Worlds Most Popular Mobile Platform Computer Science Essay

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Android is a Linux-based operating system designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, developed by Google in conjunction with the Open Handset Alliance.[2] Initially developed by Android Inc, whom Google financially backed and later purchased in 2005,[9] Android was unveiled in 2007 along with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 86 hardware, software, andtelecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices.[10]

Google releases the Android code as open source, under the Apache License.[11] The Android Open Source Project (AOSP), led by Google, is tasked with the maintenance and further development of Android.[12] Additionally, Android has a large community of developers writing applications ("apps") that extend the functionality of devices, written primarily in a customized version of Java.[13] They are available for download through Google Play or third-party sites. In September 2012, there were more than 675,000 apps available for Android, and the estimated number of applications downloaded from Google Play was 25 billion.[14]

The first Android-powered phone was sold in October 2008,[15] and by the end of 2010 Android had become the world's leading smartphone platform.[16] It had a worldwide smartphone market share of 68% at the second quarter of 2012,[17] and as of Q3 2012, there were 500 million devices activated and 1.3 million activations per day.

The version history of the Android operating system began with the release of the Android beta in November 2007. The first commercial version, Android 1.0, was released in September 2008. 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 since its original release. These updates typically fix bugs and add new features. Since April 2009, Android versions have been developed under a codename and released in alphabetical order: Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean. The most recent major update was Jelly Bean v4.1, which was announced in June 2012, and released into the Android Open Source Project a month later.

Android beta

The Android beta was released on November 5, 2007, while the software development kit (SDK) was released on November 12, 2007.

Android 1.0

Android 1.0, the first commercial version of the software, was released on September 23, 2008. The first Android device, the HTC Dream, incorporated the following Android 1.0 features:

Android Market application download and updates through the Market app

Web browser to show, zoom and pan full HTML and XHTML web pages - multiple pages show as windows ("cards")[6][7]

Camera support - however this version lacked the option to change the camera's resolution, white balance, quality, etc.[8]

Folders allowing the grouping of a number of app icons into a single folder icon on the Home screen.[9]

Access to web email servers, supporting POP3, IMAP4, and SMTP.[7]

Gmail synchronization with the Gmail app

Google Contacts synchronization with the People app

Google Calendar synchronization with the Calendar app

Google Maps with Latitude and Street View to view maps and satellite imagery, as well as find local business and obtain driving directions using GPS[8]

Google Sync, allowing management of over-the-air synchronization of Gmail, People, and Calendar

Google Search, allowing users to search the Internet and phone apps, contacts, calendar, etc.

Google Talk instant messaging

Instant messaging, text messaging, and MMS

Media Player, enabling management, importing, and playback of media files - however, this version lacked video and stereo Bluetooth support[7][8]

Notifications appear in the Status bar, with options to set ringtone, LED or vibration alerts[6][7][10]

Voice Dialer allows dialing and placing of phone calls without typing a name or number[7]

Wallpaper allows the user to set the background image or photo behind the Home screen icons and widgets

YouTube video player[11]

Other apps include: Alarm Clock, Calculator, Dialer (Phone), Home screen (launcher), Pictures (Gallery), and Settings.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support

Android 1.1

On February 9, 2009, the Android 1.1 update was released, initially for the HTC Dream only. Android 1.1 was known as "Petit Four" internally, though this name was not used officially.[12] The update resolved bugs, changed the API and added a number of features:

Details and reviews available when a user searches for businesses on Maps

Longer in-call screen timeout default when using the speakerphone, plus ability to show/hide dialpad

Ability to save attachments in messages

Support added for marquee in system layouts

Android 1.5 Cupcake

On April 30, 2009, the Android 1.5 update was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.27.[14][15] This was the first release to officially use a name based on a dessert ("Cupcake"), a theme which would be used for all releases henceforth. The update included several new features and UI amendments

Support for third-party virtual keyboards with text prediction and user dictionary for custom words

Support for Widgets - miniature application views that can be embedded in other applications (such as the Home screen) and receive periodic updates[17]

Video recording and playback in MPEG-4 and 3GP formats

Auto-pairing and stereo support for Bluetooth added (A2DP and AVRCP profiles)

Copy and paste features added to web browser

User pictures shown for Favorites in Contacts

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

Animated screen transitions

Added auto-rotation option

Added the current stock boot animation

Ability to upload videos to YouTube

Ability to upload photos to Picasa

Android 1.6 Donut

On September 15, 2009, the Android 1.6 SDK - dubbed Donut - was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.29.[18][19][20] Included in the update were numerous new features:

Voice and text entry search enhanced to include bookmark history, contacts, and the web

Ability for developers to include their content in search results

Multi-lingual speech synthesis engine to allow any Android application to "speak" a string of text

Easier searching and ability to view app screenshots in Android Market

Gallery, camera and camcorder more fully integrated, with faster camera access

Ability for users to select multiple photos for deletion

Updated technology support for CDMA/EVDO, 802.1x, VPNs, and a text-to-speech engine

Support for WVGA screen resolutions

Speed improvements in searching and camera applications

Expanded Gesture framework and new GestureBuilder 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.[21] Changes included:

Expanded Account sync, allowing users to add multiple accounts to a device for email- and contact-synchronization

Exchange email support, with combined inbox to browse email from multiple accounts in one page

Bluetooth 2.1 support

Ability to tap a Contacts photo and select to call, SMS, or email the person

Ability to search all saved SMS and MMS messages, with delete oldest messages in a conversation automatically deleted when a defined limit is reached

Numerous new camera features, including flash support, digital zoom, scene mode, white balance, color effect and macro focus

Improved typing speed on virtual keyboard, with smarter dictionary that learns from word usage and includes contact names as suggestions

Refreshed browser UI with bookmark thumbnails, double-tap zoom and support for HTML5

Calendar agenda view enhanced, showing attending status for each invitee, and ability to invite new guests to events

Optimized hardware speed and revamped UI

Support for more screen sizes and resolutions, with better contrast ratio

Improved Google Maps 3.1.2

MotionEvent class enhanced to track multi-touch events[23]

Addition of live wallpapers, allowing the animation of home-screen background images to show movement

Android 2.2.x Froyo

On May 20, 2010, the Android 2.2 (Froyo, short for Frozen Yogurt) SDK was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.32

Speed, memory, and performance optimizations[27]

Additional application speed improvements, implemented through JIT compilation[28]

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

Improved application launcher with shortcuts to Phone and Browser applications

USB tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot functionality

Added an option to disable data access over mobile network

Updated Market application with batch and automatic update features[27]

Quick switching between multiple keyboard languages and their dictionaries

Voice dialing and contact sharing over Bluetooth

Support for Bluetooth-enabled car and desk docks

Support for numeric and alphanumeric passwords

Support for file upload fields in the Browser application[29]

Support for installing applications to the expandable memory

Adobe Flash support[30]

Support for extra-high-PPI screens (320 ppi), such as 4" 720p[31]

Gallery allows users to view picture stacks using a zoom gesture

Android 2.3.x Gingerbread

On December 6, 2010, the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) SDK was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.35.[33][34] Changes included:

Updated user interface design with increased simplicity and speed

Support for extra-large screen sizes and resolutions (WXGA and higher)[31]

Native support for SIP VoIP internet telephony

Faster, more intuitive text input in virtual keyboard, with improved accuracy, better suggested text and voice input mode

Enhanced copy/paste functionality, allowing users to select a word by press-hold, copy, and paste

Support for Near Field Communication (NFC), allowing the user to read an NFC tag embedded in a poster, sticker, or advertisement

New audio effects such as reverb, equalization, headphone virtualization, and bass boost

New Download Manager, giving users easy access to any file downloaded from the browser, email, or another application

Support for multiple cameras on the device, including a front-facing camera, if available

Support for WebM/VP8 video playback, and AAC audio encoding

Improved power management with a more active role in managing apps that are keeping the device awake for too long

Enhanced support for native code development

Switched from YAFFS to ext4 on newer devices[35][36]

Audio, graphical, and input enhancements for game developers

Concurrent garbage collection for increased performance

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

Android 3.x Honeycomb

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.[43][44][45][46] The first device featuring this version, the Motorola Xoom tablet, was released on February 24, 2011.[47] The update's features included:

Optimized tablet support with a new virtual and "holographic" user interface

Added System Bar, featuring quick access to notifications, status, and soft navigation buttons, available at the bottom of the screen

Added Action Bar, giving access to contextual options, navigation, widgets, or other types of content at the top of the screen

Simplified multitasking - tapping Recent Apps in the System Bar allows users to see snapshots of the tasks underway and quickly jump from one app to another

Redesigned keyboard, making typing fast, efficient and accurate on larger screen sizes

Simplified, more intuitive copy/paste interface

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

Ability 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 (SNI)

Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE; kernel module)

Android 4.0.x Ice Cream Sandwich

The SDK for Android 4.0.1 (Ice Cream Sandwich), based on Linux kernel 3.0.1,[53] was publicly released on October 19, 2011.[54] Google's Gabe Cohen stated that Android 4.0 was "theoretically compatible" with any Android 2.3.x device in production at that time.[55] The source code for Android 4.0 became available on November 14, 2011.[56] The update introduced numerous new features, including:

Soft buttons from Android 3.x are now available for use on phones

Separation of widgets in a new tab, listed in a similar manner to apps

Easier-to-create folders, with a drag-and-drop style

A customizable launcher

Improved visual voicemail with the ability to speed up or slow down voicemail messages

Pinch-to-zoom functionality in the calendar

Integrated screenshot capture (accomplished by holding down the Power and Volume-Down buttons)

Improved error correction on the keyboard

Ability to access apps directly from lock screen

Improved copy and paste functionality

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 under Google's Chrome brand, allowing up to 16 tabs

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

Improved camera app with zero shutter lag, time lapse settings, panorama mode, and the ability to zoom while recording

Built-in photo editor

New gallery layout, organized by location and person

Refreshed "People" app with social network integration, status updates and hi-res images

Android Beam, a near-field communication feature allowing the rapid short-range exchange of web bookmarks, contact info, directions, YouTube videos and other data

Support for the WebP image format[49]

Hardware acceleration of the UI[60]

Wi-Fi Direct[61]

1080p video recording for stock Android devices

Android VPN Framework (AVF), and TUN (but not TAP) kernel module. Prior to 4.0, VPN software required rooted Android.

Android 4.1.x Jelly Bean

Google announced Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) at the Google I/O conference on June 27, 2012. Based on Linux kernel 3.0.31, 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.[68] Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was released to AOSP on July 9, 2012,[69] and the Nexus 7, the first device to run Jelly Bean, was released on July 13, 2012.[70]

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

Triple buffering in the graphics pipeline

Enhanced accessibility

Bi-directional text and other language support

User-installable keyboard maps

Expandable notifications

Ability to turn off notifications on an app specific basis

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 or phablets (whose screens more closely resemble that of a phone)[71]

Improved voice search

Improved camera app

Google Wallet (for the Nexus 7)

High-resolution Google+ contact photos

Google Now search application

Multichannel audio[73]

USB audio (for external sound DACs)[73]

Audio chaining (also known as gapless playback)[73][74][75]

Stock Android browser is replaced with the Android mobile version of Google Chrome in devices with Android 4.1 preinstalled[76]

Abillity for other launchers to add widgets from the app drawer without requiring root access