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What is an Android Phone

Updated on October 29, 2012
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(c) 2012 kevin languedoc (klanguedoc)

The Android Phone is a mobile phone that is categorized as a smartphone. These types of phones are considered “smart” since they offer many more features and just a simple telephone device. Some of the features that are found on an Android phone are a GPS, camera, video recorder, e-mail, messaging, calendaring & scheduling, location awareness and custom built applications called apps. smartphones also offer features can can be found in the PC like external storage, connecting to external devices like printers and cameras, industrial and medical devices. Android phones also have Wi-fi capabilities

The Android, OS which is owned by Google, was originally the created by Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears and Chris White. All were from the high Tech industry. Shortly after Google acquired the Palo Alto company to help it implement its growth strategy of entering the mobile computing space.

Android, under Google’s stewardship quickly captured the top stop in the smartphone industry segment surpassing super cool Apple iPhone and RIM’s BlackBerry, not to mention Nokia Symbian smartphones.Android was able to gain the mobile computing market share summit by offering a rich set of features, tight security and also being open source which allowed many of the top high tech manufacturers like Motorola, Samsung, HTC and even Amazon to offer their own Android phone device.

Operating System

Android is powered by a Linux-based operating system that has been optimized for mobile computing. In addition several C based libraries and middle-ware and other software to be able to offer its unique features. On top of the Linux kernel sits the Java infrastructure from the Apache Harmony project and the Dalvik virtual machine. All of these components are open sourced and free to use.

Android phones are powered by an ARM processor that offers high performance in a small form factor.A new Android version of the operating system is released every six to nine months. At the time of this writing the current version of the OS is Jelly Bean which is version 4.1 of the operating system.

SDK and NDK

While it is possible to develop apps for the Android phone in HTML5/Javascript and Adobe Flash/Flex with Adobe Air, the actual development platform, known in the industry as a SDK (Software Development Kit) is based on a open sourced version Java. A smaller native library, primarily written in C is also available. The C based development kit is called the NDK or Native Development kit. In addition to the SDK, Google provides the ADT (Android Develop Tools) as a Eclipse plugin which includes a complete development environment in Eclipse for the Google Android platform. Also available in the SDK are simulators for all the current Android phones

Manufacturers

Unlike Apple and the iOS platform, Android can be used and installed on phones by many manufacturers. Each offering their own variety of features in addition to everything that Android offers. Currently there are about ten main Android phone makers. All these phones are marketed using their own unique names.

The list of manufacturers include these familiar names. In addition to these there are several smaller less known manufacturers.

  • Acer
  • Asus
  • HTC
  • LG
  • Motorola
  • Panasonic
  • Samsung
  • Sony
  • Sony Ericsson

Also devices manufactured and sold in China used a modified Android OS that meet the Chinese government's requirements.

Where to Get Apps

Google doesn’t make any money with the Android operating system. In fact anybody can download and use it and even modify it for their own use. However, Google makes millions, if not billions every month by extending their search generated ads. They also make millions every month selling apps through their own online store Google Play. In addition to selling apps, users can also purchase and download movies, music and books from Google Play onto their Android phones.

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