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Software for the Android Operating System

About the Android OS

(Excerpted from wikipedia) Android is a mobile operating system based on the Linux kernel and currently developed by Google. With a user interface based on direct manipulation, Android is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, with specialized user interfaces for televisions (Android TV), cars (Android Auto), and wrist watches (Android Wear). The OS uses touch inputs that loosely correspond to real-world actions, like swiping, tapping, pinching, and reverse pinching to manipulate on-screen objects, and a virtual keyboard. Despite being primarily designed for touchscreen input, it has also been used in game consoles, digital cameras, regular PCs, and other electronics. As of 2015, Android has the largest installed base of all operating systems.

As of July 2013, the Google Play store has had over one million Android applications ("apps") published, and over 50 billion applications downloaded. An April–May 2013 survey of mobile application developers found that 71% of them create applications for Android; another 2015 survey found that 40% of full-time professional developers see Android as the "priority" target platform, which is more than iOS (37%) or other platforms. At Google I/O 2014, the company revealed that there were over one billion active monthly Android users, up from 538 million in June 2013. On September 3, 2013, Google announced that one billion activated Android devices were in use worldwide. In January 2015, Android devices accounted for approximately 62% of the US smartphone and tablet market, 82.7% of the Chinese market, and 73.3% of the European market.

Android's source code is released by Google under open source licenses, although most Android devices ultimately ship with a combination of open source and proprietary software, including proprietary software developed and licensed by Google. Initially developed by Android, Inc., which Google bought in 2005, Android was unveiled in 2007, along with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) – a consortium of hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices.

Android is popular with technology companies which require a ready-made, low-cost and customizable operating system for high-tech devices. Android's open nature has encouraged a large community of developers and enthusiasts to use the open-source code as a foundation for community-driven projects, which add new features for advanced users or bring Android to devices which were officially released running other operating systems. The operating system's success has made it a target for patent litigation as part of the so-called "smartphone wars" between technology companies.

The Android Story

Android is the operating system that powers more than one billion smartphones and tablets. Since these devices make our lives so sweet, each Android version is named after a dessert (in alphabetical order). Whether it's getting directions or even slicing virtual fruit, each Android release makes something new possible. The version history of Android started in November, 2007 with the beta. (The November 5 date is popularly celebrated as Android's "birthday".) So far, we've got 5.0-5.1.1 Lollipop, for watches and more; 4.4-4.4.4 KitKat, which introduced "OK, Google"; 4.1-4.3.1 Jelly Bean, 4.0-4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, 3.0-3.2.6 Honeycomb, 2.3-2.3.7 Gingerbread, 2.2-2.2.3 Froyo, 2.0-2.1 Eclair, 1.6 Donut, 1.5 Cupcake, 1.1 Beta (from 2/2009), and 1.0 Alpha from 9/2008.


Chuck presented the following about the Android Operating System at the June, 2015 club meeting:

What is it?
It is a Google-developed OS for mobile devices.

With a user interface based on direct manipulation, Android is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, with specialized user interfaces for televisions (Android TV), cars (Android Auto), and wrist watches (Android Wear). The OS uses touch inputs that loosely correspond to real-world actions, like swiping, tapping, pinching, and reverse pinching to manipulate on-screen objects, and a virtual keyboard. Applications are written in Java programming language. Each application run in its own sandbox protected and isolated from other. They also run in their own Linux process.

How does it affect me?
Will I ever use it?

Yes, even if I don't own an Android cellphone. (I will explain at the end of the talk.) Therefore, it's not a bad Idea to know what it is and what it does.

Current Android Facts:
Runs on my Samsung S3 cellphone, on Google Nexus phones and tablets and Amazon Fire Phones, not to mention most other off-brand phones.

Android powered 1.1 billion shipped smartphone units in the calendar year 2014, up 32.0 percent from the 802.2 million units shipping with Google’s mobile OS in 2013. This gave Android 81.5 percent of the global market, up from 78.7 percent last year.

Apple’s iOS powered 192.7 million shipped smartphone units in 2014, up 25.6 percent from the 153.4 million units shipped in 2013. This gave iOS a 14.8 percent market share, down slightly from its 15.1 percent share in 2013. Microsoft’s Windows Phone mobile OS finished 2014 with a 2.7 percent market share, down from 3.3 percent in 2013.

What should I know about it?

How it works, in general:
Android is super easy to use. It employs a few consistent UI features and elements that can be found across nearly all Android devices.
The Home Screen
Turn on, unlock your device, and you see your home screen. We can think of this as a desktop of sorts, but unlike a traditional desktop PC device, you can have as many home screens as you want, which you simply swipe left/right to access. You can place a whole variety of app shortcuts.
The Status Bar
At the very top, ever-present, is the status bar. The status bar is persistent in that it rarely leaves the display, except in some full-screen applications. The status bar displays important information including time, signal (Wi-Fi/mobile data), notifications such as texts and e-mails.
Quick Settings Panel
In recent Android versions, Google introduced the “Quick Settings” panel which allows you to pull push and pull the status bar down on the status bar to access a whole array of device features
Notifications
With notifications, the system and apps can notify you when something needs attention, such as an e-mail, text message, or something app-specific such as a Facebook alert. Pull down on the status bar to see all your notifications, which you can then attend to or clear out.
Favorites Tray
The so-called Favorites Tray allows you to pin certain apps such as your contacts and phone dialer so no matter what home screen you are on, you can always access them. Further, you can stack apps in groups or if the whim strikes you, remove them altogether.
Action Bar
At the bottom of your device is the “Action bar,” which like the status bar, never goes away, even when it seems as though it has. The status bar almost always displays three symbols (left to right) back, home, and recent apps. It may also display three small dots when an app has extra options you can access.
App Drawer
Finally, there’s the app drawer. This is the center icon on the app tray that opens up the place where all your apps shortcuts hang out.

How did Android happen?

Android was unveiled in 2007, along with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) – a consortium of hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. It is popular with technology companies which require a ready-made, low-cost and customizable operating system for high-tech devices. Android's open nature has encouraged a large community of developers and enthusiasts to use the open-source code as a foundation for community-driven projects, which add new features for advanced users or bring Android to devices which were officially released running other operating systems.

OHA Member firms include Google, HTC, Sony, Dell, Intel, Motorola, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, T-Mobile, Sprint Corporation, Nvidia, and Wind River Systems. As part of its efforts to promote a unified Android platform, OHA members are contractually forbidden from producing devices that are based on incompatible forks of Android.

What's the future for this OS?

In May 2015, Google announced Project Brillo as a cut-down version of Android that uses its lower levels (excluding the user interface), intended for the "Internet of Things" (IoT) embedded systems.

Chuck's impressions of Android:
"The flexibility of this system surpasses anything I have ever seen. The amount of setting options is greater than any one person's needs. Probably no one person could remember all the options available within all the settings. Thus, users should get to know those options that pertain to their life; and use those."

Capabilities:
Phone w/ Video
Messaging/Texting w/ Video
Data transfer/Tethering (hotspot)
GPS/Location services
Camera/Still & video
Document/Photo creation & storage/online & on phone
Apps (tons of specialized programs)



If you have a question or comment about Android, send it to the club president.

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