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Android development


In the last 10 years, Android has made a name for itself, not only with its candy-themed platform updates, but also with its widespread, and unexpected, success. In its lifetime, the open-source mobile operating system has grown to include 1.4 billion active users and 80% of smartphones today run Android software. Over 1 billion Android phones were sold in 2014 alone.

Mobile developers in the programming community are the minority – just over 9% of total developers in the world say they’re focusing on mobile devices, according to Stack Overflow’s 2015 developer survey. Of these mobile developers, however, Android developers make up the larger group, with 44.6% self-identifying as Android developers, compared to 33.4% who say they are building for iOS. Even so, many companies struggle to find enough developers to complete their Android projects. This trend is likely to continue as the overall number of smartphone users – and Android users, specifically – continues to grow.


The beauty of open source, Java, and the SDK.

As the first Android phones were announced, Google made Android open source, meaning developers could access, understand, and even modify the underlying phone software. Unlike Apple, Google chose to allow developers to freely develop and distribute apps to users without a complicated review process. Finally, Android applications would be built with Java, a well-supported and stable language with a wide base of existing developers. An Android Software Developer Kit (SDK) was assembled, giving app builders libraries of Java code they could include in their projects to make it easy to access device functionality. Java’s history as a mobile device application platform significantly pre-dated Android and the idea of developing Java apps for mobile phones made a lot of sense. After all, the beauty of Java is that is is well-suited to an environment where many different devices need to be supported, due to its ability to compile applications “just-in-time.”


Android devices

  • Wear OS
  • Android auto
  • Android things
  • Chrome OS device

Code nameVersion numberInitial release date
Lollipop5.0 – 5.1.1November 12, 2014
Marshmallow6.0 – 6.0.1October 5, 2015
Nougat7.0 – 7.1.2August 22, 2016
Oreo8.0 – 8.1August 21, 2017





Android supports connectivity technologies including GSM/EDGEBluetoothLTECDMAEV-DOUMTSNFCIDEN and WiMAX.
Supports voice dialing and sending contacts between phones, playing music, sending files (OPP), accessing the phone book (PBAP), A2DP and AVRCP. Keyboard, mouse and joystick (HID) support is available in Android 3.1+, and in earlier versions through manufacturer customizations and third-party applications.
Android supports tethering, which allows a phone to be used as a wireless/wired Wi-Fi hotspot. Before Android 2.2 this was supported by third-party applications or manufacturer customizations.

Hardware support

Android devices can include still/video cameras, touchscreensGPSaccelerometersgyroscopesbarometersmagnetometers, dedicated gaming controls, proximity and pressure sensorsthermometers, accelerated 2D bit blits (with hardware orientation, scaling, pixel format conversion) and accelerated 3D graphics.


Java support
While most Android applications are written in Java, there is no Java Virtual Machine in the platform and Java byte code is not executed. Java classes are compiled into Dalvik executables and run on using Android Runtime or in Dalvik in older versions, a specialized virtual machine designed specifically for Android and optimized for battery-powered mobile devices with limited memory and CPU. J2ME support can be provided via third-party applications.
Handset layouts
The platform works for various screen sizes from smartphone sizes and to tablet size, and can potentially connect to an external screen, e.g. through HDMI, or wirelessly with Miracast. Portrait and landscape orientations are supported and usually switching between by turning. A 2D graphics library, 3D graphics library based on OpenGL ES 2.0 specifications is used.
SQLite, a lightweight relational database, is used for data storage purposes.
Native Apps
Android apps are also written in HTML.
Instant Apps
Android apps are hosted on a specific website path and load instead of the website itself. They are part-apps and load almost instantly without the need for an installation. One of the first apps being developed with such functionality is the B&H app.