Android (operating system)

A flat robot head, a bright sea green semicircle with antennas and small holes for eyes.
Android 12 screenshot.png
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 (2008-09-23)[2]
Latest releaseAndroid 12 / October 4, 2021 (2021-10-04)[3]
Latest previewAndroid 13: Beta 2 / May 11, 2022 (2022-05-11)[4]
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]
user interface
Graphical (multi-touch)
Official Edit this at Wikidata
Support status
Articles in the series
Android version history

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.

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]

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Programming Languages was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference First Release was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ a b "Android 12 has been released to the Android Open Source Project".
  4. ^ "Android 13 Beta 2". Android Developers. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  5. ^ Cite error: The named reference Languages was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ García, Érika (September 2021). "Google bans 32-bit apps from Android for good". Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  7. ^ "32-bits is dead: Here's what it means for Android, Apple, and more". Android Authority. June 12, 2021. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  8. ^ Cite error: The named reference Bionic Userland was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  9. ^ Cite error: The named reference Korn Userland was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  10. ^ Cite error: The named reference Toybox Userland was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  11. ^ Cite error: The named reference Toybox Userland 2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  12. ^ Cite error: The named reference License was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  13. ^ "Is Android Really Open Source? And Does It Even Matter?". MakeUseOf. March 28, 2016.
  14. ^ "Android – Google Mobile Services". Android. Retrieved October 21, 2018. While the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) provides common, device-level functionalities such as email and calling, GMS is not part of AOSP. GMS is only available through a license with Google [..] We ask GMS partners to pass a simple compatibility test and adhere to our compatibility requirements for their Android devices.
  15. ^ Hughes, Terry (July 28, 2014). "Google and Android Are Not the Same... and That's a Good Thing". App Developer Magazine. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  16. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Android Open Source Project. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  17. ^ Simon, Michael (December 26, 2016). "With Cyanogen dead, Google's control over Android is tighter than ever". Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  18. ^ Cranz, Alex (May 18, 2021). "There are over 3 billion active Android devices". The Verge. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
  19. ^ Cite error: The named reference 3 million apps was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

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