Android Overview Tutorial: Introduction

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Introduction

Android is fast emerging as the world’s most popular mobile operating system. Gartner recently reported that Android now accounts for more than half of the smartphones sold worldwide. Android Market has grown at a phenomenal rate ever since it launched and Google recently revealed that Android Market has exceeded 10 billion app downloads -a staggering growth rate of one billion apps being downloaded every month.

This Module 1 is aimed at familiarizing readers with what is Android, the high-level architecture of Android stack and how to setup the development environment for building Android applications.

What is Android?

Going by a classical definition, Android is an open-source operating system based on Linux with a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) running on top of it. The Android SDK provides tools for compiling, debugging and simulating apps. The Android’s JVM is known as Dalvik and often referred to as DVM (Dalvik Virtual Machine).

From a historical perspective, Android was originally owned by a company called Android Inc. Google purchased the company and since then Android is developed under the Open Handset Alliance umbrella led by Google.

Prerequisites

As Android apps are developed in Java, developers are expected to have good hands-on Java programming skills. Additionally, some background is mobile application development on alternative platforms is a huge plus.

Note – It’s not mandatory to use Java to build Android apps and Google doesn’t mandate it either. Android apps can also be developed using web technologies such as HTML, JavaScript and CSS. However, this tutorial focuses on Java as the development language for Android development.

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