What is Android – A Detailed Guide on World’s Dearest Mobile OS

What is Android?

Android means an automaton or a robot that resembles a human being, also called a humanoid. This is the definition of Android. But not many would be bothered with that because for millions and millions across the globe, Android is an operating system from Google. An operating system that runs most smart phones and tablets around the world today, which is the most flexible and customizable OS available across various platforms and service providers.

Android was developed by Android Inc., and was backed financially by Google and subsequently taken over. It is a Linux based operating system or OS, which was intended to be open source and aimed at touch screen devices. The first Android phone was launched in October 2008 under the name G-1 or Dream by the company HTC who till then had majorly focused on Windows based touch screen phones. Google releases Android under Apache License, which allows its free licensing and customization by various manufactures who can tweak, modify and enhance the operating system as per their device specifications. They however need to honor certain terms and conditions by Google in terms of OS tweaks and the standard applications that the devices are shipped with.

A detailed guide on what is Android Mobile OSThe time when Google introduced Android to the world, the mobile phone market was dominated by NOKIA who at that time manufactured their smart phones on their proprietary Symbian OS, and the introduction of a then ‘super phone’, Apple iPhone. The initial years for Android were a bit of trial and error and it took its time to compete and establish itself. Google’s constant efforts to make a user friendly OS that gave user the control on what and how they wanted in their smart phone; meant that there was no looking back for Android as a major OS that today powers over half the smart phones in the world. The main contributors and beneficiaries of these were mainly Samsung’s Galaxy smart phone line and HTC. This was later followed by LG, SONY and Motorola and also a lot of small scale local phone manufacturers who used the OS’s customizing capabilities to make budget phones. Among these, there were also Google’s own Flagship Android devices offering pure Android experience, called GooglNexus, manufactured by HTC, Samsung, Asus and recently by LG.

The other major factor that worked in Android’s favor was because of its open source-ness a huge community of software and application developers were able to make various applications for mobile devices, which are today called Mobile Apps. Google also gave these developers and its users a common platform called the Android Market, now known as the Google Playstore; where these developers can upload these apps for either free or at relatively affordable prices for users across the globe to download and use them without any hassles (a similar process to the Apple app store on iOS for the iPhone, iPAD or iPOD etc.) As on October 2012, there were over 700,000 apps on the Google Playstore that trumps the Apple App store by a mile. Moreover the Playstore also offers a lot of ebooks, magazines, music and movies for the users to enjoy at anytime, anywhere.

Android’s customizing factor has also made it a popular choice of OS for various companies who would want to develop content as well as make software, which is easily portable, light weight, easily upgradeable and does not require to be started from scratch. This has resulted in Android being used as a main OS in a lot of devices apart from just phones and tablets, such as even televisions and cameras. Even in smart phones or tablets, if you have certain files that aren’t compatible with your device or some software functions that your device lacks, you will most likely find an app to fix that on the Playstore. Android also names its OS interestingly. Apart from Android 1.0, all other OS have been named after a dessert. Android version 1.5 called Cupcake, 1.6 called Donut, 2.0 and 2.1 called Éclair, 2.2 as Froyo (Frozen Yogurt), 2.3 Gingerbread, 3.0 Honeycomb, 4.0 Ice cream Sandwich, 4.1 and 4.2 Jelly Bean.

Google Nexus Android powered smartphones and tabletsOne major factor that has allowed Android to gain so much popularity in just a couple of years and dethrone a lot of ‘market leaders’ is Google’s reach. The search giant today is everywhere on the internet. The most popular email; Gmail is from Google. The most popular video streaming site; YouTube is by Google. Google also pioneered in location searches via its Google Maps and Google Earth, enabling people to navigate with ease. The one common factor in all these is that Google has these customized as per various regions of the world right from the USA, UK, China, Korea to even countries like India, which a lot of others have ignored. For instance you can find a lot of India specific apps on Google’s Devices and Playstore as compared to iOS. Even the amount of language options and various accents that a Google device can recognize for voice search is far more than any other OS. All these features come preloaded in any Android device of any budget that you may buy.

Apart from the world wide flexibility, the OS also enjoys easy portability from a device with very low specs to a device that has earth shattering hardware. This allows manufacturers to make smart phones and tablet in all price segments, right from the cheapest to the most expensive. You can find an Android device/Tablet for as low as Rs. 2500 to as high as Rs. 35,000. Best example of this is the Aakash tablet in India that runs Android OS and it was introduced at a price as low as Rs. 2500 and had a 7 inch touch screen. This also encouraged a lot of Indian companies to come up with innovative and new smart phones and tablets for the masses at price ranges from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 10,000. Companies like HCL, iBALL, Micromax, Karbonn etc. have all introduced pretty solid performing smart phones and tablet running on Android operating systems; thus allowing these Indian companies to get recognition in the world, and are able to establish their presence in the over crowded mobile device segment.

By now, you would be pretty much aware of what Android is and the revolution it has brought in the mobile device segment. It is still evolving as we speak like any other technology but it has offered a great amount of flexibility and resourcefulness to its user and still gives them the freedom to choose what they want and how they want their device to be, unlike a lot of other leading mobile device companies out there. This has helped Android and Google to be a major player in the mobile world that today we are all part of.


  1. zrqa.com says:

    what is android…

    is Android? Here is a small guide on all you wanted to know about Android and some interesting facts about it….

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