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Android is a mobile Operating System initially developed by Android Inc. before Google bought them in 2005, first unveiled in 2007 and released in 2008. It is the most popular mobile phone platform used by over 2 billion people and over 20000 different devices run it, overall holding around 85% of the global mobile market, with iOS having more of a niche role. It is popular because it's free, is open source allowing for improvements from all of community, easy to customise by users and is compatible with the majority of applications.

The official website can be found here.


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Versions released (as one can see, Edible Theme Naming is being used):

Android 1.0

The first major version of Android released in 2008. It introduced several features that would be expected in a smartphone like a web browser allowing to pan and zoom over an HTML website, multiple Google applications and a voice dialer allowing for calls without typing in a name or number. An update in 2009 called Android 1.1 was released with some minor improvements.

Android 1.5 (Cupcake)

An update released in 2009. It added more mainstays like support for widgets, a copy/paste function in web browser, an auto-rotation option, the ability to upload videos to YouTube and photos to Picasa (a defunct photo-sharing service).

Android 1.6 (Donut)

Another update released in 2009. It added a text-to-speech program, support for WVGA (768x480) screen resolutions, and the ability to delete multiple photos at once.

Android 2.0-2.1 (Eclair)

The second major version of Android released in 2009. It added the ability to tap a Contacts photo and select to call, SMS, or email the person, improved web browsing with bookmark thumbnails, double-tap zoom and support for HTML 5, enhanced virtual keyboards with a dictionary that learns words as they're used, and support for more resolutions.

Android 2.2 (Froyo)

An update released in 2010. It added support for numeric and alphanumeric passwords, Wi-Fi hotspot functionality, showing all frames of .gif images instead of just the first frame, support for up to 320 ppi screens, and Adobe Flash support.

Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)

Another update released in 2010. It added NFC functionality, support for WXGA (1366x768) and larger screen resolutions, better copy/paste functions, a Download Manager, support for sensors such as gyroscopes and barometers. and an Easter Egg.

Android 3.x (Honeycomb)

The third major version of Android released in 2011. It's the Oddball in the Series as it's tablet-only. It added the ability to encrypt all user data, HTTPS browsing, and compatibility with multi-core processors.

Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)

The fourth major version of Android released in 2011. It added 1080p video recording, Wi-Fi Direct, a built-in photo editor, the ability to access applications directly from lock screen, and the new Roboto font family.

Android 4.1-4.3 (Jellybean)

An update series released in 2012. It added multichannel audio, one-finger gestures to expand/collapse notifications, speech output and gesture mode for blind people, support for 4K and native emojis.

Android 4.4 (Kitkat)

Another update released in 2013. It added support for low-RAM devices, wireless printing, disabled access to battery statistics by third-party applications which received quite a bit of backlash, and fixed the heartbleed bug which led to Open SSL man-in-the-middle vulnerability.

Android 5.x (Lollipop)

The fifth major version of Android released in 2014. It added support for a 64-bit CPU, vector graphics, audio input and output through USB devices, a flashlight-style application, user-customisable preferences for application notifications, and support for multiple SIM cards.

Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)

The sixth major version of Android released in 2015. It added a Doze mode which lowers CPU usage when screen is off to save on battery usage, native fingerprint reader support, USB-C support, 4K display support for apps, and an experimental multi-window feature.

Android 7.x (Nougat)

The seventh version of Android released in 2016. It added the ability to screen-zoom, a better file browser, more Quick Settings options, Daydream VR platform, aa JIT compiler allowing for quartered installation time and halved compiled code size, and a new set of emojis adding different skin and hair colors for existing ones.
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Android 8.x (Oreo)

The eighth version of Android released in 2017. It added Project Treble which is a modular architecture that makes it easier and faster for hardware makers to deliver Android updates, Google Play Protect, downloadable fonts, color management, and several API.

Android 9.0 (Pie)

The ninth version of Android released in 2018. It added a screenshot button next to the power options, battery percentage shown in Always-On display, a redesigned volume slider, and "Adaptive Battery" prediction, which makes use of Doze to hibernate user apps the OS determines the user will not use.

Android 10

The tenth major version of Android released in 2019 which ended the aforementioned naming as its name is not based on a dessert (though it was planned to be "Quince Tart"), it's just Android 10. It added support for three new video codecs, dynamic depth format for photos, WPA 3 Wi-Fi identification, and support for foldable phones (a type of tablet which can be folded into a smartphone).

Games:

Games for the Google Android mobile phone and tablet OS use the touch screen for multiple capabilities, with some also using the gyroscope. The main source of games is Google Play, an official store with several applications, which are free, free-to-play, or paid.

The barrier of entry to game development on Google is fairly low as it thrives on simple games. One only has to pay 25$ to become a developer. Patching games is also easier and can be done within hours.

What role Android will play in the next generation of Console Wars is not clear. It captures the demographic of casual gamers with multiple idle games or simple role-playing games, usually free-to-play, but it is fairly independent of the console market. Emulation is a well-developed niche on Android as well, with the Game Boy Advance being the most popular, though systems from even The Seventh Generation of Console Video Games are available. That said, console manufacturers see it as having potential, as evidenced by Nintendo putting several of their largest brands on it.

Note that due to the greater variation of Android hardware compared to iOS, it is a good idea to check compatibility with your device before purchasing, especially if you have an inexpensive phone/tablet. While Google Play did automatically delist incompatible apps and games on a particular device, there are cases where "incompatible" apps work after sideloaded and "compatible" apps did not work.


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