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Android is a mobile operating system based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open source software, designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Android is developed by a consortium of developers known as the Open Handset Alliance and sponsored by Google. It was announced in November 2007, and first commercially released in September 2008 with the HTC Dream. It has become a major competitor to iOS and iPadOS from Apple Inc. Other major competitors such as Symbian and Windows Mobile have since exited the market.


Android Red Velvet Cake Home Screen

Home screen of Android 11 “Red Velvet Cake” running on Google's Pixel 4a.

Android is free and open source software; its source code is known as Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which is primarily licensed under the Apache License. However most Android devices ship with additional proprietary software pre-installed,[1] most notably Google Mobile Services (GMS)[2] which includes core apps such as Google Chrome, the digital distribution platform Google Play and associated Google Play Services development platform. About 70 percent of Android smartphones run Google's ecosystem;[3] competing Android ecosystems and forks include Fire OS (developed by Amazon) or LineageOS. However the "Android" name and logo are trademarks of Google which impose standards to restrict "uncertified" devices outside their ecosystem to use Android branding.[4][5]

The source code has been used to develop variants of Android on a range of other electronics, such as video game consoles, digital cameras, portable media players, PCs and others, each with a specialized user interface. Some well known derivatives include Android TV for televisions and Wear OS for wearables, both developed by Google. Software packages on Android, which use the APK format, are generally distributed through proprietary application stores like Google Play Store, Samsung Galaxy Store, Huawei AppGallery, Cafe Bazaar, and GetJar, or open source platforms like Aptoide or F-Droid.


The Android operating system was created at Android Inc., founded in October 2003 at Palo Alto, California. Co-founder Andy Rubin is a former engineer of Apple Computer who was nicknamed "Android" by his former co-workers there due to his interest in robotics.[6] In 2005, Android was acquired by Google for US$50 million. Rubin remained as an executive overseeing Android until he left Google in 2014 following an internal investigation into an alleged sex scandal.[7]

Android has been the best-selling operating system worldwide on smartphones since 2011 and on tablets since 2013. As of May 2017, it had over two billion monthly active users, the largest installed base of any operating system, and as of January 2021, the Google Play Store featured over 3 million apps.[8] Android users can install apps from unofficial sources on the open Internet through a process known as sideloading — doing the same on an iOS device would require jailbreaking. Apple CEO Tim Cook states that such security measures are in place to reduce malware attacks and protect user privacy. Cook has openly recommended Android for users who want to sideload apps.[9]

Release history


Home screen of Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich".

Note: Android 1.x and versions 10 and up are not publicly referred to by their respective codenames; they are only used internally by staff and some enthusiasts. The dessert names were removed due to marketing considerations as users in some regions around the world may not know what the desserts are.[10]

Migrating between Android and iOS

In 2015, Apple introduced Move to iOS to facilitate the migration of user data from their Android phone to iOS. Over six years later in April 2022, Google introduced its own counterpart, Switch To Android.[18]

Android on Apple hardware

Android on counterfeit iOS devices

Nearly all iPhone clones and knockoffs run some form of Android that has been modified to simulate iOS with varying degrees of accuracy. Some older ones may be running other firmware.[29][30][31][32][33][34]

Despite having greater market share due to lower average cost, Android users are known to have "iPhone envy", leading to the rise of a genre of launcher apps that mimic the superficial appearance of the iOS user interface fairly closely. Some even manage to simulate some iOS-specific features such as the Weather app and Control Center[35]



  1. Is Android Really Open Source? And Does It Even Matter?. MakeUseOf.
  2. Android – Google Mobile Services (en-US). Android. Retrieved on October 21, 2018. “While the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) provides common, device-level functionalities such as email and calling, GMS is not part of AOSP. GMS is only available through a license with Google [..] We ask GMS partners to pass a simple compatibility test and adhere to our compatibility requirements for their Android devices.”
  3. Hughes, Terry (2014-07-28). Google and Android Are Not the Same... and That's a Good Thing. App Developer Magazine. Retrieved on 2020-07-29.
  4. Frequently Asked Questions. Android Open Source Project. Retrieved on January 4, 2021.
  5. Simon, Michael (December 26, 2016). With Cyanogen dead, Google's control over Android is tighter than ever. Retrieved on January 4, 2021.
  6. Disconnect: why Andy Rubin and Android called it quits by Adrianne Jeffries, The Verge. 2013-03-19.
  7. HHow Google Protected Andy Rubin, the ‘Father of Android’ by Daisuke Wakabayashi and Katie Benner, The New York Times. 2018-10-25.
  8. Number of Android applications on the Google Play store (en). AppBrain. Retrieved on 2020-08-12.
  9. Tim Cook: Users Who Want to Sideload Apps Can Use Android, While the iPhone Experience Maximizes 'Security and Privacy' by Sami Fathi, MacRumors. 2021-11-09.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Android's iconic dessert names are going away, starting with Android 10 by David Ruddock, Android Police. 2019-08-22.
  11. Android versions: A living history from 1.0 to 14, page 1 by JR Raphael, Computerworld. 2023-10-20.
  12. Android 12 is live in AOSP! by Dave Burke, Android Developers. 2021-10-04.
  13. Android 12: Everything we know about Google's next mobile OS update by Ayush Chourasia, India Today. 2021-01-18.
  14. Android 13 'Tiramisu': Everything you need to know about Google’s big 2022 update by Karthik Iyer, XDA. 2023-06-13.
  15. Android versions: A living history from 1.0 to 14, page 2 by JR Raphael, Computerworld. 2023-10-20.
  16. Google reveals one interesting bit of information about 2023's Android 14 by Alan Friedman, PhoneArena. 2022-04-23.
  17. Here Is What Android 15 Is Going To Be Called by Furquan Shahid, Wccftech. 2023-03-06.
  18. Google takes six years to copy Apple in releasing 'Switch to Android' app for iOS by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider. 2022-04-17.
  19. BlueStacks App Player for Mac/PC (review) by Matt Fish, AndroidGuys. 2016-09-29.
  20. System specifications for installing BlueStacks on macOS, BlueStacks. 2021-11-01.
  21. OpeniBoot: Supported Devices, iDroid Project. Archived 2014-10-24.
  22. Status: OpeniBoot, iDroid Project. Archived 2012-09-19.
  23. Video Shows Jailbroken iPhone 7 Booting Ubuntu to Gnome Desktop by Christian Zibreg, Make Use Of. 2021-01-12.
  24. Status: What's currently supported, Project Sandcastle. Accessed 2021-08-05.
  25. Android on Apple tv, slow and cursed but cool | Installation and testing by Kingdom3533, YouTube. 2021-05-22.
  26. Installing Android 6 On a MacBook by RedTech, YouTube. 2016-09-27.
  27. CM13 Android CyanogenMod X86 (Lineage OS) on your MacBook - This is how to do it by channel48, YouTube. 2017-02-07.
  28. Android Emulator Apple Silicon Preview by Android Studio, Google. 2020-12-04.
  29. How To Spot A Fake iPhone by Unbox Therapy, YouTube. 2016-08-13
  30. Fake iPhone 2G - Still Works After 8 Years by MJTech, YouTube. 2016-08-06.
  31. Airphone 4 Review (Fake iPhone 4) by ashens, YouTube. 2010-08-10.
  32. $160 Fake iPhone 11 Pro Max vs $1,449 11 Pro Max! by EverythingApplePro, YouTube. 2019-12-04.
  33. Testing out The Fake iPhone 11 Pro Max... by Phone Repair Guru, YouTube. 2021-03-30.
  34. $180 Fake iPhone 12 Pro Max vs $1,599 12 Pro Max! by EverythingApplePro, YouTube. 2020-11-25.
  35. 10 iOS Launchers for Android to Alleviate Your iPhone Envy by William Harrel, Online Tech Tips. 2019-01-28.

External links

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