63 Facts About Android (Operating System)


Android is a mobile operating system based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open-source software, designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

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Android is developed by a consortium of developers known as the Open Handset Alliance and commercially sponsored by Google.

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Over 70 percent of Android smartphones run Google's ecosystem; some with vendor-customized user interface and software suite, such as TouchWiz and later One UI by Samsung, and HTC Sense.

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Android has been the best-selling OS worldwide on smartphones since 2011 and on tablets since 2013.

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Android 13, released on August 15,2022, is the latest version.

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Android Inc was founded in Palo Alto, California, in October 2003 by Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears, and Chris White.

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Android then decided that the market for cameras was not large enough for its goals, and five months later it had diverted its efforts and was pitching Android as a handset operating system that would rival Symbian and Microsoft Windows Mobile.

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The first commercially available smartphone running Android was the HTC Dream, known as T-Mobile G1, announced on September 23,2008.

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Since 2008, Android has seen numerous updates which have incrementally improved the operating system, adding new features and fixing bugs in previous releases.

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Android left Google in August 2013 to join Chinese phone maker Xiaomi.

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Plans to relaunch Android One surfaced in August 2015, with Africa announced as the next location for the program a week later.

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Android 10 was released on September 3,2019, to Google Pixel phones first.

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Such feature initially existed under the name "Auto Haptic" on the Android-based 2012 Samsung Galaxy S III, released with a vendor-modified installation of Android 4.

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Android has a growing selection of third-party applications, which can be acquired by users by downloading and installing the application's APK file, or by downloading them using an application store program that allows users to install, update, and remove applications from their devices.

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Android recognizes two types of secondary storage: portable storage, and adoptable storage.

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Since Android devices are usually battery-powered, Android is designed to manage processes to keep power consumption at a minimum.

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Android manages the applications stored in memory automatically: when memory is low, the system will begin invisibly and automatically closing inactive processes, starting with those that have been inactive for the longest amount of time.

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Android devices incorporate many optional hardware components, including still or video cameras, GPS, orientation sensors, dedicated gaming controls, accelerometers, gyroscopes, barometers, magnetometers, proximity sensors, pressure sensors, thermometers, and touchscreens.

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For example, as Android was developed initially as a phone OS, hardware such as microphones were required, while over time the phone function became optional.

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Android used to require an autofocus camera, which was relaxed to a fixed-focus camera if present at all, since the camera was dropped as a requirement entirely when Android started to be used on set-top boxes.

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Chinese companies are building a PC and mobile operating system, based on Android, to "compete directly with Microsoft Windows and Google Android".

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The Chinese Academy of Engineering noted that "more than a dozen" companies were customizing Android following a Chinese ban on the use of Windows 8 on government PCs.

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Android is developed by Google until the latest changes and updates are ready to be released, at which point the source code is made available to the Android Open Source Project, an open source initiative led by Google.

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Hiroshi Lockheimer, the Android lead, admitted that "It's not an ideal situation", further commenting that the lack of updates is "the weakest link on security on Android".

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Mike Chan, co-founder of phone maker Nextbit and former Android developer, said that "The best way to solve this problem is a massive re-architecture of the operating system", "or Google could invest in training manufacturers and carriers 'to be good Android citizens".

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Google reported rolling out new amendments in Android 12 aimed at making the use of third-party application stores easier.

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Android's kernel is based on the Linux kernel's long-term support branches.

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Google engineer Patrick Brady once stated in the company's developer conference that "Android is not Linux", with Computerworld adding that "Let me make it simple for you, without Linux, there is no Android".

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Ars Technica wrote that "Although Android is built on top of the Linux kernel, the platform has very little in common with the conventional desktop Linux stack".

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In December 2011, Greg Kroah-Hartman announced the start of Android Mainlining Project, which aims to put some Android drivers, patches and features back into the Linux kernel, starting in Linux 3.

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Android is a Linux distribution according to the Linux Foundation, Google's open-source chief Chris DiBona, and several journalists.

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However, root access can be obtained by exploiting security flaws in Android, which is used frequently by the open-source community to enhance the capabilities and customizability of their devices, but by malicious parties to install viruses and malware.

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For its Java library, the Android platform uses a subset of the now discontinued Apache Harmony project.

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Security threats on Android are reportedly growing exponentially; however, Google engineers have argued that the malware and virus threat on Android is being exaggerated by security companies for commercial reasons, and have accused the security industry of playing on fears to sell virus protection software to users.

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Analysis of data traffic by popular smartphones running variants of Android found substantial by-default data collection and sharing with no opt-out by this pre-installed software.

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However, the open-source nature of Android allows security contractors to take existing devices and adapt them for highly secure uses.

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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.

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In September 2014, Jason Nova of Android Authority reported on a study by the German security company Fraunhofer AISEC in antivirus software and malware threats on Android.

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Source code for Android is open-source: it is developed in private by Google, with the source code released publicly when a new version of Android is released.

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The best known fully open source Android services are the LineageOS distribution and MicroG which acts as an open source replacement of Google Play Services.

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Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation have been critical of Android and have recommended the usage of alternatives such as Replicant, because drivers and firmware vital for the proper functioning of Android devices are usually proprietary, and because the Google Play Store application can forcibly install or uninstall applications and, as a result, invite non-free software.

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Alibaba Group defended the allegations, arguing that the OS was a distinct platform from Android, but incorporated portions of Android's platform to allow backwards compatibility with third-party Android software.

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Android received a lukewarm reaction when it was unveiled in 2007.

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The idea of an open-source, Linux-based development platform sparked interest, but there were additional worries about Android facing strong competition from established players in the smartphone market, such as Nokia and Microsoft, and rival Linux mobile operating systems that were in development.

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Since then Android has grown to become the most widely used smartphone operating system and "one of the fastest mobile experiences available".

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Android has suffered from "fragmentation", a situation where the variety of Android devices, in terms of both hardware variations and differences in the software running on them, makes the task of developing applications that work consistently across the ecosystem harder than rival platforms such as iOS where hardware and software varies less.

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Three billion Android smartphones were estimated to be sold by the end of 2014.

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Android has the largest installed base of any mobile operating system and, since 2013, the highest-selling operating system overall with sales in 2012,2013 and 2014 close to the installed base of all PCs.

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One of the main causes was the chicken or the egg situation where consumers were hesitant to buy an Android tablet due to a lack of high quality tablet applications, but developers were hesitant to spend time and resources developing tablet applications until there was a significant market for them.

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Android 11 is, and was just before the release of Android 12, the most popular Android version, on both smartphones and tablets.

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Android 12 is most popular in a few countries including the United States, but Android 11 is most used in most countries, including India, while in many others, including China, Android 10 is the most popular version.

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Success of Android has made it a target for patent and copyright litigation between technology companies, both Android and Android phone manufacturers having been involved in numerous patent lawsuits and other legal challenges.

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The European Commission issued its decision on July 18,2018, determining that Google had conducted three operations related to Android that were in violation of antitrust regulations: bundling Google's search and Chrome as part of Android, blocking phone manufacturers from using forked versions of Android, and establishing deals with phone manufacturers and network providers to exclusively bundle the Google search application on handsets.

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On October 16,2018, Google announced that it would change its distribution model for Google Mobile Services in the EU, since part of its revenues streams for Android which came through use of Google Search and Chrome were now prohibited by the EU's ruling.

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Additionally, by providing infrastructure that combines dedicated hardware and dedicated applications running on regular Android, Google have opened up the platform for its use in particular usage scenarios, such as the Android Auto app for cars, and Daydream, a Virtual Reality platform.

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Open and customizable nature of Android allows device makers to use it on other electronics as well, including laptops, netbooks, and desktop computers, cameras, headphones, home automation systems, game consoles, media players, satellites, routers, printers, payment terminals, automated teller machines, and robots.

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Additionally, Android has been installed and run on a variety of less-technical objects, including calculators, single-board computers, feature phones, electronic dictionaries, alarm clocks, refrigerators, landline telephones, coffee machines, bicycles, and mirrors.

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Ouya, a video game console running Android, became one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns, crowdfunding US$8.

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Parrot unveiled an Android-based car stereo system known as Asteroid in 2011, followed by a successor, the touchscreen-based Asteroid Smart, in 2012.

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Android comes preinstalled on a few laptops and can be installed on personal computers by end users.

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On those platforms Android provides additional functionality for physical keyboards and mice, together with the "Alt-Tab" key combination for switching applications quickly with a keyboard.

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The platform is built into Android starting with Android Nougat, differentiating from standalone support for VR capabilities.

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Mascot of Android is a green android robot, as related to the software's name.

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