An Introduction to the Android Operating System

Android Operating System

 

google nexus android

The Android Operating System is described by Wikipedia as a Linux-based operating system designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Initially developed by Android, Inc., which Google backed financially and later bought in 2005, Android was unveiled in 2007 along with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance a consortium of hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. The first Android-powered phone was sold in October 2008. The The source code for Android is available under free and open source software licenses in a similar way as Linux.

However Android is not completely free bacause device manufacturers cannot use Google’s Android trademark unless Google certifies that the device complies with their Compatibility Definition Document (CDD). Devices must also meet this definition to be eligible to license Google’s closed-source applications, including Google Play.

In 2010, Google launched its Nexus series of devices—a line of smartphones and tablets running the Android operating system, and built by a manufacturer partner. HTC which collaborated with Google to release the first Nexus smartphone, the Nexus One. The series has since been updated with newer devices, such as the Nexus 4 phone and Nexus 10 tablet, made by LG and Samsung, respectively. Google releases the Nexus phones and tablets to act as their flagship Android devices, demonstrating Android’s latest software and hardware features.

In the fall of 2010 there was a fork between Linux and Android development and Google engineer Patrick Brady stated that Android is not Linux“. That actually was not completely true be cause  Android has always been Linux at heart.

Android consists of a kernel based on Linux kernel version 2.6 and, from Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich onwards, version 3.x, with middleware, libraries and APIs written in C, and application software running on an application framework which includes Java-compatible libraries based on Apache Harmony.

However Android developers adopted their own way to address power issues and they created a new lock type.  The result was that Torvalds dropped the Android drivers from the main Linux kernel in late 2009.

Recently there has been a new convergence between Linux and Android and at the 2011 Kernel Summit in Prague, the Linux kernel developers “agreed that the bulk of the Android kernel code should probably be merged into the mainline.” To help this process along, the Android Mainlining Project was formed.

Android Operating System vs Apple’s IOS

Because Android is an open source OS, device manufacturers can — and do — make significant modifications and additions.  For instance Samsung added its own enterprise security features, including advanced Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support and AES 256-bit device encryption, through its Samsung Approved for Enterprise (SAFE) program.

Android’s variety of features and rate of innovation are impressive, but what makes Android great for consumers is what makes it difficult for organizations that need to support different varieties of the Google’s Android OS.

Apps for iOS, on the other hand, consistently work well across four different OS versions. Apple makes all the iOS devices, and they seem to integrate with Windows better than Android. IOS offers features such as guided access, which allows IT to limit certain functions of apps. Its certificate-based VPN authentication works with virtually all Apple products, whereas your VPN may only work with a specific Android version or device.

We can conclude that currently it is easier for enterprises to manage IOS based devices, but Android is making some progress. Small, upstart companies have less problems with Android, because they do not have a large Windows infrastructure and they can align more easily with other Google products, such as Google Apps.

 

 

References

Android and Linux re-merge into one operating system

Android versus iOS in the enterprise: A whole new ballgame in 2013

Securing Android for enterprise and SMBs: Deliver value-added security

Android versus iOS security: Features, policies and controls

Intro to Embedded Linux Part 1: Defining Android vs. Embedded Linux

The Android Operating System
 

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