What is Android? An Introductory Guide

If you’ve gone into a mobile phone store or a PC store chances are you ran into the word “Android” a couple of times. Or you might have been looking for an upgrade to your old brick phone and all you see are flat shiny touch-screen phones powered by you guessed it Android. So what exactly IS Android anyway?


The Android operating system was created by Android Inc., in the year 2003 by members Andy Rubin, Chris White, Nick Sears, and Rich Miner. According to Andy Rubin, the reason behind the development was to create a smarter mobile device that’s aware of its owners location and preferences. In 2005, Google acquired the company and in October 2008, Android was released to the U.S. public on the very first smart phone, T-Mobile’s G1 (HTC Dream).

The App Market

If you’ve ever heard anyone speaking about downloading apps, you can bet they have an Android device. Apps (short for applications) are pretty much the same as computer software programs. The only difference is that the program is much smaller and created to run on a mobile device. There are as many apps as there are computer programs and just like computer programs, some are free and some cost.

If you’re wondering how these programs make their way onto a Android device, it’s really easy. Each Android device comes with pre-programed apps that resemble computer icons. One of the icons looks like a shopping bag, this is called the “App Store” or “Google Play.” Touch this icon and you’ll enter a store that allows you to browse and search free and priced apps. When you find the one you want, simply touch it, touch install and follow the app instructions. That’s it. Once the download is completed it appears in your phone’s app menu.


Like most operating systems, Android has several versions. Each new release incorporates bug-fixes and new settings to give you the user a better experience. Not to be likened to Windows, Android refuses to use numbers only to signify its new versions. Instead, Android uses dessert names for each version. The first version of Android was called Cupcake, followed by Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and now IceCream. Just like every PC doesn’t support every Windows version, not all Android devices support every Android version.

Devices that use Android

Although many people think only phones use Android, you’ll be surprised to know that there are several other devices powered by Android. Think of Android as the equivalent to Apple’s iOS system. Apple’s system can run on phones, tablets and mp3 players. Android does the same. There are tablets, media players, and smart phones that all run on the Android platform and all have the same capabilities. Since most of these devices are Wi-fi capable or data-enabled through a phone company, you can still search the web and download Android apps from the Google Play Android app market all by touch.


Android has many selling points, but it also contains faults (mostly in the app department). To make it simple, I’ll compare it to iOS. IOS only runs on Apple manufactured devices, which means the people who develop the apps only need to keep one manufacturers device in mind. Android runs on any device that’s created to handle it. Samsung and HTC are just a few brands to create Android capable devices. This means that app developers have to keep every handset in mind when creating an app. If not, the app will only work on some handsets and not others. Android apps also force close, or shut down more than its competitor because of this.

In conclusion…

Android is one of the most popular operating systems for smartphones and it’s a lot of fun learning. If you’re looking to change your current handset, try Android. It’s user-friendly and has a neat little tutorial given by an Android bot, to teach you how to use it’s functions when you first switch it on. All in all this operating system is just as straight forward to use as iOS, but at a more affordable rate.

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