What is Android?

| January 17, 2013 | 1 Comment

For some it might seem that Android has been around forever, but it only actually appeared on the market in 2008 on the HTC Dream (also sold as the T-Mobile G1). Since that time several updates have appeared, each adding to or improving the OS (as you would expect). Android is currently the world’s most popular mobile platform, available on phones, tablets, and even cameras and watches.

What is Android?

Despite how it is commonly described, Android is more than just an operating System (OS). Android is actually something called a Software Stack. This is a set of compatible software components which, when used together, provide a service or solution. Android is made up of the OS, middleware (which connects the OS to various applications) and the key applications themselves.

Android’s mobile operating system is based on the Linux Kernel and has been developed as an Open Source Project. The AOSP (Android Open Source Project) is tasked with maintaining and updating Android. Because Android is open source, there is a lot more freedom around who can use it on their devices and who can develop apps for it, as well as more freedom to adapt and customise it.

Looking through the guides on this website, you may be thinking that your Android device doesn’t look quite the same as the screenshots shown. That is because it probably isn’t quite the same. Each device manufacturer uses a slightly different custom UI (User Interface) to try to improve upon the standard Android UI. Your handset might also be running a different version of the operating system, which will again mean that some things look different.

what is android

We have done our best to ensure that all of the guides and tutorials found within these pages apply to all of the most common tablets and OS versions.

Android Inc and the OHA

Google were not the masterminds behind Android. The initial development of Android was by Android Inc, which Google bought for $50m in 2005. This was just two years after Android Inc was originally founded.


The development of Android really took off after the formation of the Open Handset Alliance. The OHA is made up of some hugely influential and successful companies including Google, HTC, Intel, Motorola, LG, Samsung, Arm Holdings, Garmin and Vodafone to name just a few.

Android’s First Appearance

Android first appeared commercially on the HTC Dream (or T-Mobile G1), released on the 22nd October 2008. The first App developed for Android was Snake, a version of the hugely popular mobile phone game.

Why is Android Right for You?

Android powers devices from some of the best handset and tablet manufacturers in the world, like Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Sony, Asus and more. Android devices come in all shapes and sizes, with vibrant high-resolution displays and cameras, giving you the flexibility to choose the one that’s just right for you. Flip-out keyboard or on-screen, from smartphone to tablet and at every possible price point, there’s an Android device for everyone. Android lets you choose the best smartphones and tablets through a global partnership network of over 300 carriers in over 169 countries.

Did you know?

Every version of Android since 1.5 (Cupcake) has been named after a dessert or sweet item, including Froyo (Frozen Yogurt). The latest update, Jelly Bean, followed the brilliantly named Ice Cream Sandwich in Mid 2012, but is still not as widely available on phones as it is on tablets. The names also follow an alphabetical order (Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean).

Android Statistics

Android has only been around for a few years, yet it is hard to imagine the smartphone market without it. In those few short years, Google and Android have really racked up some impressive numbers.

- 700,000 Apps available on the Play Store.

- 25 Billion downloads from the Play Store.

- 500 Million devices activated so far.

- First Android-powered device launched in 2008.

- 75 Percent share of the worldwide smartphone market.

- 1.3 Million Android devices being activated every day.

- There have so far been 11 different version of the operating system.  



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