Android: A Brief Introduction

A handset operating system and a rich and functional SDK for handset software development, Android is considered Google's entry into the mobile world, but it's actually being developed by the Open Handset Alliance. Working together, hardware companies, software companies, and mobile operators are developing a free and open mobile platform. Google's involvement in the project is extensive, with Google hosting the open source project and providing documentation, tools, forums, and the SDK.

Android is an emerging mobile technology still in the development phases. Early releases of the SDK have been made available to the mobile developer community to start writing applications before handsets are available on the market. Fully featured Android handsets are expected to start shipping towards the end of 2008 or early 2009.

For the developer, Android is a new mobile platform based on Java running on top of a Linux kernel. For now, Java is the only development language available, but eventually Android may support other programming languages. Android has a complete set of application programming interfaces available for everything from user-interface components to accessing location information.

Unlike other mobile development platforms, all Android applications have access to the same APIs. There is no distinction between native applications and developer-created applications. This allows for more innovative applications than are currently available.

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Linux, Google, Android, Open Handset Alliance