What is Android?
Everyone has heard of Windows; or the Mac operating system; or maybe even Linux. Each is an operating system for a computer. In phones, you may have heard of Symbian (Nokia’s operating system), Windows for Mobile, and Iphone OS, among others.
BASIC ANSWER: “Android” is an operating system for smartphones.
WHAT IS AN OPERATING SYSTEM: An operating system tells the computer in your phone what to do and how to do it
Android was created by Google. Well, technically it was create by some other company that Big-G swallowed like a bad pill. But since it was acquired, Google has improved it dramatically and used the Big-G clout to gain a huge market share of devices that have now switched to the Android operating system.
It is kind of like the brains running your phone or tablet. Easy to understand now right?
What if I bought a phone running an old version of Android?
Some manufacturers do not feel that upgrades of operating systems are worth their time for existing users, especially if they have customized Android with their own interface and/or apps, as each would have to be reapplied after an update.
In other words, to make the chosen version of Android work, device manufacturers must write device drivers for the hardware. These are mostly closed source, so the device manufacturers must update them on their own. Unfortunately because of this, every version of Android won’t work on all devices.
And as mentioned, manufacturers aren’t keen into releasing updates. Because they are releasing so many new phones, there is no incentive to put more work and money into updating an older model.
If you read the stats, you will see that the public WANTS to get a new phone as often as possible. There are actually very few people (by percentage) that keep their phone for the long term.
Devices with out-dated operating systems can’t access all the apps and can’t obtain the benefits that are offered in the newer versions. And since newer phones and newer operating systems are released constantly, dealers must lower prices to “dump” their older stock to be able to sell the latest.
MOST LIKELY, IF YOU GOT A GOOD DEAL ON A SLIGHTLY OLDER PHONE, THAT IS WHY!
Well, Frosted Flakes is cereal and it has nothing to do with Android. But it is sugary and they could have used it for the version “F”. But they didn’t. Google rarely calls and asks for my suggestions anyway.
Google has a reputation for being a “fun” and “light” company. Considering it won the “Number 1 Best Company to Work For in America” award, I guess they are doing something right. What other company offers …
[A Google Office Includes] … foosball, chess, a library, video games like Guitar Hero, unlimited snacks and drinks, a popcorn machine, and an electronic instrument set. Workers can have free breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and yoga classes twice a week and can shower in one of the office’s bathrooms. There is also a sleeping couch …
So to keep with Big-G’s simple and fun lifestyle, someone decided to name all the Android versions after a desert or a sugary sweet. It makes you think that each time a new version is released they all head to the bakery! Well, in Big-G’s case, I’m sure the bakery delivers!
Here are the current versions:
What are the Current Versions of Android?
- 1.0 – Android beta.
- 1.5 – Android Cupcake.
- 1.6 – Android Donut.
- 2.0/2.1 – Eclair.
- 2.2.x – Froyo.
- 2.3.x – Gingerbread.
- 3.x – Honeycomb (used mainly for tablets.)
- 4.0.x – Ice Cream Sandwich (both for phones and tablets.)
- 4.1/4.2 – Jelly Bean (both for phones and tablets) (released 11/13/2012)
- 4.3 – Jelly Bean (July 24, 2013)
- 4.4 – KitKat – (November 2013)
- 5.0 – Lollilop – (November 2014)
- 5.1 – 5.1.1 – Lollilop – (March 2015)
- 6.0 – Marshmallow – (October 2015)
Yes, they are named after a desert or a sugary snack. Welcome to Google world.
PS: How many of you really know what FROYO is? It was the name of version 2.2.x. As I said, my phone must have been busy when they called for my opinion, because I would have certainly said Frosted Flakes! If you guessed “Frozen Yogurt”, then you get a gold-star.
What about “apps”? What do I do with an “app”?
“Apps” is short for application and is an add-on or simplified modification to the software. I am stuck in old school and still call them “programs”. For instance, I download a program that allows me to block the calls and texts from people that I don’t want to hear from. Calling it a program was easier for me to wrap-my-head-around. However, for most people, calling it an application caught on and no one refers to these “add ons” as “programs” anymore.
Apps are available for virtually any need. Here is a good example of what an app can be used for. Imagine that you want to go to your facebook account. You open your web browser on your phone (just like a computer browser like firefox or internet explorer) and type in the address for facebook. The page appears with all the standard wasted space that a browser has at the top and bottom of your already-limited screen.
Download a facebook app on the other hand and things change. First, you get a one-touch icon on your home page that will take you directly to facebook without having to open a browser and without having to type in a location. And second, you get full utilization of your screen to view facebook. The display was custom created to display the facebook pages, using every bit of your screen for facebook, making it easier to see.
Android is Open-Source
Well, consider that Android is owned by Google, there are probably lots of secrets! But we won’t go into that right now.
“Open Source” means that the code is not restricted. It can be used by any manufacturer. And because so much information on the operating system is available, everyone from amateur programmers to hard-core geeks have developed applications to add certain customized functions to their Android system.
In fact, there are millions of apps waiting to be downloaded. In most cases, these downloadable apps are free. And it makes sense … because it is believed that over half of all smart phones (and tablets or “phablets”) are now running Android. Another figure released in October 2012, declared that Android was running more than 75% of the smart phones.
On computers, Windows is believed to have more than 90% of the market. But it has taken them years to accomplish that feat. Android has an effective birth date of 2009, making them about 3 years old … and already 75% of the market! Quite a remarkable statement if it is true.