Thursday, March 13, 2008

Android (Mobile Phones Platform)

Android is a software development platform for mobile phones based on the Linux operating system. It is developed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance.

Android is a software "stack" for mobile phones that's based on open-source software. Android is called a "stack" because its software extends from the lowest levels controlling the phone's hardware to the highest levels of user interaction. At the bottom is a stripped-down version of the Linux kernel. On top of the kernel is the open-source WebKit Web browser and several other open-source programs.

We can't run Android on a phone that we might have today. Instead, manufacturers like HTC, LG, Samsung, and Motorola (all OHA members) will need to adapt it to future handsets. If the consortium has its way, these phones will be available in stores in the second half of 2008. You'll also be able to buy an Android-based phone over the Internet and drop in a chip from the cell phone that's in your pocket today, assuming you have a cell phone from T-Mobile, AT&T, or another provider that uses the GSM transmission standard.

On 12 November 2007 the OHA released a preview of the Android software development kit which includes development and debugging tools, a set of libraries, a device emulator, documentation, sample projects and tutorials. Developers are required to download the Android SDK to an x86-based computer running Windows XP or Vista, Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later, or Linux.

Java Development Kit, Apache Ant, and Python 2.2 or later are also required. Eclipse 3.2 or later is the only officially supported IDE through Android Development Tools Plugin but the programmer is free to use command line tools to create, build and debug Android applications.

Android has the following Features:

Handset layouts : The platform is adaptable to both larger, VGA, 2D graphics library, 3D graphics library based on OpenGL ES 1.0 specifications, traditional smartphone layouts.

Storage : SQLite for structured data storage

Connectivity : Android supports a wide variety of connectivity technologies including GSM, Bluetooth, EDGE, 3G, and Wi-Fi.

Messaging : Both SMS and MMS are available.

Web browser : The web browser available in Android is based on the open-source WebKit application framework.

Java virtual machine : Software written in Java can be compiled into Dalvik bytecodes and executed in the Dalvik virtual machine, which is a specialized VM implementation designed for mobile device use, although not technically a standard Java Virtual Machine.

Media support : Android will support advanced audio/video/still media formats such as MPEG-4, H.264, MP3, and AAC, AMR, JPEG, PNG, GIF.

Additional hardware support : Android is fully capable of utilizing video/still cameras, touchscreens, GPS, compasses, accelerometers, and accelerated 3D graphics.

Development environment : Includes a device emulator, tools for debugging, memory and performance profiling, a plugin for the Eclipse IDE.


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