Android is a touchscreen mobile operating system based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open source applications, particularly for smartphones and tablets. Android is developed by the Open Handset Alliance, a group of developers that are funded by Google. It was initially announced in November 2007, with the HTC Dream being the first commercial Android smartphone in September 2008.

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It is free and open-source software, with the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) as its source code, which is largely licenced under the Apache License. Most Android smartphones, however, come pre-installed with extra proprietary software, most notably Google Mobile Services (GMS), which comprises essential programmes like Google Chrome, the digital distribution network Google Play, and the related Google Play Services development platform.

The source code has been used to create Android versions for a variety of different gadgets, including gaming consoles, digital cameras, portable media players, PCs, and others, each with a unique user interface. Google’s Android TV for televisions and Wear OS for wearables are two well-known variants. Android software packages that employ the APK format are often released via commercial application stores such as Google Play, Samsung Galaxy Store, Huawei AppGallery, Cafe Bazaar, and GetJar, or open source platforms such as Aptoide or F-Droid.

Since 2011, Android has been the best-selling operating system on smartphones, and since 2013, it has been the best-selling OS on tablets. It has over three billion monthly active users as of May 2021, the biggest installed base of any operating system, and the Google Play Store has over three million apps as of January 2021. Android 11, which was launched on September 8, 2020, is the most recent stable version.

Android Mobile Phone Feature:

1. Home Screen

Android devices boot to the home screen, which serves as the primary navigation and information “hub” for Android smartphones, similar to the desktop on personal computers. App icons and widgets are common components of Android home-screens; programme icons open the related app, whilst widgets display live, auto-updating material, such as a weather forecast, the user’s email inbox, or a news ticker, right on the home-screen. A home screen can be made up of multiple pages that the user can go through by swiping back and forth. Third-party apps available on Google Play and other app stores may completely redesign the home screen and even replicate the appearance of other operating systems, such as Windows Phone.

2. Web Browser

The Android web browser is built on the open-source Blink (formerly WebKit) layout engine, which is combined with Chromium’s V8 JavaScript engine. The WebKit-based Android Browser then scored 100/100 on the Acid3 test on Android 4.0 ICS; the Blink-based browser presently offers greater standards compliance. The previous web browser is variously called as ‘Android Browser,’ ‘AOSP Browser,”stock browser,’ ‘native browser,’ and ‘default browser’ (from the time it was always the default). 

Beginning with Android 4.4 KitKat, Google has began licencing Google Chrome (proprietary software) independently from Android, albeit generally included with it (what most device vendors did).Since Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google has isolated the WebView browser, which apps may utilise to show online information without leaving the app, from the rest of the Android firmware in order to allow independent security upgrades.

3. User Interface

Android’s default user interface is mostly centred on direct manipulation, with on-screen items manipulated by touch inputs that closely correlate to real-world motions such as swiping, tapping, pinching, and reverse pinching, as well as a virtual keyboard. Bluetooth or USB compatibility is provided for game controllers and full-size physical keyboards. The reaction to user input is intended to be quick, with a fluid touch interface that frequently makes use of the device’s vibration capabilities to offer haptic feedback to the user.

Some applications use internal hardware such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, and proximity sensors to respond to additional user actions, such as changing the screen orientation from portrait to landscape based on how the device is oriented or allowing the user to steer a vehicle in a racing game by rotating the device, simulating control of a steering wheel.

4. Massaging

Android Push Messaging services include SMS and MMS messaging, as well as threaded text messaging and Android Cloud To Device Messaging (C2DM) and newly upgraded version of C2DM, Android Google Cloud Messaging (GCM). Android phones can also transmit and receive RCS using the messaging app (if supported by the carrier).

5. Notifications

Notifications are “minimal, timely, and relevant information about your app while it’s not in use,” and when pressed, users are brought to a notification-related screen inside the app. Beginning with Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean,” “expandable notifications” allow the user to press an icon on the notification to expand and show more information as well as possible app actions directly from the notification.

6. Video Calling Service

Although Android does not allow native video calling, certain devices have a modified version of the operating system that can, either via UMTS (as in the Samsung Galaxy S) or over IP. Google Talk video calling is supported in Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) and later. Gingerbread enables the Nexus S to make Internet calls using a SIP account. This enables improved VoIP dialling to other SIP accounts and phone lines. In Android 2.3, Skype 2.1 supports video calling, including front camera capability. Users of the Google+ Android app may utilise Hangouts to video chat with other Google+ users.

7. Screen Capturing And Screen Recording

Android allows you to take a screenshot by simultaneously tapping the power and home-screen buttons. Prior to Android 4.0, the only way to capture a screenshot was through manufacturer and third-party modifications (apps), or by connecting to a PC (DDMS developer’s tool). These other ways are still accessible in the most recent version of Android.

8. Navigation Button System

Many early Android OS devices have a separate search button for easy access to a web search engine and the internal search capability of specific apps. The latter is usually possible with a long press or swipe away from the home button on more current smartphones.Since Android version 10, the dedicated option key, commonly known as the menu key, and its on-screen simulation are no longer supported.

Google advises mobile app developers to provide menus within the user interface. On more modern phones, its location is taken by a task key that, when pressed, brings up a list of recently used applications. Depending on the device, long pressing it may imitate a menu button push or activate split screen view, the latter of which has been the default behaviour since stock Android version 7.

9. Connectivity System

GSM/EDGE, Bluetooth, LTE, CDMA, EV-DO, UMTS, NFC, IDEN, and WiMAX are among the connection technologies supported by Android.

10. Bluetooth Service

Voice dialling and contact transfer between phones, audio playback, file transfer (OPP), phone book access (PBAP), A2DP, and AVRCP are all supported. Support for keyboard, mouse, and joystick (HID) is available in Android 3.1+, as well as older versions via manufacturer modifications and third-party apps.

11. Tethering Service

Tethering on Android allows a phone to be used as a wireless/wired Wi-Fi hotspot. This was previously supported by third-party applications or manufacturer customisation prior to Android 2.2.

12. File Manager

Since Android 6 Marshmallow, a minimalist file manager dubbed Documents UI that is built on the file picker has been included as part of the operating system’s core. It can only be accessed via the storage option in the system settings.

13. Storage

The majority of Android smartphones include microSD card ports and can read microSD cards formatted with the FAT32, Ext3, or Ext4 file systems. Some Android devices have USB-OTG connections to enable the usage of external storage media such as USB flash drives and USB HDDs. Storage formatted with FAT32 is handled by the Linux Kernel vFAT driver, but certain other file systems, such as NTFS, HFS Plus, and exFAT, require third-party solutions.

14. Options for Developers

Some settings for developers and power users to use for debugging are stored in a “Developer options” sub menu, such as the ability to highlight updating parts of the display, show an overlay with the present position of the touch screen, show touching spots for possible use in screen-casting, notify the user of unresponsive background processes with the option to end them (“Show all ANRs”, i.e. “Application Not Responding”).

15. Numbers of Applications

Gmail, Google Maps, Google Chrome, YouTube, Google Play Music, Google Play Movies & TV, and many more Google apps are preinstalled on Android smartphones.

Applications (“apps”) that extend the functionality of devices (and must be 64-bit) are written using the Android software development kit (SDK) and frequently the Kotlin programming language, which replaced Java as Google’s preferred language for Android app development in May 2019 after being announced in May 2017. Java (which was initially the only choice for user-space applications and is frequently combined with Kotlin) and C++ are still supported.

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