locate smartphones, allowing them to run apps like Foursquare, Latitude, Places, and to deliver location-based ads. Third party monitoring software such as TaintDroid, an academic research-funded project, can, in some cases, detect when personal information is being sent from applications to remote servers.

Adaptability
While Android is designed primarily for smartphones and tablets, the open and customizable nature of the operating system allows it to be used on other electronics, including laptops and netbooks, smart books, eBook readers, and smart TVs (Google TV). Further, the OS has seen niche applications on wristwatches, headphones, car CD and DVD players, smart glasses (Project Glass), refrigerators, vehicle satnav systems, home automation systems, games consoles, mirrors, cameras, portable media players landlines, and treadmills.

Reception

Research company Canalys estimated in Q2 2009 that Android had a 2.8% share of worldwide smartphone shipments. By Q4 2010 this had grown to 33% of the market, becoming the top-selling smartphone platform. This estimate includes the Tapas and OMS variants of Android. By Q3 2011 Gartner estimates more than half (52.5%) of the smartphone market belongs to Android. By Q2 2012 according to the research firm IDC, Android has a 68% share of the global smartphone market. In February 2010 ComScore said the Android platform had 9.0% of the U.S. smartphone market, as measured by current mobile subscribers. This figure was up from an earlier estimate of 5.2% in November 2009. By the end of Q3 2010 Android's U.S. market share had grown to 21.4%. In May 2010, Android's first quarter U.S. sales surpassed that of the rival iPhone platform. According to a report by the NPD group, Android achieved 25% smartphone sales in the US market, up 8% from the December quarter. In the second quarter, Apple's iOS was up by 11%, indicating that Android is taking market share mainly from RIM, and still has to compete with heavy consumer demand for new competitor offerings. Furthermore, analysts pointed to advantages that Android has as a multi-channel, multi-carrier OS. In Q4 2010 Android had 59% of the total installed user base of Apple's iOS in the U.S. and 46% of the total installed user base of iOS in Europe. As of June 2011, Google said that 550,000 new Android devices were being activated every day up from 400,000 per day a month earlier and more than 100 million devices had been activated. Android hit 300,000 activations per day back in December 2010. By July 14, 2011, 550,000 Android devices were being activated by Google each day, with 4.4% growth per week. On August 1, 2011, Canalys estimated that Android had about 48% of the smartphone market share. On October 13, 2011, Google announced that there were 190 million Android devices in the market. As of November 16, 2011, during the Google Music announcement "These Go to Eleven", 200 million Android devices had been activated. Based on this number, with 1.9% of Android devices being tablets, approximately 3.8 million Android Honeycomb Tablets have been sold. On February 27, 2012, Andy Rubin announced that Google was activating over 850,000 Android smartphones and tablets daily.

Controversies: There are some controversies against Android OS that Its idea is been Stolen from Apple iOS, But that is not true as the idea of android was introduced before iOS in 2004-05 and still there is a way lot difference between the features of iOS and android. Infact Android is more customizable, cheaper and adaptable than iOS.

Latest Innovation Brought along with Android OS

Kindle Fire (tablet)


The Kindle Fire is a mini tablet computer version of Amazon.com's Kindle e-book reader. Announced on September 28, 2011, the Kindle Fire has a color 7inch multi-touch display with IPS technology and runs a forked version of Google's Android operating system. The devicewhich includes access to the Amazon App store, streaming movies and TV shows, and Kindle's ebookswas released to consumers in the United States on November 15, 2011. On September 7, 2012, upgrades to the device were announced with consumer availability to those European countries with a localized version of Amazon's website (Unite Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Spain).

Software
The first generation of Kindle Fire devices runs a customized Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS.. The second generation devices run a customized Ice Cream Sandwich OS.

Reception
The Kindle Fire retails for US$199. Estimates of the device's initial bill of materials ranged from $150 to $201.70. Analysts have projected the device to be a strong competitor to Apple's iPad, and that other Android device makers will suffer lost sales. Amazon's business strategy is to make money on the selling of digital content on the Fire, rather than through the device itself.

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