Android (operating system)

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Android is a mobile operating system designed by Google that is based on a modified version of the Linux kernel open source operating system. It is intended for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Android is being developed by a group of developers known as the Open Handset Alliance, with commercial sponsorship from Google. It was originally announced in November 2007, and the HTC Dream, the first commercial Android smartphone, was released in September 2008.

This is free and a open-source software; its source code is referred to as the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), and it is mainly licenced under the Apache License. However, most Android devices come with extra proprietary software pre-installed, most notably Google Mobile Services (GMS), which contains essential applications like as Google Chrome, the digital distribution network Google Play, and the related Google Play Services development platform.

Approximately 70% of Android devices are powered by Google's ecosystem, with others including vendor-customized user interfaces and software suites, such as Samsung's TouchWiz and later One UI, and HTC's Sense software. Fire OS (produced by Amazon) and LineageOS are two Android ecosystems and forks that compete with one other. The "Android" name and logo, on the other hand, are trademarks of Google, which has imposed rules to prevent "uncertified" devices from using the Android branding outside of its ecosystem.

The source code has been used to create Android versions for a variety of different electronic devices, including gaming consoles, digital cameras, portable media players, PCs, and other devices, each having a customised user interface based on the Android operating system. The Android TV platform for TVs and the Wear OS platform for wearables, both created by Google, are examples of well-known adaptations. Software packages for Android, which are stored in the APK format, are typically distributed through proprietary application stores such as the Google Play Store, Samsung Galaxy Store, Huawei AppGallery, Cafe Bazaar, and GetJar, as well as open source platforms such as Aptoide or F-Droid, which are available for free.

Android has been the most popular operating system on smartphones and tablets globally since 2011, and on tablets since 2013. According to Google, it has more than three billion monthly active users as of May 2021, the biggest installed base of any operating system, and as of January 2021, the Google Play Store has more than three million applications available for download. Android 11, which was launched on September 8, 2020, is the most recent stable version.