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Android is a Linux-based operating system designed for touchscreen devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, and is developed and maintained by Google in conjunction with the Open Handset Alliance. The OS is an open-source software and is available to anyone wishing to modify or deploy it. Since its market debut in 2007, Android has overtaken iOS as the smartphone OS choice due to the variance of availability from budget to high-end devices.
Android, Inc. was founded in Palo Alto, California, United States in October 2003 by Andy Rubin (co-founder of Danger), Rich Miner (co-founder of Wildfire Communications, Inc.), Nick Sears (once VP at T-Mobile), and Chris White (headed design and interface development at WebTV) to develop, in Rubin's words "…smarter mobile devices that are more aware of its owner's location and preferences." The first commercially available phone to run Android was the HTC Dream, released on October 22, 2008, and by the end of 2010 Android had become the world's leading smartphone platform. It had a worldwide smartphone market share of 59% at the beginning of 2012, and as of third quarter 2012, there were 500 million devices activated and 1.3 million activations per day.
Google acquired Android Inc. on August 17, 2005, making Android Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of Google. Key employees of Android Inc., including Andy Rubin, Rich Miner and Chris White, stayed at the company after the acquisition. Not much was known about Android Inc. at the time of the acquisition, but many assumed that Google was planning to enter the mobile phone market with this move.
The Android mascot is a little green robot.
The Android OS has many different flavors. Flavor is a good word because Google names all of their Android OSes after sweet treats.
- 1.5 Cupcake April 30, 2009
- 1.6 Donut September 15, 2009
- 2.0, 2.1 Eclair October 26, 2009
- 2.2 Froyo May 20, 2010
- 2.3.x Gingerbread December 6, 2010
- 3.×.x Honeycomb February 22, 2011
- 4.0.x Ice Cream Sandwich October 19, 2011
- 4.1.x Jelly Bean July 9, 2012
As of November 16, 2011, during the Google Music announcement "These Go to Eleven", 200 million Android devices had been activated. Based on this number, with 1.9% of Android devices being tablets, approximately 3.8 million Android Honeycomb Tablets have been sold. On February 27, 2012, Andy Rubin announced that Google was activating over 850,000 Android smartphones and tablets daily.
Due to the ranging price of the phones, and widespread consumer adoption all over the world, including third world countries, Android OS-powered phones are inevitably the fastest selling phones. Some of the smartphone manufacturers have their own tweaks, versions, or UIs, but regardless, all of these phones run core Android OS. Many people would agree that the only competition to Android is iOS, which runs on iPhone devices. However, there are only 6 actual iPhone models, half of which are discontinued. This versus thousands of Android powered phones makes the question of "Who has more share?" easy to answer.
Google Play is an online software store developed by Google for Android devices. An application program ("app") called "Play Store" is preinstalled on most Android devices and allows users to browse and download apps published by third-party developers, hosted on Google Play. As of June 2012, there were more than 600,000 apps available for Android, and the estimated number of applications downloaded from the Play Store exceeded 20 billion. The operating system itself is installed on 400 million total devices.