Android is a mobile operating system based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open source software, designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Android is developed by a consortium of developers known as the Open Handset Alliance and commercially sponsored by Google. It was unveiled in November 2007, with the first commercial Android device launched in September 2008.
It is free and open source software; its source code is known as Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which is primarily licensed under the Apache License. However most Android devices ship with additional proprietary software pre-installed, most notably Google Mobile Services (GMS) which includes core apps such as Google Chrome, the digital distribution platform Google Play and associated Google Play Services development platform. About 70 percent of Android smartphones run Google's ecosystem; competing Android ecosystems and forks include Fire OS (developed by Amazon) or LineageOS. However the “Android” name and logo are trademarks of Google which impose standards to restrict “uncertified” devices outside their ecosystem to use Android branding.
The source code has been used to develop variants of Android on a range of other electronics, such as game consoles, digital cameras, portable media players, PCs and others, each with a specialized user interface. Some well known derivatives include Android TV for televisions and Wear OS for wearables, both developed by Google. Software packages on Android, which use the APK format, are generally distributed through proprietary application stores like Google Play Store, Samsung Galaxy Store, and Huawei AppGallery, or open source platforms like Aptoide or F-Droid.
|Various (mostly Google and the Open Handset Alliance)
|Java (UI), C (core), C++ and others
|Unix-like (Modified Linux kernel)
|Open source (most devices include proprietary components, such as Google Play)
|September 23, 2008;
|Android 11 / September 8, 2020;
|64-bit (32-bit being dropped) ARM, x86 and x86-64
|Bionic libc, mksh shell, Toybox as core utilities (beginning with Android 6.0)
|Default user interface
|Apache License 2.0 for userspace software GNU GPL v2 for the Linux kernel modifications