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Android (operating system)

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Android new logo 2019.svg
Company / developerGoogle,
Open Handset Alliance
Programmed inJava (UI), C (core), C++ and more[1]
OS familyUnix-like
Working stateCurrent
Source modelOpen source (most devices include proprietary components, such as Google Play)
Initial releaseSeptember 23, 2008; 13 years ago (2008-09-23)[2]
Latest stable releaseAndroid 12 "Sabrina" / October 4, 2021; 6 months ago (2021-10-04)
Latest unstable releaseN/A
Marketing targetSmartphones, tablet computers, smart TVs (Android TV), Android Auto and smartwatches (Wear OS)
Package managerAPK (primarily through Google Play; installation of APKs also possible locally or from alternative sources such as F-Droid)
Supported platforms32- and 64-bit ARM, x86 and x86-64
Kernel typeMonolithic (modified Linux kernel)
Default user interfaceGraphical (multi-touch)
LicenseApache License 2.0
GNU GPL v2 for the Linux kernel modifications[3]

Android is an operating system for mobile devices. It is mostly used for smartphones, like Google's own Google Pixel, as well as by other phone manufacturers like HTC and Samsung. It has also been used for tablets such as the Motorola Xoom and Amazon Kindle. A modified Linux kernel is used as Android's kernel.[4]

Google says that over 1.3 million Android smartphones are sold every day.[5] Most mobile phones run Android, making it the most popular mobile operating system. It is also the most popular operating system in general.

It supports multitasking and two-dimensional and three-dimensional graphics.

Security updates are not provided on versions older than Android 8.0. Newer versions receive security updates if the phone manufacturer supports them. Phones which have Android 10 and above receive security updates (like app updates) directly from Google Play.

The current stable version is Android 12, released on October 4, 2021. As of June 2021, Android 10 is the most used version.

Android programs

Programs for Android, also called "apps" (short for applications), usually come from the Google Play Store. The Android programs have a file extension of .APK. On May 7, 2019, Kotlin replaced Java as Google’s preferred language for Android app development. Java is still supported, as is C++. Google states that[6] "Android apps can be written using Kotlin, Java, and C++ languages". Other languages may also be used; such as Python and Go, and those languages and even C++ may have restrictions. Large portions of the operating system itself are also written in Java. Over 2.6 million apps are available for Android in the Google Play Store.[7] Some apps are distributed elsewhere.

Android version numbers and names

Easter eggs in different Android versions

Versions of Android have a number and have had a name based on confectioneries, up to and including Android 9 Pie, but since then it has mostly been a number, with the code name usually only being used internally and by Developers and manufacturers. The version numbers and names are:

  • 1.1: (No codename)
  • 1.1: Petit Four
  • 1.5: Cupcake
  • 1.6: Donut
  • 2.0 and 2.1: Eclair
  • 2.2: Froyo (Frozen Yogurt)
  • 2.3: Gingerbread
  • 3.x: Honeycomb (a tablet-only version)
  • 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3: Jelly Bean
  • 4.4: KitKat
  • 5.0 and 5.1: Lollipop
  • 6.0 and 6.0.1: Marshmallow[8]
  • 7.0 and 7.1: Nougat
  • 8.0: Oreo
  • 9.0: Pie[9]
  • 10: Queen Cake
  • 11: Red Velvet Cake
  • 12: Sabrina
  • 13: Tiramisu[10]

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