We have been living in a world which keeps on contracting, more so with the advent of mobile technology breaking barriers each day. Number of users have been growing steadily in the past couple of years from 520 million in 2013 to 800 million in 2019. With an increase like this the mobile phone technology has accommodated user base from all walks of life by providing more and better features. From simple regular handsets which were used to making phone calls and text messages to smartphones we carry today, phones have improved our lives enormously. Today we use phones not just for making calls but as an alternative to a computer. Mobile Phones have immense use for us wherever we go, be it as a Camera , Music player, a Tablet PC, a T.V. , a Web browser etc. And with new technologies and use cases, a new software was required to enable users to perform these activities.
Fig.1 A representational image of Android
Android – An operating system
Android is a mobile operating system incorporating features from a phone, a tablet and many other computing devices right in our palms. Latest updates in android shelter everything from wearable computing to in-car entertainment systems. The operating system was launched in the year 2003 and is the world’s most popular mobile operating system (OS). This year itself the user base grew at an exponential scale. Android is an open source project and is referred to as AOSP (Android Open Source Project). Android is a project which was driven by Google when it first started, but Google does not own the project. AOSP acts as a starting point for making various versions of android which are then used by various other manufacturers on their mobile phones.
Android works as any other operating system where it helps the user to communicate with the machine seamlessly. The button you press when you click a photograph is designed, coded and then deployed in Android to be used that way, or any other. Android commands our phone to ring when a phone call is received. Android works just like windows but for mobile devices.
History of Android
In the last 15 years mobile phones have changed drastically. Earlier the mobile phones had a black and white screen which could take commands like picking up the calls and making phone calls, it was then followed by phones which could let you play games too. These mobile phones were transformed to the now visible and massively used smartphones which are nothing less than a computer in your palms. Mobile phones have come a long way in the last 15 years. From Palm OS in 1996 to Windows pocket PC in 2000 and then to Blackberry OS and now Android, Mobile Operating System has evolved immensely.
Android is a software bunch which contains the operating system along with a middleware and key applications. The company Android Inc. was founded by Andy Rubin, Rich miner, Nick sears and Chris White in Palo Alto California, U.S. in the year 2003. In 2005 Google acquired Android Inc. There have been a number of updates since the original release of Android.
|Android 1.1February 2009||Support for saving attachments for MMSMarquee in layoutsAPI Changes|
|Android 1.5CupcakeApril 2009||Bluetooth A2DP and AVRCP SupportUploading videos to Youtube and Pictures to Picasa|
|Android 1.6DonutSeptember 2009||WVGA Screen resolution supportGoogle navigation free turn by turn support|
|Android 2.0/1EclairOctober 2009||HTML 5 File supportMicrosoft Exchange serverBluetooth 2.1|
|Android 2.2FroyoMay 2010||USB tethering and wifi hotspot functionalityAdobe flash 10.1 support|
|Android 2.3GingerbreadDecember 2010||Multitouch software keyboardSupport for extra large screen sizes and resolution|
|Android 3.0HoneycombMay 2011||Optimized tablet support with new user interface3D DesktopVideo Chat and GTalk support|
Fig.2: Table showing various updates in original version of android
Android supports number of applications making it an extremely powerful operating system in comparison with others. Life for android users becomes more comfortable and advanced using these applications. Android hardware is based on ARM Architecture. An ARM processor is from the family of CPU’s based on the RISC (reduced instruction set computer) architecture developed by advanced RISC machine (ARM). Both 32-bit and 64-bit processors are available in RISC architecture.
Below are a few specifications and features available on Android:
|Application Framework||It enables reuse and replacement of components|
|Dalvik virtual machine||It is optimised for mobile device|
|Integrated browser||It is based on open source web kit engage|
|Optimised graphics||It is powered by custom 2D graphics library; 3D graphics based on the OpenGL ES 1.0 specification|
|Bluetooth, Edge, 3G, WiFi|
|Camera, GPS, Compass Etc.|
Fig. 3 Specifications and Features available on Android
Android comes with various applications some of which are pre-installed in most phones. Android. Android has its own application store to download and utilize applications on your pocket friendly computer. The applications are created by third party developers. The app store on android is booming since its inception. Today the app store on android is widely known to have 2Mn+ applications.
Most of the applications are written in Java programming language. Android is open source for developers to develop applications. These applications can then be sold on the application marketplace. To this day the many applications have more than 3 billion downloads. Linux version 2.6 is the base for android core system services such as security, memory management, process management, network stack, and driver model. Android provides Android SDK (Software development kit) for developers to develop their apps.
Android applications are based on the following few guidelines as recommended across the marketplace:
• Java programmed applications available on the app store are composed of one or more components like activities, services, content providers and broadcast receivers.
• Every component has a varied role in the application behavior, and each component can be triggered individually. These triggers could be programmed from other applications as well.
• The core component file declares all components in use and declares application requirements for the minimum version of Android or any hardware configurations necessary
• Application resources which are not coded for example strings, images, layout files etc. include alternatives for various device configurations. Multilingual application support is provided as well.
Google launched various competitions with prize money of the order 10 million. Two of these competitions namely ADC1 and ADC2 were launched in January 2008 and May 2008 respectively. As a result of these competitions google could make Android more user friendly and advanced in a span of one year which was visible in their latest update.
Other Mobile Operating Systems
There are a few more operating systems in the market. Major players are Apple’s iOS and Windows Phone OS. These operating systems are giving a strong competition to Android Operating system. A comparative analysis between the various market players for operating systems is available below:
|1. Open Source2.Google3.Multi Tasking4.Multi Touch5.Chrome/web kit browser6.Over the air updates||No MultiTaskingNo Open source environmentMulti touch interfaceSafari/Webkit browserSync/Patch updates||Microsoft Closed interfaceRestricted multitaskingMulti touch interface||Open sourceNokiaVisual multitaskingMozilla BrowserSync/Patch OTA|
Fig. 4- Comparison of mobile operating systems available in markets
As per the market share Android is the leading operating systems out of all of the competitors. The operating system celebrates 33% market share all across the user base while a close competitor symbian OS which celebrates a total of 31% market share.
Fig.5- Market distribution for mobile operating systems
A large number of mobile manufacturers are using Android as the operating system of their choice. These manufacturers are utilizing Android as a software package to build their own skins and apps to support their phone’s hardware. A list of these manufacturers are given below:
|Acer Inc.||Alcatel (TCL Corp.)||Bluelans Communication||NCE Casio mobile communications||Cherry Mobile|
|CSL||Dell||Garmin||Geeks Phone||General mobile|