Introduction to Android Operating System

By | February 15, 2014

          Android was built from the ground-up to enable developers to create compelling mobile applications that take full advantage  of all handset has to offer. It was built to be truly open. For example, an application can call upon  any of  the  phone’s core  functionality  such  as  making calls, sending  text  messages, or using the camera, allowing developers to create richer and more cohesive experiences for users. Android  Operating System is built  on the open Linux Kernel. Furthermore,  it  utilizes a custom virtual  machine  that was designed to optimize memory and hardware resources in a mobile environment. Android is open source; it can be liberally extended to incorporate new cutting edge technologies as they emerge. The platform  will continue  to  evolve  as  the  developer community works  together  to  build innovative  mobile  applications.

Introduction

Android is a software  stack  for  mobile  devices  that  includes  an operating  system, middleware  and   key  applications. The  Android SDK  provides  the  tools  and  APIs  necessary to begin  developing  applications  on  the  Android  platform  using t he  J ava programming language. Android  is  based up on a modified version of the Linux kernel. Google and other members of  the  Ope n Handset Alliance collaborated on Android’s development and release. Android has a large community of developers writing application programs (“apps”) that extend the functionality of the devices. There  are  currently  over  200,000  apps available  for  Android. Android  Market  is  the  online  app s  to  re run  by Google, though  apps  can also  be  downloaded  from third-party  sites.  Developers  write  primarily  in  t he Java  language, controlling  the  device  via  Google-developed  Java libraries. The Android OS can be used as an operating system for cell phones, netbooks and tablets, including the Dell Streak, Samsung Galaxy Tab, TV and other devices. The first commercially available phone to run the Android operating system was the HTC Dream, released on 22 October 2008. In early 2010 Google collaborated with HTC to launch its flagship Android device, the Nexus One. This was followed later in 2010 with the Samsung-made Nexus S.

Android Architecture

Architecture of android Operating system

Architecture of android Operating system

The base of the stack is the kernel. Google  used  the Linux version 2.6 OS  to  build  Android’s  kernel, which includes Android’s memory management programs, security settings, power  management   software and several hardware drivers. Drivers are programs that control hardware devices. For example, the Nexus One has a camera. The Android  kernel  includes a camera driver, which allows the user to send commands to the camera hardware.

The next level of software includes Android’s  libraries. You can think of libraries as a set of instructions that tell the device how to handle different kinds of data. For example, the media framework library supports playback and recording of various audio, video and picture formats. Other libraries include a three-dimensional acceleration library (for devices with accelerometers) and a Web browser library.

Located on the same level as the libraries layer, the Android runtime layer includes a set of core Java libraries — Android application programmers build their apps using the Java programming language. It also includes the Dalvik Virtual Machine.

The next layer is the application framework. This includes the programs that manage the phone’s basic functions like resource allocation, telephone applications, switching between processes or programs and keeping track of the phone’s physical location. Application developers have full access to Android’s application framework. This allows them to take advantage of Android’s processing capabilities and support features when building an Android application. Think of  the  application f  framework as  a set of basic tools with which  a  developer can build     more complex tools..

At the top of the stack are the  applications  themselves. This is where you find the basic functions of the device such as making phone calls, accessing the Web browser and accessing your contacts list. If you’re an average user, this is the layer you’ll use most. You do that with the user interface. Only Google programmers, application developers and hardware manufacturers access the other layers further down the stack..

Programming

While  most Android  applications  are  written in Java, there is no Java Virtual Machine in the  platform and  Java  byte code is not executed. Java classes are compiled into Dalvik executables and run on the Dalvik virtual machine. Dalvik is a specialized virtual machine designed specifically for Android and optimized for battery-powered mobile devices with limited memory and CPU. J2ME support can be provided via third-party-applications.

Security

The security and privacy of our users’ data is of primary importance to the Android Open Source Project. We are dedicated to building and maintaining one of the most secure mobile platforms available while still fulfilling our goal of opening the mobile device space to innovation and competition.

The Android Platform provides a rich security model that allows developers to request the capabilities, or access, needed  by their application and to define  new  capabilities  that  other  applications  can request. The Android user can choose to grant or deny  an  application’s  request  for certain capabilities on  the  handset.

We  have  made  great  efforts  to  secure  the Android platform, but it  is  I n evitable  that  security  bugs will be found in any system of  this complexity. Therefore, the Android  team works  hard to find new bugs internally and responds quickly and professionally to vulnerability  reports from external researchers. The  security and privacy of our users’ data is  of  primary importance to the Android Open Source Project. We are dedicated to building and maintaining one  of  the most secure mobile platforms available while still fulfilling our goal of opening the  mobile  device s  pace  to  innovation and competition.

The Android Platform provides a rich security model that allows developers to request the capabilities, or access, needed  by  their  application and to  define  new  capabilities  that other  applications can request. The Android  user can choose  to  grant or deny an  application’s  request for certain capabilities on the handset.

 Advantages

 There  are  a  host  of  advantages  that Googles Android  will derive from being  an  open  source software. Some of the advantages include:

  • The ability for anyone to customize the Google Android platform
  • The consumer will benefit from having a wide range of mobile applications to choose from since the monopoly will be broken by Google Android
  • People  will  be able  to  customize a  mobile phones using Google Android  platform like never  before
  • Features  like  weather  details,  opening  screen, live  RSS  feeds  and  even  the  icons on  the opening screen will be  able  to be  customized

As a  result of  many  mobile  phones carrying Google Android, companies  will come  up with  such  innovative   products   like  the location. In  addition  the  entertainment  functionalities will  be  taken  a n ot ch  higher by Google Android  being  able  to  offer  online   real time multiplayer  games

Mobile companies that are using  Android  enormously are:

  • HTC
  • Samsung
  • LG
  • Sony Ericson
  • GeeksPhone
  • Motorola
  • Dell Streak
  • Nexus S.
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