Android (mobile device platform)

Android (mobile device platform)

Infobox OS
name = Android

caption =
website = []
developer = Open Handset Alliance
updatemodel =
package_manager =

Android is a software platform and operating system for mobile devices, based on the Linux kernel, developed by Google and later the Open Handset Alliance.cite web |url= |title=Industry Leaders Announce Open Platform for Mobile Devices |accessdate=2007-11-05 |date=2007-11-05 |format=HTML |work= |publisher=Open Handset Alliance |language=English] It allows developers to write managed code in a Java-like language that utilizes Google-developed Java libraries, [cite web |url= | title=Google's Android parts ways with Java industry group] but does not support programs developed in native code.cite web |url= |title=General Android |accessdate=2008-08-29]

The unveiling of the Android platform on 5 November 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 34 hardware, software, and telecom companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices.cite web |url= |title=Open Handset Alliance |accessdate=2007-11-06 |format=HTML |publisher=Open Handset Alliance |language=English] Google has pledged to make most of the Android platform available under the Apache free-software and open source license.cite web|url=|title=Open Handset Alliance|accessdate=2008-09-23]


Google acquires Android, Inc.

In July 2005, Google acquired Android, Inc., a small startup company based in Palo Alto, CA.cite web |url= |title=Google Buys Android for Its Mobile Arsenal |accessdate=2007-11-07 |last=Elgin |first=Ben |date=2005-08-17 |format=HTML |publisher=Business Week |language=English] Android's co-founders who went to work at Google included Andy Rubin (co-founder of DangerFact|date=September 2008), Rich Miner (co-founder of Wildfire Communications, Inc.Fact|date=September 2008), Nick Sears (once VP at T-MobileFact|date=September 2008), and Chris White (one of the first engineers at WebTVFact|date=September 2008). At the time, little was known about the functions of Android, Inc. other than they made software for mobile phones. This began rumors that Google was planning to enter the mobile phone market, although it was unclear what function it might perform in that market.Fact|date=September 2008

At Google, the team, led by Rubin, developed a Linux-based mobile device OS which they marketed to handset makers and carriers on the premise of providing a flexible, upgradeable system.Fact|date=November 2007 It was reported that Google had already lined up a series of hardware component and software partners and signaled to carriers that it was open to various degrees of cooperation on their part.cite web |url= |title=Google is working on a mobile OS, and it's due out shortly |accessdate=2007-11-06 |last=Block |first=Ryan |date=2007-08-28 |format=HTML |publisher=Engadget |language=English] cite web |url= |title=Google Pushes Tailored Phones To Win Lucrative Ad Market |accessdate=2007-11-06 |last=Sharma |first=Amol |coauthors=Kevin J. Delaney |date=2007-08-02 |format=HTML |publisher=The Wall Street Journal |language=English] cite web |url= |title=Google admits to mobile phone plan |accessdate=2007-11-06 |date=2007-03-20 |format=HTML | |publisher=Google News |language=English]

More speculation that Google would be entering the mobile-phone market came in December 2006.cite journal |last=McKay |first=Martha |year=2006 |month=December |title=Can iPhone become your phone?; Linksys introduces versatile line for cordless service. |journal="The Record" |volume= |issue= |pages=L9 |id= |url= |accessdate=2007-11-06 |quotes=And don't hold your breath, but the same cell phone-obsessed tech watchers say it won't be long before Google jumps headfirst into the phone biz. Phone, anyone?] Reports from the BBC and "The Wall Street Journal" noted that Google wanted its search and applications on mobile phones and it was working hard to deliver that. Print and online media outlets soon reported rumors that Google was developing a Google-branded handset.cite web |url= |title=Blogosphere Aflutter With Linux-Based phone Rumors |accessdate=2007-11-07 |last=Ackerman |first=Elise |date=2007-08-30 |format=HTML |publisher=Linux Insider |language=English] More speculation followed reporting that as Google was defining technical specifications, it was showing prototypes to cell phone manufacturers and network operators. As many as 30 prototype phones are reported to be operating "in the wild."cite web |url= |title=Why Google’s phone won’t kill Apple’s iPhone |accessdate=2007-11-06 |last=Cox |first=John |date=2007-10-08 |format=HTML |work=Network World |publisher=New York Times |pages=2 |language=English] "Phoronix" had reported that Google wanted to team up on the GPhone with OpenMoko,cite web |url= |title=Google Using OpenMoko For Phone? |accessdate=2007-11-06 |last=Larabel |first=Michael |date=2007-08-06 |format=HTML |publisher=Phoronix |language=English] a project to create a smartphone platform using free software, including the Linux kernel, but "Network World" reported that Google’s phone was actually a mobile operating system, rather than a specific hardware device like the iPhone.

Patents, patent applications filed

In September 2007, "InformationWeek" covered an Evalueserve study reporting that Google has filed several patent applications in the area of mobile telephony, hinting at the arrival of the gPhone in the (then) near future.cite web |url= |title=Google's Secret Patent Portfolio Predicts gPhone |accessdate=2007-11-06 |last=Claburn |first=Thomas |date=2007-09-19 |format=HTML |publisher=Information Week |language=English] cite web |url= |title=Google’s Strong Mobile-Related Patent Portfolio |accessdate=2007-11-07 |last=Pearce |first=James Quintana |date=2007-09-20 |format=HTML | |language=English] Notable US patents and patent applications include:
*: Cellular Telephone Case
*: Baseband Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum Transceiver
*: Application of a Pseudo-randomly Shuffled Hadamard Function in a Wireless CDMA System
*: Overloaded Communication Session
*: Image-based Contextual Advertisement Method and Branded Barcodes
*: Advertisements for Devices with Call Functionality Such as Mobile Phones
*: Image Base Inquiry System for Search Engines for Mobile Telephones with Integrated Cameras
*: Customized Data Retrieval Applications for Mobile Devices Providing Interpretation of Markup Language Data

Google applied for a patent for a mobile payment system to complement its plans to launch what was thought to be a Google phone.cite web |url= |title=GPhone rumours escalate with new patent |accessdate=2007-11-06 |date=2007-04-09 |format=HTML |publisher=Mobile Marketing News |language=English] Known as GPay,cite web |url= |title=Mobile patent application fuels Google Phone speculation |accessdate=2007-11-06 |date=2007-06-09 |format=HTML | |publisher=Google News |language=English] it covered a system that would let the user send a text message to Google giving the details of a payment to a specified recipient. GPay would then debit the user's bank account, crediting the money to the payee. (This patent may be invalid in light of prior art.cite web |url=|title=Open source mobile payment software |accessdate=2007-12-31 |date=2007-01-01 |format=HTML ||publisher=Sourceforge |language=English] )

Open Handset Alliance founded

On 5 November, 2007, the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of several companies which include Google, HTC, Intel, Motorola, Qualcomm, T-Mobile, Sprint Nextel and NVIDIA, was unveiled with the goal to develop open standards for mobile devices.cite web|url=|title=Industry Leaders Announce Open Platform for Mobile Devices|accessdate=2007-11-05|date=2007-11-05|format=HTML|work=|publisher=Open Handset Alliance|language=English] Along with the formation of the Open Handset Alliance, the OHA also unveiled their first product, Android, a mobile device platform built on the Linux kernel.

Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt took a moment in the official press release to dispel all previous rumors and speculation about the existence of a stand-alone Google phone.Fact|date=August 2008

G1 unveiled

The first phone running Google Android is the T-Mobile G1. The phone was demonstrated in September, 2008, and is expected to go on sale on October 22. [] [cite web|url=|title=T-Mobile G1 site]


Current features and specifications:cite web |url= |title=What is Android? |accessdate=2007-11-12 |date=2007-11-12 |format=HTML |publisher=Google |language=English] cite web |url= |title=Google's Android OS early look SDK now available |accessdate=2007-11-12 |last=Topolsky |first=Joshua |date=2007-11-12 |format=HTML |publisher=Engadget |language=English] ;Handset layouts:The platform is adaptable to both larger, VGA, 2D graphics library, 3D graphics library based on OpenGL ES 1.0 specifications, and traditional smartphone layouts.;Storage:The Database Software SQLite is used for data storage purposes;Connectivity:Android supports a wide variety of connectivity technologies including GSM/EDGE, CDMA, EV-DO, UMTS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.;Messaging:SMS, MMS, and XMPP are available forms of messaging including threaded text messaging. The XMPP implementation is based on Jive Software's Smack [] ;Web browser:main|WebKit:The web browser available in Android is based on the open-source WebKit application framework.;Java virtual machine:Software written in Java can be compiled into Dalvik bytecodes and executed in the Dalvik virtual machine, which is a specialized VM implementation designed for mobile device use, although not technically a standard Java Virtual Machine.;Media support:Android will support advanced audio/video/still media formats such as MPEG-4, H.264, MP3, AAC, OGG, AMR, JPEG, PNG, GIF.;Additional hardware support:Android is fully capable of utilizing video/still cameras, touchscreens, GPS, accelerometers, and accelerated 3D graphics.;Development environment:Includes a device emulator, tools for debugging, memory and performance profiling, a plugin for the Eclipse IDE.

Hardware products running Android

Several manufacturers have expressed interest in implementing the Android platform.


Google has unveiled at least three prototypes for Android at the Mobile World Congress on 12 February 2008. One prototype at the ARM booth displayed several basic Google applications. A 'd-pad' controls zooming of items in the dock with a relatively quick response.Fact|date=August 2008

A prototype at the Google IO conference on May 28, 2008 had a 528 MHz Qualcomm processor and a Synaptics capacitive touchscreen and used the UMTS cellular standard. It had a 128 MB of RAM and 256 MB of flash. The demo was carried out using a 3.6 Mbit/s HSDPA connection.Fact|date=August 2008

T-Mobile smartphone

T-Mobile announced in August 2008 that they would deliver the first production smartphone — the HTC Dream — to use Google's Android software.cite news
last = Holson
first = Laura
coauthors = Helft, Miguel
title = Smartphone Is Expected via Google
publisher = New York Times
date = 2008-08-14
url =
accessdate = 2008-08-15
] The device received FCC approval in August 2008. The android-powered smartphone will be available to consumers from 22 October 2008 onwards, [cite web|url=|title=How Many Google Andriod-based Dreams Will T-mobile Sell This Year?|first=Clint|last=Boulton||date=17 September 2008|accessdate=2008-09-17] cite web|url=|title=Android for Dummies|date=September 18, 2008|publisher=TechPluto] cite news
last = Holson
first = Laura
title = A ‘Dream’ Come True: U.S. Approves the First Google Phone
publisher = New York Times
date = 2008-08-18
url =
accessdate = 2008-08-18
] with a price tag of $179, subject to a two year contract. [ [ Live Blogging From the Google Phone Event] ]

The website for the G1, the name of the first Google Android phone running on T-Mobile, went live on September 23, 2008. [cite news
last = Diaz
first = Rafael
title = Google Android Dream Phone Website Live
publisher = International Business Times
date = 2008-09-23
accessdate = 2008-09-23
] [ [ Google Android Dream Phone Website Live] ]

Software development

The early feedback on developing applications for the Android platform was mixed.cite web |url= |title=Developing apps for Google Android: it's a mixed bag |accessdate=2007-12-19 |last=Paul |first=Ryan |date=2007-12-19 |format=HTML |work=ars technica |publisher= |language=English] Issues cited include bugs, lack of documentation, inadequate QA infrastructure, and no public issue-tracking system. (Google announced an issue tracker on 18 January 2008.) [cite web |url= |title=You can't rush perfection, but now you can file bugs against it] MergeLab mobile startup founder Adam MacBeth stated, "Functionality is not there, is poorly documented or just doesn't work... It's clearly not ready for prime time."cite web |url= |title=Glitches Bug Google's Android Software |accessdate=2007-12-19 |last=Morrison |first=Scott |date=2007-12-19 |format=HTML |work=The Wall Street Journal |publisher= |language=English] Despite this, Android-targeted applications began to appear already the week after the platform was announced. The first publicly available application was the Snake game. [cite web |url= |title= Snake |accessdate=2008-01-26 |date= |format= |work= |publisher= |language=English] cite web |url= |title=First Android Application - Snake |accessdate=2008-01-07 |date=2007-11-14 |format=HTML |work=Mobiles2day |publisher= |language=English]

Software development kit

The Android SDK includes a comprehensive set of development tools. [ [ development tools] ] These include a debugger, libraries, a handset emulator, documentation, sample code, and tutorials). Currently supported development platforms include x86-based computers running Linux (any Linux Distribution), Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later, Windows XP or Vista. Requirements also include Java Development Kit, Apache Ant, and Python 2.2 or later. The officially supported integrated development environment (IDE) is Eclipse (3.2 or later) using the Android Development Tools (ADT) Plugin, though developers may use any text editor to edit Java and XML files then use command line tools to create, build and debug Android applications.

A preview release of the Android software development kit (SDK) was released on 12 November, 2007.

On 15 July, 2008, the Android Developer Challenge Team accidentally sent an email [] to allentrants in the Android Developer Challenge announcing that a new release of the SDK was available in a "private" download area.The email was intended for winners of the first round of the Android Developer Challenge. The revelation that Google wassupplying new SDK releases to some developers and not others (and keeping this arrangement private) has led to widely reportedfrustration within the Android developer community [] .

On 18 August, 2008 the Android 0.9 SDK beta was released. This release provides an updated and extended API, improved development tools and an updated design for the home screen. Detailed instructions [] for upgrading are available to those already working with an earlier release.

On 23 September, 2008 the Android 1.0 SDK (Release 1) was released. [] According to the release notes, it included "mainly bug fixes, although some smaller features were added". It also included several API changes from the 0.9 version.

Android Developer Challenges

The Android Developer Challenge was a competition for the most innovative application for Android. Google offered prizes totaling 10 million US dollars, distributed between two phases of the competition.cite web |url= |title=Android Developer Challenge |accessdate=2008-01-11 |format=HTML | |language=English] cite web |url= |title= The Google Phone? Not Quite |accessdate=2008-01-11 |format=HTML | |language=English] The first phase accepted submissions from 2 January to 14 April 2008. The 50 most promising entries, announced on 12 May 2008, each received a $25,000 award to fund further development. [ [ Android Developers Blog: The Top 50 Applications ] ] [ [ Android Developer Challenge announces first-round winners ] ] The second phase ended in early September with the announcement of ten teams that received $275,000 each, and ten teams that received $100,000 each. []


Android has been criticized for not being all open-source software despite what was announced by Google. Parts of the SDK are proprietary and closed source and some believe this is so that Google can control the platform. [ cite web |url= |title=When will we see more code released under open source licenses? |publisher=Google |quote="Over time, more of the code that makes up Android will be released, but at this point, we have been concentrating on shipping an SDK that helps application developers get started. In short: Stay tuned." |date=2008-01-29 |accessdate=2008-02-03] [cite web |url= |title=Dalvik, Android's virtual machine, generates significant debate |last=Slobojan |first=Ryan | |date=2007-11-19 |accessdate=2008-03-01] [cite web |url= |title=What Does Android Mean for Sun’s OpenJDK |last=Topic |first=Dalibor |quote="Android is proprietary, despite being marketed as open source. Android has a compatibility pledge, signed and kept behind closed doors. Android has no governance model, nor any indication there will be one. Android has no spec, and the license prohibits alternative implementations, as that’s not a use licensed by Google in the SDK license. Android is completely controlled by Google, and Google reserves the right to kill off competitors applications if they hurt Google financially, etc. It’s only as open as it is in Google’s financial interest to allow openness, by design." |date=2007-11-14 |accessdate=2008-02-03] [cite web |url= |title=QOTD: Google's license for the Android SDK |last=Topic |first=Dalibor |quote=There is a bunch of other rather objectionable stuff, but dear me, this is pretty bad as far as license agreements for pseudo-open-source software go |date=2007-11-12 |accessdate=2008-02-03] The Android Software Development Kit License Agreement [cite web |url= |title=Android Software Development Kit License Agreement |publisher=Google |date=2007-11-12 |accessdate=2008-02-03] states that:

However, Google has since announced that all parts of the OS will be released under the Apache License where applicable and under the GPL elsewhere. Google's applications that interact with Google's systems, such as their email service, are not open source.

Also, at least for now, software installed by users must be written in Java and will not have access to lower level device APIs. [cite web |url= |title=Google Android - a sneak preview |publisher=TheRegister |quote=You may write in Java, but the byte code is Dalvik...So all initial Android development is in Dalvik, thus disappointed many of the developers who were looking for a system which was better at hitting the metal of a phone than Symbian...There may be a future path to allow C development, but initially this will be in the form of private libraries which are only available to your Dalvik application. Google has experimented with this to port Quake to Android. Dalvik is, of course, Open Source (under an Apache 2.0 license). But in practice, the restriction of all development being within Dalvik draws the line on what is open and what is closed in a very interesting way...But Android is not (yet) open beyond Dalvik. |date=2008-02-02 |accessdate=2008-02-03] This provides end-users with less control over their phone's functionality than other free and open source phone platforms, such as Openmoko.

Another issue is related to Android's disregard of established Java standards, i.e. Java SE and ME. This prevents compatibility among Java applications written for those platforms and those for the Android platform. Android only reuses the Java language syntax, but does not provide the full-class libraries and APIs bundled with Java SE or ME, instead using the Apache Harmony Java implementation. [cite web |url= |title=Dalvik: how Google routed around Sun’s IP-based licensing restrictions on Java ME |publisher=Stefano Mazzocchi]

See also

* LiMo Foundation
* Linux Phone Standards Forum
* maemo
* Mobilinux
* Moblin project
* Mobile World Congress
* Open Mobile Alliance
* Openmoko
* Qtopia
* Symbian Foundation


External links

* [ Official Android page]
* [ Official Android Google Code page]
* [ Android Wiki]
* [ Mike Jennings talks about Android at the Next 08 conference] (Exxplain video)
* [ What Google's Android means to the tech industry] (ITworld)

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