All About Android, Google`s New Mobile Operating System

Do you want to get the best out of your mobile device? You may be a user and you wish your mobile device could perform more functions. Or perhaps you are a developer, and you want to create applications for mobile devices. Well, you’ll have to take a look at Android. You will certainly like what it has to offer.


Android is an open operating system and platform that is based on the Linux kernel. In addition, it has a middleware application and other valuable development tools. Developed by Google, Android is designed to work with mobile devices. As a result, developers can use Google-developed Java libraries to write managed code in a Java-like language. However, Android does not work with programs that were developed in native code.

There were three prototypes for Android that Google revealed. In February, 2008, one of the prototypes that Google developed showed basic Google applications. In May, 2008, Google unveiled a second prototype that featured a 528 MHz Qualcomm processor, along with a Synaptics touch-screen, 128 MB of RAM, and 256 MB of flash memory. This prototype was based on the UMTS cellular standard. Google demonstrated this prototype using a 3.6 Mbit/s HSDPA connection. Finally, in August, 2008, Google released the Android 0.9 SDK, which consists of enhanced development tools and extended and updated API.

You’ll definitely want to read about what Android has to offer, and if you like what you see, you may consider checking out the T-Mobile G1 mobile phone . The T-Mobile G1 mobile phone is the first phone that uses the Google Android operating system.

{mospagebreak title=History of Android}

Android began as a start-up company that developed software for mobile phones. It was based in Palo Alto, California. In July, 2005, Google bought Android . This set off rumors that Google was planning to get into the mobile phone market. However, no one knew exactly what role Google would play in this market. Android’s original founders, Nick Sears, Chris White, Andy Rubin and Rich Miner went on to work at Google. Each man brought their own expertise to the company.

Rubin led the team in creating a Linux-based mobile device OS. The team promoted the device to handset manufacturers as well as to carriers. The team’s message to these potential customers was that OS was flexible and scalable.

This sparked even more curiosity in the media. Media outlets like The Wall Street Journal and BBC mentioned that Google wanted to have applications and search capabilities on mobile phones. As a result, rumors started to fly that Google was making a Google handset to compete against Apple’s iPhone. Others thought Google was developing a mobile operating system, instead of a phone.

However, in November 5, 2007, the Open Handset Alliance , a group of prominent phone manufacturers, revealed an open platform called Android to be used with mobile devices. The Open Handset Alliance consists of phone manufacturers, such as Sprint Nextel, NVIDIA, HTC, Motorola, Qualcomm, Intel, and Google. Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google, gave a press conference to quash all of the rumors that the company was developing a Google phone.

{mospagebreak title=The Features of Android}

As previously stated, Android is a n open platform, so developers can create dynamic and rich applications for Android. For example, an application can call on any of the mobile device’s capabilities, whether it’s sending text messages, using the camera, or making phone calls. A Linux-based system, Android uses a virtual machine that is engineered to enhance the hardware and memory resources in a mobile environment. Android uses Linux version 2.6 for its core systems, including memory management, driver model, network stack, security, and process management.

Android is scalable, meaning it can adapt to work with more advanced mobile applications as they’re being developed. Finally, Android comprises a multi-tasking environment, meaning you can operate more than one application at the same time.

Android doesn’t discriminate between your applications and the mobile device’s core applications. Users will have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to services and applications. For example, they can change their device’s home screen or the style of the dialer. Customers will be able to employ their favorite image application to manage all of their photos. Applications can be seamlessly embedded in style sheets, HTML, and JavaScript. You can use WebView to render web content in an application.

Android aims to break down barriers, enabling customers to have a rich and enjoyable experience. Other things that developers can do include the ability to merge data from the Internet with information on the customer’s mobile device. Developers will be able to merge information, such as geographic location, calendar, and contact information. Developers will also be able to create applications that not only can locate the customer’s friend or family member, but notify you when they’re in your area. That way, you can meet up with them.

In addition to being flexible and scalable, developers can quickly create and deploy applications. For one, developers can get the device’s location and let it communicate with another mobile device. As a result, they can create peer-to-peer social applications. If you’re ready to start developing applications, you can use Google’s Android Software Development Kit .

{mospagebreak title=Features continued}

Android has an application framework that allows developers to reuse and replace components. It has a set of core applications, including an SMS program, email client, calendar, maps, browser, contacts, and others. These applications are all developed in Java. As previously stated, Android uses a virtual machine, known as Dalvik, which is optimized for mobile devices. Android’s developers wrote the code to ensure that a device can flawlessly operate on multiple VMs. The Dalvik is register-based, and operates classes that are compiled by Java.

Android’s application framework includes a resource manager that enables developers to access non-code resources, including layout files, localized strings, and graphics. Developers can use Views, which is extensible and rich, to create an application that includes buttons, grids, lists, and text boxes. Developers can also take advantage of the Notification Manager, which allows all applications to show custom alerts in the status bar. Finally, they can use the Activity Manager to manage applications’ life cycles.

Android comes with an integrated browser that is based on the open source Webkit engine. You can also take advantage of Android’s graphics; they are based on the OpenGL ES 1.0 specification. Android also comes with SQLite, which is used for data storage.

For developers who are concerned about media compatibility, Android supports the following formats: GIF, PNG, JPG, AAC, AMR, MP3, MPEG4, and H.264. Android supports WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth, GSM telephony, and EDGE. Its rich development environment consists of memory and performance profiling, debugging tools, a device emulator, and a plug-in for the Eclipse IDE.

Android comes equipped with libraries that are based on C/C++. Some of Android’s components use these libraries. Some of the core libraries that are found in Android include FreeType, SGL, Surface Manager, Media Libraries, SGL, 3D libraries, and LibWebCore.

{mospagebreak title=The First Android-Based Device}

If you’re interested in getting your hands on a mobile phone that is based on the Android platform, T-Mobile is the first wireless phone company to carry one. T-Mobile announced the phone in August, 2008. Known as the T-Mobile G1 , this phone retails for approximately $179. Unfortunately, you must sign a two-year contract.

The T-Mobile G1’s features include a touch-screen that allows you to access important information with the touch of your finger. You can use the 3MP camera to take high-quality photos. It also comes with a built-in QWERTY keyboard that enables you to type messages. You can use Google applications, such as Google Talk, YouTube, Gmail, Calendar, and Maps, which include street views, traffic, and satellite images. The T-Mobile G1 comes with IM, text, and email capabilities. You can also listen to your music by inserting your 1 GB memory card.

The phone offers both 3G network and WiFi access. You can access the Android market with just one touch. You will love being able customize your phone to your preferences by taking advantage of the applications. These applications include social networking, games, and on-the-go shopping. You can use a couple of short clicks to wirelessly download the applications. The T-Mobile G1 also comes with video playback functionality, where you can watch YouTube or your videos from anywhere.

Another feature you will love is that you can tailor your screen to the way you want it. All you need to do is drag and drop your favorite application, folders, or images onto your home screen. You can then quickly access and use them.

Unfortunately, there has been some criticism of the T-Mobile G1 phone. Problems include lack of a public issue-tracking system and quality assurance infrastructure and documentation. According to Adam MacBeth of MergeLab,  “Functionality is not there, poorly documented or just doesn’t work…It’s clearly not ready for prime time.” As often happens with new products that come out on the market, this one does not work smoothly.

Whether or not the G1 mobile device is a hit from the get-go shouldn’t be a big issue for the Android platform, because it has already received tons of publicity and is backed by one of the most powerful web companies in the world (if not the most powerful) – Google. So I expect the Android platform to be successful in the next year or two after some of the initial bugs and flaws are ironed out.

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