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What is Android and Why to use it?

Shailendra Chauhan  Print   5 min read  
01 May 2022
 
Beginner
40K Views

Android is an open-source and Linux-based operating system. It was first introduced on Nov 5, 2007. It was originally developed by Android Inc. and subsequently purchased by Google.

Basically, Android is thought of as a mobile operating system. But it is not limited to mobile-only. It is currently used in various devices such as mobiles, tablets, televisions, etc.

Android provides a rich application framework that allows us to build innovative apps and games for mobile devices in a Java language environment.

The Android open-source software stack consists of Java applications running on a Java-based, object-oriented application framework on top of Java core libraries running on a Dalvik virtual machine featuring JIT compilation.

Android

Features of Android

There are numerous features of android. Some of them are listed below:

Feature
Description
Connectivity
Android supports multiple connectivity technologies including GSM/EDGE, IDEN, CDMA, EV-DO, UMTS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LTE, NFC, and WiMAX
Storage
SQLite, a lightweight relational database, is used for data storage purposes
Media support
Android supports various types of audio/video/still media formats like H.263, H.264, MPEG-4 SP, AMR, AMR-WB, AAC, HE-AAC, AAC 5.1, MP3, MIDI, Ogg Vorbis, WAV, JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP and WebP
Web browser
The web browser available in Android is based on the open-source Blink (previously WebKit) layout engine, coupled with Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine supporting HTML5 and CSS3
Messaging
SMS and MMS are available forms of messaging, it also includes threaded text messaging and Android Cloud To Device Messaging (C2DM) and now supports the enhanced version of C2DM, Android Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) is also a part of Android Push Messaging services
Multi-tasking
Multitasking of applications, with unique handling of memory allocation, is available, using this users can jump from one task to another and at the same time various applications can run simultaneously
Resizable widgets
Widgets are resizable, so users can expand them to show more content or shrink them to save space
Multi-touch
Android has native support for multi-touch which was initially made available in handsets such as the HTC Hero
Wi-Fi
A technology that lets apps discover and pair directly, over a high-bandwidth peer-to-peer connection.
Screen capture
Android supports capturing a screenshot by pressing the power and home-screen buttons at the same time. This feature supports after Android 4.0
Android Beam
A popular NFC-based technology that lets users instantly share, just by touching two NFC-enabled phones together
Multi-Language
Android supports multiple languages, also supports the single direction and bi-directional text

Why Android?

There are so many reasons you should choose the Android platform for mobile application development.

  1. Zero/negligible development cost

    The development tools like Android SDK, JDK, and Eclipse IDE, etc. are free to download for the android mobile application development. Also, Google charges a small fee of $25, to distribute your mobile app on the Android Market.

  2. Open Source

    The Android OS is an open-source platform based on the Linux kernel and multiple open-source libraries. In this way, developers are free to contribute to or extend the platform as necessary for building mobile apps which run on Android devices.

  3. Multi-Platform Support

    In the market, there is a wide range of hardware devices powered by the Android OS, including many different phones and tablets. Even the development of android mobile apps can occur on Windows, Mac OS, or Linux.

  4. Multi-Carrier Support

    World wide a large number of telecom carriers like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, AT&T Mobility, BSNL, etc. are supporting Android-powered phones.

  5. Open Distribution Model

    Android Market place (Google Play store) has very few restrictions on the content or functionality of an android app. So the developer can distribute their app through the Google Play store and as well other distribution channels like Amazon’s app store.

The challenges of Android app development

While the Android platform provides rich functionality for app development, there are still a number of challenges you need to address, such as:
  • Building for the multiscreen world of devices
  • Getting performance top of the priority
  • Keeping our codebase and the user's data the most secure
  • Make sure your app will be compatible with older platform versions and backward compatible at the same time
  • Understanding the consumer market and the intent of the users

Android has been accepted by the tech giants for their products and its up and running in the Android play store, thus above-mentioned challenges are there but keep in mind that the Android applications are running on billions of handheld devices around the world and supports various form factors including the set of wearable devices and television. Every device comes in different sizes and shapes, which affects how we design the multiple screens of the app and UI elements in your apps.

What do you think?

I hope, that now you have a better understanding of Android. I would like to have feedback from my blog readers. Your valuable feedback, question, or comments about this article are always welcome.

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