Android (operating system)

Android is a mobile operating system 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 and commercially sponsored by Google. It was unveiled in November 2007, with the first commercial Android device, the HTC Dream, being launched in September 2008.

Android
Screenshot
Android 12 home screen with Pixel Launcher
DeveloperVarious (mostly Google and the Open Handset Alliance)
Written inJava (UI), C (core), C++ and others[1]
OS familyUnix-like (modified Linux kernel)
Working stateCurrent
Source modelOpen source (most devices include proprietary components, such as Google Play)
Initial releaseSeptember 23, 2008; 13 years ago (2008-09-23)[2]
Latest releaseAndroid 12 / October 4, 2021; 8 months ago (2021-10-04)[3]
Latest previewAndroid 13: Beta 2 / May 11, 2022; 44 days ago (2022-05-11)[4]
Repository
Marketing targetSmartphones, tablet computers, smart TVs (Android TV), Android Auto and smartwatches (Wear OS)
Available in100+ languages[5]
Update methodOver-the-air
Package managerAPK-based
Platforms64-bit ARM, x86-64, unofficial RISC-V support; 32-bit (for e.g. ARM) was supported[6][7]
Kernel typeMonolithic (Linux kernel)
UserlandBionic libc,[8] mksh shell,[9] Toybox as core utilities[10][11]
Default
user interface
Graphical (multi-touch)
License
Official websitewww.android.com
Support status
Supported
Articles in the series
Android version history

Most versions of Android are proprietary. The core components are taken from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which is free and open-source software (FOSS) primarily licensed under the Apache License. When Android is installed on devices, ability to modify the otherwise FOSS software is usually restricted, either by not providing the corresponding source code or preventing reinstallation through technical measures, rendering the installed version proprietary. Most Android devices ship with additional proprietary software pre-installed,[13] most notably Google Mobile Services (GMS)[14] which includes core apps such as Google Chrome, the digital distribution platform Google Play, and associated Google Play Services development platform.

Over 70 percent of Android smartphones run Google's ecosystem; some with vendor-customized user interface and software suite, such as TouchWiz and later One UI by Samsung, and HTC Sense.[15] Competing Android ecosystems and forks include Fire OS (developed by Amazon), ColorOS by OPPO, OriginOS by vivo and MagicUI by Honor or custom ROM such as LineageOS. However, 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.[16][17]

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, 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 (including for Windows 11), Samsung Galaxy Store, Huawei AppGallery, Cafe Bazaar, and GetJar, or open source platforms like Aptoide or F-Droid.

Android has been the best-selling OS worldwide on smartphones since 2011 and on tablets since 2013. As of May 2021, it has over three billion monthly active users, the largest installed base of any operating system,[18] and as of January 2021, the Google Play Store features over 3 million apps.[19] Android 12, released on October 4, 2021, is the latest version.[3]


Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Android (operating system), and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.