Android is an open source and Linux based operating system and was designed primarily for mobile devices but later on was expanded to other devices such as Android TV for television, Android Auto for cars and Wear for wrist watches. The OS relies on Linux version 2.6 for core system services such as security, memory management, process management, network stack, and driver model. The kernel acts as an abstraction layer between the hardware and rest of the software stack.
Android development was started by Android Inc which was acquired by Google in 2005 for at least $50 million(5cr INR). Android Inc was founded by Andy Rubin, Richer Miner, Nick Sears, and Chris White.
It was announced publically in 2007. Along with this announcement OHA(Open Handset Alliance) came into existence on 5th November 2007. OHA was established by Google with 34 members which included Network Operators, Software Developers, Component Manufacturers, Device Manufacturers, and Others.OHA members cannot manufacture devices that are based on incompatible forks of Android. The flagship software of the OHA alliance is competing against mobile platforms like Apple, Microsoft, Samsung Electronics, BlackBerry etc.
The first SDK was released to developers on 12th November 2007. The first commercially available phone running on the OS was HTC dream (also known as T-mobile G1). Although Today’s smartphone buyer won’t be impressed with such a configuration, Dream had a 528mhz, single-core CPU with 192mb of ram and a 3.2-inch 320 x 480 display.
Since 2008, The OS has seen numerous updates which have improved the operating system, adding new features with each release. Each major release is named in alphabetical order after a dessert or sugary treat.
Android version Name Features
Android 1.1 It was released with the HTC dream mobile • The android market was used as a single source of delivery for android apps.
• It came with the android browser which made surfing the web fun.
• It was the first version of android to offer data syncing with google.
• It came with google maps which used gps to point hot location on a map.
Android 1.5 Cupcake • It came with shortcuts and widgets on the home screen which allowed infinite ways to customize the home screen.
• Video recording was added to the camera along with the ability to directly upload videos to YouTube.
• The browser got a speed improvement along with copy-paste support
Android 1.6 Donut • It came with support for multiple screen resolutions and paved the way for Android devices of different screen sizes.
• Google Maps Navigation was added with turn by turn satellite navigation support.
• Donut included universal search feature which allowed us to pinpoint apps on the phone or searching the web.
Android 2.0 and 2.1 Éclair • Multi-touch support was added to Android.
• Web browser received a visual overhaul with a new address bar and thumbnails for a sneak peek.
• Eclair brought a unified inbox to Android. Support for multiple Google accounts was added.
• Support for searching within text messages
Android 2.2 Froyo • Phone flash could be used in videos too.
• Settings joined contacts and email in backing up to Google’s servers allowing you to automatically restore everything on a new device.
• Enhanced Bluetooth compatibility with docks and car speakers.
• Portable WiFi hotspot to share the device’s internet connection with other gadgets.
Android 2.3 Gingerbread • UI overhaul to avoid screen burn-in and improve battery life.
• Front facing camera support for video calling.
• Download manager to manage your downloads.
• Improved on-screen keyboard with shortcuts and a cursor to help with copy paste
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich • The biggest redesign to Android with the Holo theme.
• Faster smoother browsing experience.
• Multi storage space for apps.
• Face recognition for unlocking the phone
Android 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 Jellybean • Google Now, an assistant tool that displays relevant information based on your search history.
• Project Butter to support higher frame rates while swiping through menus and home screens.
• Ability to quickly view photos by swiping from the camera to go to the filmstrip.
• Widgets realign themselves on adding new ones.
• Richer notifications.
• New gestures and accessibility features
Android 4.4 Kitkat • Immersive mode for better content consumption.
• Better navigation bar for getting in and out of Immersive mode.
• Lock screen widgets support.
• New dialer with Caller ID feature.
• Full-screen wallpapers.
• Emoji keyboard for emoticons.
• Unified Hangouts and messaging app.
• Better cloud print support.
• Smarter, hands-free Google Now Integration
Android 5.0 Lollipop • Better quick settings support.
• Enhanced battery life with new Battery Saver mode.
• New lock screen.
• Smart Lock features via Google Play Services.
• Guest mode for device sharing.
• App pinning
Android 6.0 Marshmallow • Marshmallow came with Doze for better standby time.
• Official fingerprint support for devices.
• Support for mobile payments via Android Pay.
• Better permissions model for apps.
• Google Now on Tap.
• Deep linking of App
Android 7.0 Nougat • Doze on the Go for even better standby time.
• Multi Window for using two apps at the same time.
• Better Settings app.
• Clear all in the recent apps screen.
• Direct Reply to notifications.
• Bundled notifications.
• Quick Settings toggles customization
Android 8.0 Oreo • Newly redesigned notification shade.
• Strict rules for background processes Picture in Picture for using one app (video player for example) on top of another.
• Notification dots to quickly view an app’s activity by long pressing on it Adaptive icons for dynamic adaptation to launcher styles.
• Notification channels for better priority and categorization of notifications.
• Better overall color management for a more richer viewing experience.
• AutoFill for filling and remembering passwords within apps.
Applications can be downloaded from the Google Play store, which features over 2.7 million apps as of February 2017. OS has two billion monthly active users, and it has the largest installed base of any operating system.