The Android Operating System Computer Science Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Google released the Android code as open-source, under the Apache License. The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) which was lead by Google aimed at the maintenance and further development of Android. Today android has a large community of developers writing applications ("apps") that extend the functionality of devices.

Developers write programs in a customized version of Java, and apps can be downloaded from online stores such as Google Play (formerly Android Market), the app store run by Google, or third-party sites. In June 2012, there were more than 600,000 apps available for Android, and the estimated number of applications downloaded from Google Play was 20 billion.

The first Android-powered phone was sold in October 2008, and by the end of 2010 Android had become the world's leading smartphone platform. It had a worldwide smartphone market share of 59% at the beginning of 2012.

The Android operating system came into scene with the release of Android beta. It was launched in November 2007.Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance, and has seen a number of updates to its base operating system. These updates are used to fix bugs and new features were added. From April 2009, each version developed was under a codename based on a dessert or sweet treat.

The Android version released till date are as follows:




Froyo (frozen yogurt),



Ice Cream Sandwich

 Jelly Bean.

Jelly Bean v4.1 is the latest update to Android operating system. It was launched in June 2012 and was released in to the Android open source project on 9th July, 2012.

The various versions are discussed in detail as followed:

Android 1.5 Cupcake

On April 30, 2009, the Android 1.5 update was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.27. This was the first release that used dessert ("Cupcake") name as its version's name. this was the theme that followed in all upcoming versions. Android 1.5 was also updates by adding new features and amendments as followed:

It supports Widgets which is a miniature application that can be installed in other applications to receive periodic updates.

It provides third party virtual keyboard, user dictionary for custom words and text prediction option.

It has video recording and playback option in MPEG-4 and 3GP formats

Auto-pairing and stereo support for Bluetooth is added features to it.

web browser includes copy and paste features

Favorites in Contacts can have picture added with details.

Specific date/time are shown for all kind of events in call log, and one-touch access to a contact card from call log event

Screen transitions are animated

Provides auto-rotation option for screen.

Provides accessibility to upload YouTube videos.

Provides uploading facility of photos in Picasa software.

Android 1.6 Donut

On September 15, 2009, the Android 1.6 SDK - dubbed Donut - was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.29. It included various updates which are as followed:

To include bookmark history, contacts, and the web, the voice and text entry search was enhanced

It developed ability for developers to include in search results their content.

A multi-lingual speech synthesis engine was installed to allow any Android application to "speak" up the text

Easier searching and ability to view app screenshots in Android Market

It provided gallery, camera and camcorder which was fully integrated with faster camera functioning.

Option to select multiple photos for deletion to the user.

It facilitates WVGA screen resolutions for wider display.

Speed improvements were made in searching and camera applications for faster working.

Expanded Gesture framework and new Gesture Builder development tool.

Android 2.0/2.1 Éclair

On October 26, 2009, the Android 2.0 SDK - codenamed Eclair - was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.29 and following are changes made:

Account sync was expanded which allowed users to add multiple accounts to a device for any email and also for contact-synchronization

It provided exchange of email with combined inbox view to browse an email from multiple accounts in one page

It supported the new Bluetooth 2.1 technology

It facilitated to call, SMS, or email the person in your contact by just tapping onto his photo.

It had an ability to save all SMS and MMS messages and delete oldest messages in a conversation automatically.

Camera features were improved by including flash, zoom in and out, white balance, scene mode, macro focus and color effect.

Typing speed on virtual keyboard was improved and smarter dictionary was included that learned from word use and included contact names for suggestions.

Browser UI refreshed with thumbnails as bookmark, zooming can be done by double-tapping and it supported HTML5.

In case of any event to be organized status of each invitee and also inviting a guest can be done and agenda view can be enhanced.

Optimized hardware speed and revamped UI

Screen sizes and resolutions can be increased along with better contrast ratio

Google Maps 3.1.2 was installed

To track multi-touch events, motion event class was enhanced

Android 2.2 x Froyo

On May 20, 2010, the Android 2.2 (Froyo) SDK was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.32. The following were the updates made:

This version optimized speed, memory and its performance

Through JIT compilation application speed improved.

Integration of Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine into the Browser application

Support for the Android Cloud to Device Messaging (C2DM) service, enabling push notifications

Improved Microsoft Exchange support, including security policies, auto-discovery, GAL look-up, calendar synchronization and remote wipe

Application launcher with shortcuts to Phone and Browser applications was improved.

It had provided the option to restrict access to any data in mobile network.

Updated Market application with batch and automatic update features.

It had feature of quick switching between various keyboard languages and their dictionaries

Contacts can be shared through Bluetooth

Support for Bluetooth-enabled car and desk docks

Passwords can be numeric and alphanumeric

It facilitates expandable memory application

Abode Flash was installed

Support for extra-high-PPI screens (320 ppi), such as 4" 720p

Gallery pictures can be stacked using a zoom gesture allowing user to view.

The presence of Bug fixes, security can be updated to improve performance.

Minor bug fixes, including SMS routing issues that affected the Nexus One.

Android 2.3.x Gingerbread

On December 6, 2010, the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) SDK was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.35. The changes included are as followed:

User interface design was updated to maintain simplicity and high speed.

Extra-large screen sizes and resolutions were supported well by this version. (WXGA and higher).

Native support for SIP VoIP internet telephony.

In virtual keyboard, the text input became much faster and intuitive with high accuracy and voice input mode.

Improved copy/paste functionality allowed users to select any word by just press-holding then copy and paste.

It supported Near Field Communication (NFC), which allowed the user to read an NFC tag embedded in a poster, sticker and advertisement.

Audio effects were improved by incorporating reverb, headphone virtualization, equalization and bass boost.

New Download Manager was included to give users access to download any file from the browser, email or another application easily.

It supported multiple cameras on the device which included a front-facing camera.

It supported WebM/VP8 video playback, and AAC audio encoding.

Power management with more active role in managing apps was enhanced to keep the device work for more hours.

Enhanced support for native code development.

Switched from YAFFS to ext4 on newer devices.

It enhanced audio, graphical, and input elements for game developers.

Native support for more sensors (such as gyroscopes and barometers).

Google Wallet  was included for the Nexus S 4G.

Gmail application was worked on well.

List scrolling can do with shadow animations.

Android 3.x Honeycomb

The Motorola Xoom tablet introduced Android 3.0 Honeycomb and some changes were also included as followed:

From lock screen it was possible to access apps directly

Better voice integration and continuous, real-time speech to text dictation

Face Unlock, a feature that allows users to unlock handsets using facial recognition software

New tabbed web browser, allowing up to 16 tabs on February 22, 2011, the Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) SDK - the first tablet-only Android update - was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.36. The first device featuring this version, the Motorola Xoom tablet was released on February 24, 2011.  The changes were as follows:

The tablet support was optimized with a new virtual and "holographic" interface for user.

Quicker access to notifications, status, and soft navigation buttons, available at the bottom of the screen were added features.

Action Bar was added giving access to contextual options, widgets, navigation or other types of content on the screen.

Multitasking became simple like tapping Recent Apps in the System Bar allows users to see snapshots of the tasks underway.

Keyboard was redesigned which made typing fast, efficient and accurate.

Multiple browser tabs replacing browser windows, plus form auto-fill and a new "incognito" mode allowing anonymous browsing

Quick access to camera exposure, focus, flash, zoom, front-facing camera, time-lapse, and other camera features

It facilitated to view albums and other collections in full-screen mode in Gallery, with easy access to thumbnails for other photos.

New two-pane Contacts UI and Fast Scroll to let users easily organize and locate contacts

New two-pane Email UI to make viewing and organizing messages more efficient, allowing users to select one or more messages

Support for video chat using Google Talk

Hardware acceleration

Support for multi-core processors

Ability to encrypt all user data

HTTPS stack improved with Server Name Indication

Bug fixes and minor security, stability and Wi-Fi improvements

Update to Android Market with automatic updates and easier-to-read Terms and Condition text

Update to Google Books

Improved Adobe Flash support in browser

Improved Chinese handwriting prediction

"Pay as You Go" support for 3G and 4G tablets

Android 4.0x Ice Cream Sandwich

The SDK for Android 4.0.1 (Ice Cream Sandwich), based on Linux kernel 3.0.1 was publicly released on October 19, 2011. Google's Gabe Cohen stated that Android 4.0 was "theoretically compatible" with any Android 2.3.x device in production at that time. The source code for Android 4.0 became available on November 14, 2011. The update brought various new featured that included:

Soft buttons from Android 3.x were now available on phones.

Widgets were separated in a new tab being listed in same manner to those apps.

It facilitated easy creation of folders with a drag and drop style incorporated.

It added a customizable launcher.

Visual voicemail was improved with the ability to speed up or slow down voicemail messages.

Functionality of Pinch to zoom was used in the calendar.

Integrated screenshot capture feature was also added in this version.(accomplished by holding down the Power and Volume-Down buttons)

Error correction on the keyboard was improved

Automatic syncing of browser with users' Chrome bookmarks

A new typeface family for the UI, Roboto

Data Usage section in settings that lets users set warnings when they approach a certain usage limit, and disable data use when the limit is exceeded

Ability to shut down apps that are using data in the background

Camera app with zero shutter lag, panorama mode, time lapse settings, and the ability to zoom while recording also was improved.

Photo editor was built in it.

Android 4.1.x Jelly Bean

On June 27, 2012, at the Google I/O conference, Google announced Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). Based on Linux kernel 3.1.10, Jelly Bean was an incremental update with the primary aim of improving the functionality and performance of the user interface. The performance improvement involved "Project Butter", which uses touch anticipation, triple buffering, extended vsync timing and a fixed frame rate of 60 fps to create a fluid and "buttery"-smooth UI. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was released to AOSP on July 9, 2012, and an OTA update for the Nexus 7 to Android 4.1.1 was released on July 11, 2012, making it the first device to run Jelly Bean.

Smoother user interface:

Vsync timing across all drawing and animation done by the Android framework, including application rendering, touch events, screen composition and display refresh

In the graphics pipeline triple buffering could be done

Accessibility was enhanced.

Bi-directional text and other language support was added feature.

Keyboard maps were user installable.

Expandable notifications.

On an app specific basis notifications could be turn off.

Shortcuts and widgets can automatically be re-arranged or re-sized to allow new items to fit on home screens

Bluetooth data transfer for Android Beam

Offline voice dictation

New interface layout for tablets with smaller screens (closer resembling that of a phone)

Improved voice search

Improved camera app

Google Wallet (for the Nexus 7)

High-resolution Google+ contact photos

Google Now search application

Multichannel audio

USB audio (for external sound DACs)

Audio chaining (also known as gapless playback)

Stock Android browser is replaced with the Android mobile version of Google Chrome in devices with Android 4.1 preinstalled