Android has basically become a buzzword among technology fans and Mobile phone makers. But what is Android?
Basically Android is an Operating system created by Google that powers a majority of the smartphones at the moment. Google invented this Operating System as a joint venture with Google, T-Mobile and the team that created the sidekick phones that were popular on US series such as weeds (Never seen one in real life.) It was announced just before the iPhone but android looked completely different then. It didn’t have any kind of touch screen and looked a lot like a blackberry but as the iPhone was announced, Android was quickly spun into a touchscreen OS and released on the T-Mobile G1. (HTC Dream)
One of the main points about Android is that the software isn’t bound to a single Device or Manufacturer meaning an app created for Android will hopefully run on the majority of phones, and back when it was released that dream was true, mainly because most android phones where created by HTC with the specs, but different form factors.
To make it able to run on many devices from many manufacturers google had to find a way to create code that will run on as many Android configurations as possible . To do this they made the programming language for android Java but extended so there are much more hardware functions available to the programming environment such as swiping, shaking and taking photos. This required Google to create a new Java vm for Android called dalvik with all of these features available to programmers.
In contrast the iPhone has a native form of code called Objective C, but Apple can afford to do this since iOS runs on a handful of devices that Apple let exist.
But as you might of guessed, when manufacturers got hold of android they started creating there own android interfaces that may or may not be as good as the one google has designed. Or certain carriers may insist on limitations on devices so they can sell services to get around these limitations. Because of this hackers began getting root access (complete control of hardware and software) and started customizing their operating systems and sometimes packaging them up and distributing them as complete Operating systems that still, in essence, Android.
Also because of the varying hardware available on phones catering from budget to budget busting, there has been a phenomenon called fragmentation where some phones are just too low end to upgrade to the latest version of Android or run some apps. Or some manufacturers killing phones off early and this is another reason for the widespread hacking of the android OS.
I am personally interesting android because it is playing a major roll in this semester of Ethical hacking, to the point one of my projects is based on this. A really good book I really want for my project is Android forensics by Andrew Hoog