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In its general meaning Android means many things. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines Android as “a robot that looks like a real person”. According to Wikipedia Android may refer to a robot, a mobile operating system designed by Google, a board game, a drug, a film and a song “The Prodigy”. The Free Dictionary (thefreedictionary.com) defines Android as “An automaton that is created from biological materials and resembles a human, also called humanoid”. It also states its meaning in medical, legal and financial contexts.
Android is a huge open source collection of mobile software for use in smart phones and tablet computers that anyone can employ to their capabilities.
“Android is a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware, and key applications. The Android SDK provides the tools and libraries necessary to begin developing applications that run on Android-powered devices” says Google.
The names of its founding fathers are Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears and Chris White in October of 2003. Its home is California, United States. On 17 August, 2005 Android Inc was acquired by Google. After taking charge Google turned it into a completely owned subsidiary of Google Inc. Since then Android is growing day by day bringing newer things to the ecosystem with every passing hour. It is available for anyone to use. Android being open source gives all the users complete access to the entire platform. The latest version, Android 4.0, brings new tools and capabilities to the ecosystem.
The challenge of its distribution did not dishearten the leaders at the company that runs the biggest search engine. Google founded Open Handset Alliance in 2007 announcing the unveiling of the Android distribution. Open Handset Alliance is a consortium of 84 hardware, software and telecommunication companies that are devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. The companies in this consortium include Broadcom Corporation, Google, HTC, Intel, LG, Marvell Telephony Group, Motorola, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile and Texas Instruments. The first product that Open Handset Alliance unveiled was “Android” – a mobile device platform built on Linux kernel version 2.6.
Google releases the Android code under the Apache License. The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is responsible for the maintenance and further development of Android. And by the way things are taking shape it can be safely said that they are doing an excellent job.
Now Android powers hundreds of thousands of tablet computers, phones and other devices bringing the power of the internet to our fingertips to glide through the web of thousands of applications that can be downloaded and used employing the platform of Android. Android, at the moment, is the most famous platform used in various mobile devices and is growing continuously with the prospect of 2012 being craziest ever. The power that Google Inc pumped into it has made it a huge success for various mobile devices.
Android market is an online software store that sells or allows free downloading of various mobile applications. This platform allows users to download or browse applications published by third party.  Android market has been developed by Google. It offers cheap web-hosting to the users.
As for the design of Android: this is what Wikipedia has to say “Android consists of a kernel based on the Linux kernel, with middleware, libraries and APIs written in C and application software running on an application framework which includes Java-compatible libraries based on Apache Harmony. Android uses the Dalvik virtual machine with just-in-time compilation to run Dalvik dex-code (Dalvik Executable), which is usually translated from Java bytecode”.
The main features of and specifications of Android are: handset layouts, storage, connectivity, messaging, multiple language support, web browser, Java support, media support, streaming media support, additional hardware support, multi-touch, Bluetooth, video calling, multitasking, voice based features, tethering and screen capture. With all these specifications an android device gets beyond smart.
There have been a number of updates to the Android since its inception. Each of these new versions added something new and spiced up the original version to attract new enthusiasts. The updated versions are: 2.3 Gingerbread, 3.0 Honeycomb, 3.1 Honeycomb, 3.2 Honeycomb and 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
Android community is a giant body of people connected to Android who use, develop new applications and collaborate with other developers. There are forums where discussion groups are busy giving solutions successfully to a whole array of problems that arise when so many people join a community. These members offer tips on development, information about troubleshooting and compose frequently asked questions and their answers.