Unless you have an iPhone or an iPad, your smartphone or tablet these days is likely to be running on an Android mobile operating system.
So, what is it then?
Developed and owned by Google, Android is a very popular mobile device operating system designed mainly for touchscreen mobile devices. They were also the first developers to champion user interface direct manipulation (a bit of a mouth full). In other words, touch gestures like swiping, tapping and pinching to manipulate objects on the screen.
The operating system software version updates are released under code names in alphabetical order. The in-joke theme is that they are named after confectionary or deserts. Coming up with the next name in the series must by no end of fun for those wild and crazy guys at Google (spot the sarcasm?).
The table below summarises Android’s operating system versions to date. Each release will have included new features, improvements and fixes to software bugs or other issues.
|Version number||Release Date|
|[no code name]||1.0||23/09/08|
|Éclair||2.0 - 2.1||26/10/09|
|Froyo||2.2 - 2.2.3||20/05/10|
|Gingerbread||2.3 - 2.3.7||06/12/10|
|Honeycomb||3.0 - 3.2.6||22/02/11|
|Ice Cream Sandwich||4.0 - 4..0.4||18/10/11|
|Jelly Bean||4.1 – 4.3.1||09/07/12|
|Kit Kat||4.4 – 4.4.4||31/10/13|
|Lollipop||5.0 – 5.1.1||12/11/14|
|Marshmallow||6.0 – 6.0.1||05/10/15|
|Nougat||7.0 – 7.1.2||22/08/16|
Some of Android's Past Tasty Treats
In 2010 Google released their Nexus series of devices mainly aimed at the tablet market. This played a big part in Android’s software releases going forward and the concept of removing unwanted applications and software from the device that unintentionally slows it down (bloat-ware).
The latest version release - 8.0 “Oreo” named after the much-loved chocolate wafer biscuit with a marshmallow filling, recently went on release in August 2017. This update includes a few new features including improved start-up speed and picture-in-picture (PIP) multitasking. This allows your device to run two apps at once such as a video call with a movie in the background for example.
There are plenty more new features too, details of which can be found here.
Android Facts, Figures and Dates
· Google acquired Android in 2005
· Android Inc produced the first Android device in 2008
· In 2010 Android represented 10% of the worldwide smartphone market
· In 2015 Android operating system market share was reported to have risen to 76%
· Android has been the best-selling operating system for tablets since 2013
· Google Play store features over 2.7 Million apps as of Feb2017
· Boasts 2 Billion monthly active users as of May 2017
· Has the largest installed base of any operating system (an installed base is a measure of products and service in-use at a given time. In this case, mobile devices and software) estimated as 1.7 Billion worldwide
Google release their Android software under what’s called open source licencing. This is when the original blueprint and designs for the software’s source code is made freely available and can be modified and shared under defined terms and conditions (at least that’s what Wikipedia says). It’s a basically a way of opening the door to bright minded developers.
A bit like a car manufacturer saying “Hey car mechanics, here’s a copy of one of our new motor engines. If you’re clever enough, come and have go at making it better and more efficient. If it’s any good, we might just use yours when we next develop the real thing.”
Android phones and smartphones quickly built a reputation for being powerful, high spec and good at running multiple and varied applications as opposed to the iPhone series which are locked down solely for use with Apple products and usually higher in price.
Here’s a list of the best-selling Android Smartphones currently on the market as of June 2017:
*For a more details on each phone, this information came from the Recombu website which can be reached here.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S8
MOTO G5 PLUS
SONY XPERIA XZ PREMIUM
SONY XPERIA XZ
HONOUR 8 PRO
SAMSUNG GALAXY S7
SAMSUNG GALAXY S7 EDGE
GOOGLE NEXUS 6P
So, in summary, Android’s mobile operating system now dominates the market at 51% with Apple iOS not far behind at 42.4%. Whichever camp you are in, the build quality, design and performance of Android powered mobiles devices (smartphones and tablets mainly) will only increase. Interesting that the split between Android and Apple is so close. Proof that Apple are still ahead when it comes to quality and build design hence their loyal army of users and popularity stays strong.
I have Apple products in the house and probably always will. However, when it comes to smartphones, I have to say it’s Android for me.
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