Google Android is an open source operating system based on GNU/Linux, developed for use on mobile cell phones and tablets and is a joint effort of the Open Handset Alliance and Google. Anybody can create applications using the Android Software Development kit and Google has held contests for best applications. Many applications can be freely downloaded through the online Android Market and other online repositories.
HTC, a smartphone manufacturer based in Taiwan, was the first to market a Google Android phone in the United States, called the HTC Dream. October 2008 was the launch date on the T-Mobile network, the only carrier offering the service. Branded by Google and marketed as the G1, it is a 3G phone and will also work seamlessly on a Wi-fi wireless networks. The phone and operating system have gained a reputation as an Apple iPhone competitor. Many more Android phones were developed in later.
The Android operating system is also preinstalled in some netbooks and tablets. In fact, Android 3.0 is specifically designed for tablets.
The Google Market app is the most popular way to install new applications on Android. Some of these uploaded applications have been spyware. In response to apps like this, Google has enabled the "killswitch", which allows Google Market to uninstall, or even install programs on the user's device, to fix the offending apps. While many have applauded this as a good anti-malware procedure, many have also expressed concern over Google's ability to install and remove software on all phones through the Google Market system.
Another recent vulnerability was found in the online Market system, which allowed installing software simply by clicking a malicious link. According to Chief Technology Officer Kevin Mahaffey, "When the malware gets on your phone it basically issues a blank check for additional apps to be downloaded"
Android is named after desserts. There are nine stable versions of Android.
- Android 1.0 (unnamed)
- Android 1.5 (cupcake)
- Android 1.6 (donut)
- Android 2.0 (éclair)
- Android 2.2.x (Froyo)
- Android 2.3.x (Gingerbread)
- Android 3.x (Honeycomb)
- Android 4.x (Ice Cream Sandwich)
- Android 4.1.x (Jelly Bean)
- Android 4.4.x (KitKat)
- Google Android Homepage
- Google Android Market
- Open Handset Alliance
- HTC Dream T-Mobile G1 Google Phone
- HTC Homepage