Introduction to Android OS
Until Android gained the wide spectrum of mobile consumers it has today, Apple’s iOS and BlackBerry OS were the major operating systems used to run Smartphones. In early 2012, one could safely conclude that Android has not only moved ahead of BlackBerry, but is also more widely used than iOS devices. Thus, app developers have a lot to gain if they learned how to develop applications for Android devices.
Introducing Android Environment to App Developers
Android is based on Linux V2.6 kernel and is a complete OS ecosystem. While initially it was meant to be a low-cost OS for smartphones and flip-phone devices, it has grown into a mobile OS juggernaut that has practically gobbled a huge market share. Android offers rich functional support and a full range of computing services which allow devices that run on Android to do much more than stripped down-versions of mobile operating systems.
Android Can Play Both Ways: Consumer and Enterprise-centric Devices
Android has the capacity to please both consumers who like to play and enterprise users who need a lot of work done efficiently and securely. The first smartphone to run on Android was G1, manufactured by HTC with T-Mobile serving as the carrier. The Android platform is much more complicated than iOS and features layered environment built upon Linux kernel.
Android’s UI subsystem features windows, views and widgets for displaying drop-down lists, edit boxes etc.
Faster Connectivity and Rich Graphics
Android phones offer excellent connectivity options and there already are many Android-running smartphones that support LTE-4G networks. Thanks to the built in 2D and 3D graphics, playing video games and running media-rich applications are easier, when compared to other platforms which rely on text more than graphics.
What One Needs to Know Before Development
Developing Android applications requires knowledge of Java along with other software skills. Android applications run within the Dalvik Virtual Machine. Activities are begun when a user launches an application from the home screen or app launcher, thanks to the visible UI. Android also checks for updates and monitors your network as part of its services. Android can handle multi-tasking and switch between applications with relative ease. In order to develop Android applications one would need to download the Android SDK and the Eclipse IDE.
One can use Linux, Windows or Mac computers to develop applications.
Android Is Versatile
Some of the advantages of the Android platforms are room for customization, rich features, security and ability to debug easily, and a complex and layered environment that allows innovation in development of applications.
Android also runs on non-mobile household devices like ovens, Air-conditioners and even refrigerators for which applications can be developed. These Android apps can be used to control a device and the way it functions with the help of touchscreens. Android is increasingly being used on such household devices and when these devices connect to the Internet over Wi-Fi, they offer increased interaction and customizability.
What Is Unique about Android OS
While Android is Google’s flagship OS and is well received by enterprises and consumers, it lacks the simplicity, minimalist and intuitiveness offered by iOS 5. Nevertheless, being an open source OS, it is easier for developers to design applications for the Android ecosystem than for BlackBerry OS or for iOS. The very fact that an Android application which has just been developed cannot be reviewed by specialists leaves room for errors. Nevertheless, by sticking to well-accepted protocols and by adapting stringent quality controls, Android applications can prove to be more interactive and feature-rich than apps that run on other OS.
Developing for Android Smartphones and Tablets
As more people begun to replace their tablets, laptops and even desktops with smartphones, it becomes increasingly important for developers to have a presence on all the important mobile operating systems. Moreover, the tablet market is growing too, and applications designed for smartphones should be able to run on tablets as well. Android tablets have begun to carve out a niche for themselves, and many enterprise users have begun to use them too.
Thus, app developers must keep both smartphones and tablets in mind. Thus, the future looks bright for Android developers as the market share of Android devices will only increase.
Note: Indus Net Technologies Mobile Development team works on Android. If you want to develop an app from scratch or port an existing iOS or BlackBerry app to Android platform to take advantage of its explosive growth, drop us an email to email@example.com or visit http://www.indusnet.co.in/mobile/
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