Android (operating system)

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Android, a mobile operating system (OS) initially conceived by Android Inc., was later bought by Google[2] in 2005. The system, built on a customised Linux kernel, is a product of the Open Handset Alliance’s development efforts. As a part of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), it is open-source but incorporates proprietary Google Mobile Services. Android versions have traditionally taken their names from dessert-themed monikers, with app distribution mainly through the Google Play Store. With over 70% of mobile devices employing Android, it is commonly customised by individual vendors. Since 2011 for smartphones and 2013 for tablets, Android has led the market in OS sales, underlining its industry supremacy. It boasts over 3 billion active users[1] monthly and accommodates 3 million apps on the Google Play Store. Android consistently pushes technological boundaries, with its most recent iteration, Android 14, launched in October 2023. It caters to a wide array of features and devices, including foldable phones, tablets, Chromebooks, game controllers, physical keyboards, and hardware sensors. Despite hurdles in updates, Android’s evolution is remarkable, transitioning from the Google Play edition to Android One and Pixel phones. Android also serves as a powerful platform for app development, equipped with preinstalled Google apps, Android SDK, Kotlin, Java, and C++, with Google’s Android Studio as the primary Integrated Development Environment (IDE). It provides diverse storage alternatives and complies with data privacy regulations.

Terms definitions
1. active users. Active Users denotes individuals who interact with an online platform or application within a given timeframe. This concept is fundamental in diverse sectors such as business, academia, and research. In the business domain, active user metrics help forecast growth trajectories, customer involvement, and prospective revenue sources. Within academia and research, analyzing active user behavior aids in comprehending online behavioral trends. Ethical aspects surrounding active users highlight the significance of informed consent, data protection, and confidentiality in the digital sphere. Defining and precisely quantifying active users present technical hurdles due to diverse practices among various firms. Furthermore, data regarding active users is vital in predictive analytics and policy deliberations about technology usage and online security.
2. Google ( Google ) Primarily acknowledged for its search engine, Google is a universally esteemed technology corporation. The company, established in 1998 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, has expanded significantly, branching out into numerous tech-related fields. Google offers a wide array of services and products, encompassing Android, YouTube, Cloud, Maps, and Gmail. It also manufactures hardware like Chromebooks and Pixel smartphones. Since 2015, Google has been a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. and is celebrated for its inventive spirit and workplace environment that promotes employees' personal projects. Despite confronting several ethical and legal challenges, Google continues to influence the tech sector with its groundbreaking innovations and technological progress, including the creation of Android OS and the purchase of companies specializing in AI.

Android is a mobile operating system (32-bit and 64-bit) based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open-source software, designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Android is developed by a consortium of developers known as the Open Handset Alliance, though its most widely used version is primarily developed by Google. It was unveiled in November 2007, with the first commercial Android device, the HTC Dream, being launched in September 2008.

A flat robot head, a green semicircle with antennas and small holes for eyes.
Wordmark and logo used since 2023
DeveloperVarious (mostly Google)
Written inJava, Kotlin (UI), C (core), C++, Rust and others
OS familyUnix-like (modified Linux kernel)
Working stateCurrent
Source modelOpen source, freeware (most devices include proprietary components, such as Google Play Services or One UI)
Initial releaseSeptember 23, 2008; 15 years ago (2008-09-23)
Latest releaseAndroid 14 / October 4, 2023; 6 months ago (2023-10-04)
Latest previewAndroid 15: Developer Preview 1 / February 16, 2024; 2 months ago (2024-02-16)
Marketing targetSmartphones, tablet computers, smart TVs (Android TV), Android Auto and smartwatches (Wear OS)
Available in100+ languages
Update methodOver-the-air
Package managerAPK-based
PlatformsARM64 (previous versions were also compatible with ARMv7, x86, x86-64 and RISC-V; these architectures are still unofficially supported via third-party solutions)
Kernel typeMonolithic (Linux kernel)
UserlandBionic libc, mksh shell, Toybox as core utilities
user interface
Graphical (multi-touch)
Official Edit this at Wikidata
Support status
Articles in the series
Android version history

At its core, the operating system is known as the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and is free and open-source software (FOSS) primarily licensed under the Apache License. However, most devices run on the proprietary Android version developed by Google, which ships with additional proprietary closed-source software pre-installed, most notably Google Mobile Services (GMS) which includes core apps such as Google Chrome, the digital distribution platform Google Play, and the associated Google Play Services development platform. Firebase Cloud Messaging is used for push notifications. While AOSP is free, the "Android" name and logo are trademarks of Google, which imposes standards to restrict the use of Android branding by "uncertified" devices outside their ecosystem.

Over 70 percent of smartphones based on the Android Open Source Project run Google's ecosystem (which is known simply as Android), some with vendor-customized user interfaces and software suites, such as TouchWiz and later One UI by Samsung and HTC Sense. Competing ecosystems and forks of AOSP include Fire OS (developed by Amazon), ColorOS by Oppo, OriginOS by Vivo, MagicUI by Honor, or custom ROMs such as LineageOS.

The source code has been used to develop variants of Android on a range of other electronics, such as game consoles, digital cameras, portable media players, and PCs, each with a specialized user interface. Some well-known derivatives include Android TV for televisions and Wear OS for wearables, both developed by Google. Software packages on Android, which use the APK format, are generally distributed through proprietary application stores like Google Play Store, Amazon Appstore, Samsung Galaxy Store, Huawei AppGallery, Cafe Bazaar, GetJar, and Aptoide, or open source platforms like F-Droid.

Android has been the best-selling OS worldwide on smartphones since 2011 and on tablets since 2013. As of May 2021, it had over three billion monthly active users, the largest installed base of any operating system in the world, and as of January 2021, the Google Play Store featured over 3 million apps. Android 14, released on October 4, 2023, is the latest version, and the recently released Android 12.1/12L includes improvements specific to foldable phones, tablets, desktop-sized screens and Chromebooks.

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