97 Facts About Google Android


Google 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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When Google Android is installed on devices, ability to modify the otherwise FOSS software is usually restricted, either by not providing the corresponding source code or preventing reinstallation through technical measures, rendering the installed version proprietary.

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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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However, the "Android" name and logo are trademarks of Google which imposes standards to restrict the use of Android branding by "uncertified" devices outside their ecosystem.

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

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

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Google 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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Google 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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Google Android marketed the platform to handset makers and carriers on the promise of providing a flexible, upgradeable system.

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Google Android had "lined up a series of hardware components and software partners and signaled to carriers that it was open to various degrees of cooperation".

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

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In September 2007, InformationWeek covered an Evalueserve study reporting that Google Android had filed several patent applications in the area of mobile telephony.

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Since 2008, Google 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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Each major release is named in alphabetical order after a dessert or sugary treat, with the first few Google Android versions being called "Cupcake", "Donut", "Eclair", and "Froyo", in that order.

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In 2010, Google launched its Nexus series of devices, a lineup in which Google partnered with different device manufacturers to produce new devices and introduce new Android versions.

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At its developer conference in May 2013, Google announced a special version of the Samsung Galaxy S4, where, instead of using Samsung's own Android customization, the phone ran "stock Android" and was promised to receive new system updates fast.

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

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In June 2014, Google announced Android One, a set of "hardware reference models" that would "allow [device makers] to easily create high-quality phones at low costs", designed for consumers in developing countries.

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

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Google Android stated that these names were not "inclusive" to international users.

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Google Android recommends mobile application developers to locate menus within the user interface.

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

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Google 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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In October 2020, Google removed several Android applications from Play Store, as they were identified breaching its data collection rules.

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

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

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Google 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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Google 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 Google 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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Google 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 Google Android started to be used on set-top boxes.

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

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In 2011, Google partnered with a number of industry players to announce an "Android Update Alliance", pledging to deliver timely updates for every device for 18 months after its release; however, there has not been another official word about that alliance since its announcement.

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In 2012, Google Android began de-coupling certain aspects of the operating system so they could be updated through the Google Android Play store independently of the OS.

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One of those components, Google Play Services, is a closed-source system-level process providing APIs for Google services, installed automatically on nearly all devices running Android 2.

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HTC's then-executive Jason Mackenzie called monthly security updates "unrealistic" in 2015, and Google Android was trying to persuade carriers to exclude security patches from the full testing procedures.

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In May 2016, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Google was making efforts to keep Android more up-to-date, including accelerated rates of security updates, rolling out technological workarounds, reducing requirements for phone testing, and ranking phone makers in an attempt to "shame" them into better behavior.

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Hiroshi Lockheimer, the Google Android lead, admitted that "It's not an ideal situation", further commenting that the lack of updates is "the weakest link on security on Google 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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In September 2017, Google's Project Treble team revealed that, as part of their efforts to improve the security lifecycle of Android devices, Google had managed to get the Linux Foundation to agree to extend the support lifecycle of the Linux Long-Term Support kernel branch from the 2 years that it has historically lasted to 6 years for future versions of the LTS kernel, starting with Linux kernel 4.

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In May 2019, with the announcement of Android 10, Google introduced Project Mainline to simplify and expedite delivery of updates to the Android ecosystem.

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

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Certain features that Google Android contributed back to the Linux kernel, notably a power management feature called "wakelocks", were initially rejected by mainline kernel developers partly because they felt that Google Android did not show any intent to maintain its own code.

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Google Android announced in April 2010 that they would hire two employees to work with the Linux kernel community, but Greg Kroah-Hartman, the current Linux kernel maintainer for the stable branch, said in December 2010 that he was concerned that Google Android was no longer trying to get their code changes included in mainstream Linux.

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Ars Technica wrote that "Although Google 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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However, root access can be obtained by exploiting security flaws in Google 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 Google Android platform uses a subset of the now discontinued Apache Harmony project.

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In December 2015, Google announced that the next version of Android would switch to a Java implementation based on the OpenJDK project.

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Google Android has another operating system, Trusty OS, within it, as a part of "Trusty" "software components supporting a Trusted Execution Environment on mobile devices.

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In 2020, Google launched the Android Partner Vulnerability Initiative to improve the security of Android.

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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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Google Android maintains that dangerous malware is actually extremely rare, and a survey conducted by F-Secure showed that only 0.

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

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Google Android wrote that "Nexus devices will continue to receive major updates for at least two years and security patches for the longer of three years from initial availability or 18 months from last sale of the device via the Google Android Store.

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Ron Amadeo of Ars Technica wrote in August 2015 that "Google Android was originally designed, above all else, to be widely adopted.

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Google Android was starting from scratch with zero percent market share, so it was happy to give up control and give everyone a seat at the table in exchange for adoption.

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Google Android still uses a software update chain-of-command designed back when the Google Android ecosystem had zero devices to update, and it just doesn't work".

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

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Google 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 Google Android Authority reported on a study by the German security company Fraunhofer AISEC in antivirus software and malware threats on Google Android.

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Nova wrote that "The Google Android operating system deals with software packages by sandboxing them; this does not allow applications to list the directory contents of other apps to keep the system safe.

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In December 2016, Google Android introduced a Trusted Contacts app, letting users request location-tracking of loved ones during emergencies.

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On October 8, 2018, Google Android announced new Google Android Play store requirements to combat over-sharing of potentially sensitive information, including call and text logs.

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Google Android promised to work with developers and create exceptions if their apps require Phone or SMS permissions for "core app functionality".

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Furthermore, Google announced a new "target API level requirement" at least Android 8.

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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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Google Android publishes most of the code under the non-copyleft Apache License version 2.

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In 2014, Google began to require that all Android devices which license the Google Mobile Services software display a prominent "Powered by Android" logo on their boot screens.

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In March 2018, it was reported that Google had begun to block "uncertified" Android devices from using Google Mobile Services software, and display a warning indicating that "the device manufacturer has preloaded Google apps and services without certification from Google".

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

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In 2014, in an effort to improve prominence of the Android brand, Google began to require that devices featuring its proprietary components display an Android logo on the boot screen.

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Google Android has suffered from "fragmentation", a situation where the variety of Google 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 Google Android smartphones were estimated to be sold by the end of 2014.

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Google 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 Google 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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In 2010, Google Android released a tool for validating authorized purchases for use within apps, but developers complained that this was insufficient and trivial to crack.

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Google Android responded that the tool, especially its initial release, was intended as a sample framework for developers to modify and build upon depending on their needs, not as a finished piracy solution.

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In May 2012, the jury in this case found that Google Android did not infringe on Oracle's patents, and the trial judge ruled that the structure of the Java APIs used by Google Android was not copyrightable.

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In December 2015, Google announced that the next major release of Android would switch to OpenJDK, which is the official open-source implementation of the Java platform, instead of using the now-discontinued Apache Harmony project as its runtime.

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Google Android later admitted in a court filing that this was part of an effort to address the disputes with Oracle, as its use of OpenJDK code is governed under the GNU General Public License with a linking exception, and that "any damages claim associated with the new versions expressly licensed by Oracle under OpenJDK would require a separate analysis of damages from earlier releases".

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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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Google Android filed its appeal of the ruling in October 2018, though will not ask for any interim measures to delay the onset of conduct requirements.

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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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In December 2019, Google stopped issuing licenses for new Android phone models sold in Turkey.

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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 Google 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, Google 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 Google Android, became one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns, crowdfunding US$8.

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In 2011, Google demonstrated "Android@Home", a home automation technology which uses Android to control a range of household devices including light switches, power sockets and thermostats.

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Google Android, he said, was thinking more ambitiously and the intention was to use their position as a cloud services provider to bring Google Android products into customers' homes.

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Parrot unveiled an Google 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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In January 2014, at the Consumer Electronics Show, Google announced the formation of the Open Automotive Alliance, a group including several major automobile makers (Audi, General Motors, Hyundai, and Honda) and Nvidia, which aims to produce Android-based in-car entertainment systems for automobiles, "[bringing] the best of Android into the automobile in a safe and seamless way.

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On those platforms Google 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 Google Android starting with Google Android Nougat, differentiating from standalone support for VR capabilities.

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

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