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Android (operating system)

Android (operating system)
Home screen displayed by Samsung Nexus S with Google, running Android 2.3 "Gingerbread"
OS
NameAndroid
Company / developerGoogle Inc, Open Handset Alliance
Programmed inC (core), Java (UI), C++
Working stateCurrent
Source modelMixed (free and open source software and proprietary software)
Initial release21 October 2008
Latest stable releaseTablets: 3.2 (Honeycomb) Phones: 2.3.6 (Gingerbread)
Latest release date2 September 2011(age 5)
Frequently updatedYes
Package managerAPK
Supported platformsARM, MIPS, x86
Kernel typeLinux kernel (monolithic)
user interfaceGraphical
LicenseApache License 2.0 before 3.0, closed source for 3.0, 3.1 and 3.2: Linux kernel patches under GNU GPL v2

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Android is an operating system for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. It is developed by the Open Handset Alliance led by Google.

Google purchased the initial developer of the software, Android Inc., in 2005. The unveiling of the Android distribution on 5 November 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 84 hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. Google released most of the Android code under the Apache License, a free software license. The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is tasked with the maintenance and further development of Android.

Android consists of a kernel based on the Linux kernel, with middleware, libraries and APIs written in C and application software running on an application framework which includes Java-compatible libraries based on Apache Harmony. Android uses the Dalvik virtual machine with just-in-time compilation to run compiled Java code. Android has a large community of developers writing applications ("apps") that extend the functionality of the devices. Developers write primarily in a customized version of Java. There are currently more than 250,000 apps available for Android. Apps can be downloaded from third-party sites or through online stores such as Android Market, the app store run by Google.

Android was listed as the best-selling smartphone platform worldwide in Q4 2010 by Canalys.


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