What is Android? Simply explained

by Flo

If you read the term “Android” on the Internet or on a product, it is hard to guess what it actually is from the name alone. We explain what is hidden behind the term Android.

Android: What is it?

Android is a mobile operating system that comes from the search engine giant Google. Android is mainly used on smartphones and tablets. Officially, Android has been available since 21 October 2008.

  • The operating system is the software that allows the user to operate the smartphone or tablet. Just as Windows is used on computers, Android is the most common operating system for smartphones.
  • In 2014, Android expanded its market share to around 85 per cent. Thus, about 85 per cent of all smartphones used worldwide had the Android operating system installed.
  • The biggest competitor to Android is iOS. iOS is Apple’s operating system used on their smartphones, the iPhones. In 2022, Android’s market share was around 70 per cent, while Apple’s was around 25 per cent.

Who’s behind Android

Android is constantly being developed further by the “Open Handset Alliance”. The company was founded by Google and represents an association of currently 87 companies. The aim is to create as uniform a system as possible for all smartphones.

  • In addition to Google, other smartphone manufacturers such as HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung are members of the “Open Handset Alliance”. These use the Android operating system on their smartphones and tablets. Depending on the manufacturer, special apps are preinstalled or the system is adapted.
  • The biggest driver behind Android is and remains Google. When a new version of Android is available, it is first released on Google’s own smartphones, the Google Pixel. All other manufacturers usually follow suit a few weeks to months later.
  • The delay comes from the fact that most manufacturers do not use the pure Android system. Each manufacturer customises Android to fit their devices. These customisations range from slight visual changes to custom system apps.

Android: What the future holds

Every year, Android gets a major update. Google usually releases the new version between August and October.

  • In addition to visual changes and optimisations, new functions are also added every year. If new components such as fingerprint sensors or new connections such as USB-C come onto the market, Android must first receive a corresponding update before the smartphone manufacturers install the technologies.
  • Each version of Android has a number and the name of a candy. For example, Android 8 is nicknamed “Oreo”.

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