Monday, April 15, 2013

Android - The Droid cometh... [Updated 02/25/2015]

Android Logo

The operating system that is taking over and in the hands of almost everyone around the globe. The system that everyone has or wants to have, the Droid, The Android software. The Droid cometh...

The pre-commercial release versions in 2007 to 2008 were Android alpha and Android beta. Android 1.0 (API level 1) followed on 23 September 2008. The first Android device, the HTC Dream, Then came Android 1.1 (API level 2) on 9 February 2009 update was released, initially for the HTC Dream only. Android 1.5 Cupcake (API level 3) was released on 30 April 2009. This was the first release to officially use a codename based on a dessert item ("Cupcake"), a theme which would be used for all releases henceforth. 

Android 1.6 Donut (API level 4) came on 15 September 2009. Android 2.0 Eclair (API level 5) was released on 26 October 2009.  Other Eclairs were Android 2.0.1 Eclair (API level 6) and Android 2.1 Eclair (API level 7). Then there was Android 2.2–2.2.3 Froyo (API level 8) on 20 May 2010. Then the Gingerbread came with Android 2.3–2.3.2 Gingerbread (API level 9) on 6 December 2010. The next Gingerbread was Android 2.3.3–2.3.7 Gingerbread (API level 10).

Android 3.0 Honeycomb (API level 11) came on 22 February 2011 and was the first tablet-only Android update. The next Honeycombs were Android 3.1 Honeycomb (API level 12) and Android 3.2 Honeycomb (API level 13) - Most first- and second-generation Google TV-enabled devices utilize Honeycomb 3.2.  

Android 4.0–4.0.2 Ice Cream Sandwich (API level 14) was publicly released on 19 October 2011. Other Sandwiches were Android 4.0.3–4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich (API level 15)

Android 4.0 home screen

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (API level 16), the first device to run Jelly Bean, was released on 13 July 2012. 
Android 4.1 home screen

The next Bean was Android 4.2 Jelly Bean (API level 17) dubbed "a sweeter tasting Jelly Bean"was released on October 29, 2012, The first devices to run Android 4.2 were LG's Nexus 4 and Samsung's Nexus 10, which were released on 13 November 2012...
Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (API level 18)was subsequently released on July 24, 2013 via firmware updates to the Galaxy Nexus, 2012 Nexus 7, Nexus 4, and Nexus 10.[15] A minor update, 4.3.1, was released in October 2013 for the new Nexus 7 to address device-specific issues.

Android 4.4 KitKat (API level 19) Google announced Android 4.4 KitKat on September 3, 2013. Although initially under the "Key Lime Pie" ("KLP") codename, the name was changed because "very few people actually know the taste of a key lime pie." Some technology bloggers also expected the "Key Lime Pie" release to be Android 5. KitKat debuted on Google's Nexus 5 on October 31, 2013, and was optimised to run on a greater range of devices than earlier Android versions, having 512 MB of RAM as a recommended minimum; those improvements were known as "Project Svelte" internally at Google. The required minimum amount of RAM available to Android is 340 MB, and all devices with less than 512 MB of RAM must report themselves as "low RAM" devices.

Android 4.4 KitKat with wearable extensions (API level 20)

  • Version: 4.4W Released: June 25, 2014 - Initial release of Android Wear platform for smartwatches: the same as Android 4.4 "KitKat", but with wearable extensions added
  • Version: 4.4W.1 Released: September 6, 2014 - UI updates for Google Maps navigation and alarms
  • Version: 4.4W.2 Released: October 21, 2014 - Offline music playback
  • GPS support

Android 5.0–5.0.2 Lollipop (API level 21) was unveiled under the codename "Android L" on June 25, 2014, during Google I/O. It became available as official over-the-air (OTA) updates on November 12, 2014, for select devices that run distributions of Android serviced by Google, including Nexus and Google Play edition devices. Its source code was made available on November 3, 2014.
Lollipop features a redesigned user interface built around a responsive design language referred to as "material design". Other changes include improvements to the notifications, which can be accessed from the lockscreen and displayed within applications as top-of-the-screen banners. Furthermore, Google made internal changes to the platform, with the Android Runtime (ART) officially replacing Dalvik for improved application performance, and with changes intended to improve and optimize battery usage, known internally as Project Volta.
Android 5.0 Lollipop home screen with proprietary applications

Android is a Linux-based operating system designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Initially developed by Android, Inc., which Google backed financially and later bought in 2005, Android was unveiled in 2007 along with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance: a consortium of hardwaresoftware, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. The first Android-powered phone was sold in October 2008...

These factors have allowed Android to become the world's most widely used smartphone platform, overtaking Symbian in the fourth quarter of 2010, and the software of choice for technology companies who require a low-cost, customizable, lightweight operating system for high tech devices without developing one from scratch. As a result, despite being primarily designed for phones and tablets, it has seen additional applications on televisionsgames consolesdigital cameras and other electronics. Android's open nature has further encouraged a large community of developers and enthusiasts to use the open source code as a foundation for community-driven projects, which add new features for advanced users or bring Android to devices which were officially released running other operating systems.

Android had a worldwide smartphone market share of 75% during the third quarter of 2012, with 500 million devices activated in total and 1.3 million activations per day. The operating system's success has made it a target for patent litigation as part of the so-called "smartphone wars" between technology companies...

Android, Inc. was founded in Palo Alto, California 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". Despite the past accomplishments of the founders and early employees, Android Inc. operated secretly, revealing only that it was working on software for mobile phones. That same year, Rubin ran out of money. Steve Perlman, a close friend of Rubin, brought him $10,000 in cash in an envelope and refused a stake in the company.
Google acquired Android Inc. on August 17, 2005, making it a wholly owned subsidiary of Google. Key employees of Android Inc., including Rubin, Miner and White, stayed at the company after the acquisition. Not much was known about Android Inc. at the time, but many assumed that Google was planning to enter the mobile phone market with this move. At Google, the team led by Rubin developed a mobile device platform powered by the Linux kernel. Google marketed the platform to handset makers and carriers on the promise of providing a flexible, upgradable system. Google had lined up a series of hardware component and software partners and signaled to carriers that it was open to various degrees of cooperation on their part...

Android's user interface is based on direct manipulation, using touch inputs that loosely correspond to real-world actions, like swiping, tapping, pinching and reverse pinching to manipulate on-screen objects. The response to user input is designed to be immediate and provides a fluid touch interface, often using the vibration capabilities of the device to provide haptic feedback to the user. Internal hardware such as accelerometers, gyroscopes and proximity sensors are used by some applications to respond to additional user actions, for example adjusting the screen from portrait to landscape depending on how the device is oriented, or allowing the user to steer a vehicle in a racing game by rotating the device, simulating control of a steering wheel.
Android devices boot to the homescreen, the primary navigation and information point on the device, which is similar to the desktop found on PCs. Android homescreens are typically made up of app icons and widgets; app icons launch the associated app, whereas widgets display live, auto-updating content such as the weather forecast, the user's email inbox, or a news ticker directly on the homescreen. A homescreen may be made up of several pages that the user can swipe back and forth between, though Android's homescreen interface is heavily customisable, allowing the user to adjust the look and feel of the device to their tastes. Third party apps available on Google Play and other app stores can extensively re-theme the homescreen, and even mimic the look of other operating systems, such as Windows Phone. Most manufacturers, and some wireless carriers, customise the look and feel of their Android devices to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Present along the top of the screen is a status bar, showing information about the device and its connectivity. This status bar can be "pulled" down to reveal a notification screen where apps display important information or updates, such as a newly received email or SMS text, in a way that does not immediately interrupt or inconvenience the user. In early versions of Android these notifications could be tapped to open the relevant app, but recent updates have provided enhanced functionality, such as the ability to call a number back directly from the missed call notification without having to open the dialer app first. Notifications are persistent until read or dismissed by the user.

Like the Terminator and Skynet, the Droid is taking over! Join the revolution, embrace the Droid...

The DROID cometh

Your VB Kid & The Chief Technomancer

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