Android is a software platform based on an open-source version of the Linux kernel and various other open-source software, mostly for touch screen mobile phones like tablets and smartphones. The Android operating system is based on the Linux kernel with the additional feature of a variety of pre-compiled android libraries to provide features that cannot be found in the free BSD and Open Source frameworks like Android XML support, MMORPG (MMORPG) support and Geolocation. Users can download and install the latest versions of different android versions from the Google Android Studio repository. The most popular and stable interface for apps on smartphones, tablets and HTC Android models is the Android Market developed by Google. Other interfaces can be obtained from third party developers via the Android SDK.
A major disadvantage of Android is that it doesn’t have any support for the multimedia and Internet technologies used in Smartphones like Blackberry and iPhone. The Android engine is not compatible with the Flash plugin used in most phones. Similarly, there are no plug-ins available to play MP3 and OGG files on Android devices. Some applications use the Java library, but it is not compatible with most Android versions. Thus, the overall performance and functionality of Android operating systems are less than the others.
Apart from being free software, android phones come with a paid version which provides certain additional features and applications. The paid version of Android is known as “ROM” or “Stock ROM”. In this type of ROM, many features that are available in the free OS are disabled, so that the phone runs the same way as its “stock” counterpart. Certain pre-installed apps can be removed from your phone if you opt for the ROM, but they will not be able to be installed again. But this ROM also allows users to use many third party applications and features that are not available in the stock OS.
One of the biggest disadvantages of Android as compared to iPhones and Blackberry is that it does not allow third party applications and many of the features provided by these apps cannot be found in an android phone. As android is based on the Java language, apps created for iPhones and BlackBerry phones cannot be installed on an android phone. This limitation has led to the creation of “ROM”. The purpose of ROMs is to extend the functionality of android phones by replacing or providing additional features which are missing from the stock OS. There are several ROMs available for different android versions. They are GSM/GPRS/EDGE based, or CDMA/GSM/GPRS/HSDPA based.
Many mobile manufacturers are now designing handsets catering to a niche segment of the market – professionals. These handsets run on complex operating systems such as Windows Mobile or Symbian. To make these phones more professional in design, they incorporate android os into them. A number of manufacturers such as Nokia, Samsung and HTC have created a whole series of phones catering to this segment of users. The advantage of using Android operating systems is that they can be customized according to the user’s needs. As opposed to a regular mobile phone, which is pre-installed with the operating systems of a particular vendor, an android phone can be customized according to the preferences of its user.
Another interesting feature of Android is that it is an open source operating system. This means that developers can create apps independent of Google. The most popular apps so far on the android platform include messaging apps, file sharing apps, e-mail clients, business applications and navigation applications. The internet was introduced to the world with the advent of these phones, paving the way for a new era of smartphone apps.