Android is an operating system (OS) which is widely used for touch-based mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. It is a Linux based operating system. It was founded in Palo Alto, California in the year 2003. Since its development, Android has seen tremendous updates.
This OS supports a lot of applications on smartphones. The hardware that actually supports the Android software is based on the ARM architecture platform. Based on the Android platform, a lot of applications are available which help the mobile device users to be more productive and communicative. Using these applications has made life easier for a lot of individuals who are using android based mobile devices.
In this article, you will get to read the following topics which will help you to enhance your knowledge on Android Operating System:
Android is a mobile-based operating system that is developed by Google.
If you are not sure what sort of operating system that your current phone is running on then you can easily take a look at the information within ‘Settings’ menu and click on ‘About’.
The advantages of using Android Operating system are listed below:
[Related Page: Background Services In Android ]
In this section of the article, we will discuss in detail regarding the evolution of Android operating system versions.
From the initial versions of Android 1.0 to Android P (Pie), there has been a lot of improvements acknowledged to the Android Operating system which made it easy for a lot of developers to build quality mobile applications that can run/execute on Android operating system.
The first version of Android OS was launched on November 7th, 2007 and has been really strong in terms of releasing updates on a regular basis. In reality, the Android operating system is not only supporting the mobile devices/ tablets but it is also supporting smart TV and smartwatches.
In the year 2003, Android Inc. was formed by a group of individuals, i.e. Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears, and Chris White. The main intention was to build a robust operating system for the Camera usage, thus turning out the normal handheld devices to smart devices which are well aware of location and preferences.
Later on, the idea didn’t get much traction in the market so the focus has been shifted to smartphones. This sector was already dominated by other platforms like Windows and Symbian OS, so there was a tough competition.
[Related Page: Android Application & Activities ]
As the start was not concrete and funding became an issue, the company Android Inc. was sold to Google in the year 2005. Later on, the team was working on mobile device OS which is based on Linux Kernel. The logo, i.e. Android logo was designed by Irina Blok and a beta version was out for release on 5th November 2007.
Let’s understand the evolution of Android versions, the below table gives the version number and name associated with the operating system.
|Android Version||Name of the Operating System|
|Android 1.0||Android 1.0|
|Android 4.0||Ice Cream Sandwich|
|Android Auto||Android Auto|
[Related Page: Absolute Layout In Android]
This version of the operating system was named “Ice Cream Sandwich”.
[Related Page: Android Application Manifest]
[Related Page: Installation of Android]
Android 7 :
[Related Page: Intents in Android]
The differences between Android OS and Windows OS are listed out in a tabular format below:
|Android OS||Windows OS|
|The operating system is an open source.||The Windows operating system is not an open source.|
|Developers can easily customize because the OS is an open source.||Developers cannot customize the OS because it is not open source.|
|Possibility of security threats.||Possibility of security threats are less compared to Android platform.|
|Developers can develop android applications.||Developers can develop supporting windows applications.|
|Can observe frequent lags. An android device with 2GB RAM will face lag issues. It is advisable to use RAM clearing applications.||No lags are observed. The phones with 512MB RAM can also support the OS and no lags are observed when it comes to the frequency.|
|Huge number of applications are available within the OS platform.||Compared to the Android platform, Windows platform apps are limited.|
|UI is pretty much similar to iOS platform.||UI is completely different and don’t have any resemblance to iOS platform.|
|File manager option is available within Android platform where user will be able to see all the files.||File manager option is available within Windows phones, and the user will be able to see the files.|
|It supports touch screen phones.||It supports touch screen phones.|
[Related Page: Toast Notifications in Android ]
The differences between Android OS and iOS are listed out in a tabular format below:
|It is an open source platform.||It is not an open source platform, but it has few open source components.|
|There is a possibility of customization in this platform.||There is no possibility of customization in this platform.|
|They are lot of widgets available to customize the home screen.||No widgets are available to customize the home screen. But, the notification center can be customized with few widgets.|
|File transfer is pretty easy and can be done via USB cable.||File transfer is pretty complex, the user has to copy the files only through connecting by iTunes.|
|Wireless transfer of files is possible with third party applications.||Wireless transfer is possible to build OS features, like AirDrop.|
|The OS is available on different phone manufactures like Sony, Google, Motorola, Samsung, etc.||The OS is available on Apple devices only.|
|Security aspect is not perfect in Android platform. At least, it is not the first priority.||Security is given highest priority when it comes to accessing the applications from the App store.|
|Android phones have an option to manage all the files via File Manager option.||No option for file manager within iOS.|
|It supports touch screen phones||It supports touch screen phones.|
[Related Page: Android Manifest File ]
In this section of the article, we will discuss the reasons why Android has been widely used in Software Framework.
Android is considered to be one of the greatest mobile application platforms where a lot of mobile applications were developed so far. Within this development platform, the developers will be able to code mobile apps which support various devices, irrespective of their size. As it is an open source platform, they are a lot of popular development frameworks that are available. Few of the popular frameworks are listed below:
They are a lot of mobile development frameworks that are available but the above-listed frameworks are used predominantly.
[Related Page: RelativeLayout & TableLayout in Android ]
In this section of the article, we will discuss the step by step process flow of Android Environment setup.
The Android environment setup can be done on the following operating systems:
The tools that are required to develop Android apps are open source so they can be directly downloaded from the web without any restrictions. The following list of softwares are needed to complete the entire Android environment setup.
To begin with the installation process, the user has to click on Android Studio. exe file.
Click on the Android Studio icon will start the installation process and the user will be able to see the Android Studio Launchpad.
Click on the “Next” button to continue the process.
At this point of time, the user has to provide a JDK7 path in the Android studio installer process.
Click on “Browse” button to check the path.
Click on “OK” button to continue the process.
Now, in this screen, the user has to click on the following core components (i.e. Android SDK, Android Virtual Device, Performance (Intel chip)).
Click on “NEXT” button to continue the process.
In this step, the user has to check on the location path for Android studio and the Android SDK.
Click on “NEXT” button to continue to the next step.
Within this step, the user has to specify the RAM space for Android emulator and by default, the value would be 512MB (if it is a local machine RAM).
Click on “NEXT” button will continue to the process.
At this point, all of the Android SDK files are extracted on to the local machine and it will take about few minutes to complete the installation process.
After the installation process is completed, the user has to click on the “NEXT” button to complete the entire setup process. The user will be able to see “Welcome to Android Studio” screen.
By clicking on “Start new Android Studio Project”, the user will be able to start a new Android project.
To proceed further, they have to provide Application Name, Company Domain, and Project location details.
Click on the “NEXT” button to continue the process. At this point, the user has to key in details like the form factors for the application to run, like minimum SDK. For this demonstration, we have selected as API23: Android 6.0
Click on “NEXT” button to continue the installation process. At this point, the user has to select the default layout for the applications.
Click on “NEXT” button to complete the process.
This completes the installation process and the user will be able to see the development tool interface where they can write the code.
So, before actually writing the code to test the android applications, we need to have an android virtual device. This will help the developers to test their applications on the PC itself.
[Related Page: Android Services ]
Create an Android Virtual Device Process:
To create an Android virtual device, the user has to click on “Launch Android AVD Manager” button. The highlighted section in the below picture shows where the icon is available.
After clicking on the virtual device icon, all the virtual devices that are available within the SDK will be displayed. If the user wants to create another virtual device, then this can be achieved by using the “Create new Android Virtual Device” button.
This completes the entire installation process and also the environment is ready for Android application development. It is advised to restart your computer once the installation process gets completed.
In this section of the article, we will be discussing the different components that are available within the Android architecture.
The entire Android operating system is nothing but a set of software components which are classified into five sections, and they are:
[Related Page: Activity Lifecycle in Android]
Let’s discuss these five sections in detail to understand the Android Architecture:
|Library name||Functions associated with the Library|
|android.app||Using this library, the developer will be able to get access to the application model. This is an important aspect in android applications.|
|android.content||All the content related access and publishing the messages between applications and its components is taken care by this library.|
|android.database||Used as a repository of data and also provides access to the data pushed by content providers.|
|android.opengl||This is a java interface where the developer will be able to access OpenGL 3D graphics API.|
|android.os||Provides access to the operating system which includes messages, system related services.|
|android.text||Text manipulation can be done with the device display.|
|android.view||Provides the fundamentals of application user interfaces.|
|android.widget||External add-ons like buttons, labels, list views, etc.|
|android.webkit||Web browsing capabilities are to be built within the applications.|
Android Runtime: This is another component within the Android architecture. This is a really critical layer where all the core functionalities are taken into consideration. For example, multi-threading concept, memory management, etc.
With the use of Android runtime, the core libraries can be used where the android app developers can code by considering Java programming language.
The below-mentioned one is a list of application services that are used while developing an android application.
|Application Services||Associated Functionality|
|Activity Manager||Helps to control all the application lifecycle aspects and also has an activity stack.|
|Content Providers||Allows to share data and publish the data.|
|Resource Manager||Provides access to all non-code embedded resources. For example, color settings, user interface layouts, strings, etc.|
|Notifications Manager||Used for displaying alerts and also notifications to the mobile app user.|
|View System||Used to create application user interfaces.|
[Related Page: Android Menus Tutorial ]
This is another layer within android application development. Within this layer, the developer will be able to code applications like Contact Books, Games, Browsers, etc.
Components of an Android application:
In this section of the article, we will discuss the various components that are available within an Android Application.
For an Android application to work appropriately, they are a few components that they need to work intact with each other. All of these components are available within the application manifest file.
Further, the manifest file contains application Metadata, platform requirements, and available external libraries.
[Related Page: Adding buttons & adding a list in Android ]
With the help of Android development tools and integrated development environments (IDEs), a lot of Android applications have been developed so far. With the help of these development tools, developers are able to code new applications with ease and the turnaround time for development has also drastically decreased.
In this section of the article, we will discuss a few android development tools that are predominantly used within various organizations:
It is a SAAS based solution, so be prepared for a monthly billing just in case if you have decided to use this service.
[Related Page: Creating an AlertDialog in Android]
A service is nothing but a component which runs in the background and it is designated to perform long operations without actually interacting with the user. Further, the service also has a capability to execute in the background even though the application is cleared from the “App Tray”.
A service actually has a life cycle of callback methods where the changes can be implemented. There are two types of services:
UN bounded service:
In this type of service, the frequency of events goes in linear and the functions go hand in hand. The same is depicted in the picture below:
[Related Page: How to Implement the Lifecycle Callbacks in Android ]
In this scenario, the service is created by bindService().
The service is executed in the background and interacts with the client on need basis.
With the on Bind () service, the system can interact with another component and if it wants to bind with service, it can be done by using bindService ().
If the service needs to be destroyed, then on Destroy () command should be used and the service is shut down.
Android User interface:
In this section of the article, we will discuss UI controls, UI Layouts, Event Handling, custom components, and themes.
We have a list of UI controls that are used within mobile application development, and they are:
|Text View||This control is used to display the text to the user.|
|Edit Text||The Edit Text is nothing a subclass of Text View. In this case, the user will be able to modify the content.|
|Auto Complete Text View||Based on the user keystroke, a list of suggestion texts are displayed for the user. This will help the users to type faster. This is a really helpful tool while actually writing emails.|
|Button||This is used for any Call-to-action areas. So, for any action to be performed at a section, the button symbol is used.|
|Checkbox||This is an on/off switch where the user will be able to toggle it based on the need.|
|Radio Button||Radio button has only two states to check, i.e., checked or unchecked.|
|Radio Group||This is nothing but a group of radio buttons used together|
|Spinner||A drop-down list of all available options is displayed.|
|Time Picker||Enables the user to pick a set time from the available options|
|Date Picker||Enables the user to pick a set date from the available options.|
[Related Page: Showing & Dismissing a dialog in Android ]
An event is nothing but an activity where a set of data is collected when there is a user interaction with the application components. For example, a button press, a screen touch, etc. According to the Android framework, the events are maintained based on FIFO structure, i.e., First in First out.
There are three concepts pertaining to Android Event Management:
[Related Page: Dialog Boxes of User Interface Components in Android ]
With the use of Android operating systems, there are a lot of applications that are developed and are used in day to day life. Using these applications have definitely reduced the amount of work that we were used to doing manually.
In recent years, a lot has been developed and mobile applications for each and everything has been built so far. For example:
The current mobile application market is booming and we get to see new mobile applications available in the Google App store on a daily basis. Also, getting certified in specific areas is good for career growth. One such certification that is available within the current market is Associate Android Developer. With this certification, the developers will be able to showcase their talent by developing high standard android mobile applications.
The following are the benefits of having Android certifications:
[Related Page: FrameLayout & LinearLayout in Android ]
There are a number of roles that are available within the mobile app development. The need for mobile app developers is booming right now, and if you are a mobile app developer with considerable experience, you can easily get a decent job with an average salary ranging between $70,000 USD and $110,145 USD. The salary definitely depends upon upon the individual’s experience, job location, and the organization.
With the ever-growing user base of smartphone users, the Android is definitely going to have a good future. So far, it has been more than a decade since its inception and we have seen a lot of versions that have come across to match the industry standards and the same will continue in the future as well. Most of the companies are now coming up with foldable phones, and so the applications should be scaled in such a way that they can support them.
In the current market, the Android operating system is including Machine Learning component, thus enabling AI into their operating system platform. This is an area where the entire industry is turned towards and by having this, Android is going to give tough competition to its competitors.
The Android operating system has definitely made its mark in the current market, and in the last 10 years, there have been quite a few milestones that it has achieved. The need for smartphones is increasing day by day and the same goes with mobile applications. So, with the help of technology advancements, this platform will definitely get into the next level and support a lot of upcoming mobile devices.
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