The Android Platform

Hi Friends, if you want to take a stab at Android Programming you are at the right place, so let’s dive straight in!

Android is an Operating System (OS) designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices like smartphones, tablet, smart watches. Android also runs on some wearables gadgets , TVs and in-car entertainment.

Powering more than billion smartphones and tablets, Android is the world’s most popular mobile operating system. As an OS, Android’s job is to manage interactions between you and your gadget. When you take a photo, Android provides the button you tap and tells the phone what to do when you tap it.

Android was founded in 2003 by Android Inc. which was owned by Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears, and Chris White of California – USA. The early intentions of the Android Inc. were to develop an advanced operating system for digital cameras.

Google took over Android in 2005 and developed it over time for use by mobile devices before unveiling it in 2007. Since then Google performs regular updates on Android Platform.

Java programming language is mainly used to write the Android code even though other languages are also used. Of note is Android’s adoption of Kotlin Programming Language during Google google io 2017.

Java is a popular and reliable programming language that was created in 1995 and is commonly used for building mobile apps for smartphones, tablets, and watches.There is some good news those new to Java; just imagine beginner-level Java students can just jump right in and start developing android apps!

Android Versions
Google is constantly working on new versions of the Android software.  Android Versions usually come with a numerical code and a name that’s so far been themed after sweets and desserts, running in alphabetical order.

  • Android 1.5 Cupcake
  • Android 1.6 Donut
  • Android 2.1 Eclair
  • Android 2.2 Froyo
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • Android 3.2 Honeycomb
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean:
  • Android 4.4 KitKat:
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop:
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow:  
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Android 8.0 Oreo  Currently in beta form, only available for developers (and the curious)

Google Play Store
Is a digital marketplace where Android users can download and install apps and games. Android develop can upload their apps on Play Store to make the app available to the users.

To combat the spread of malware through the Google Play store, Google introduced a new automated antivirus system, called Google Bouncer, to scan both new and existing apps for malware.

Who makes Android phones
There are companies that physically assemble and markets a device. Common Android manufacturers include Samsung, LG, HTC, Motorola, Huawei, Sony, Blackberry, Nokia, ASUS, Tecno, Infinix IZTE, and OnePlus.

Android Studio (AS)
Those of you with no prior experience in coding may still be wondering precisely what is Android Studio. It is Android’s official computer program designed to specifically write code for Android apps for any Android device.

Android Studio provides the interface for you to create your apps and to handle much of the complicated file-management behind the scenes.

Prior to Android release, Android development was handled predominantly through Eclipse IDE, which also supports numerous other programming languages like C++, Java and PHP.

AS is available for download on Windows, Mac OS and Linux based operating systems

Why write Android Apps

  • Anyone can learn to develop an app and publish it on Google Play Market from comfort of your home
  • Lots of online materials and tutorials are available to guide you on Android development
  • Several online knowledge-sharing communities where you can post questions and get answers e.g
  • Android provides Apps market for tablets, phones and wearables where one can be paid to develop an app.
  • The Android platform is a secured platform similar to Kernel which is based on Linux.
  • Android code is simple and fun to learn, I can at least assure you of this! 

Android terms you should know
Activity: A screen or a window within an app

ADB: Short for Android Debug Bridge.  It is a software that bridges the gap between your Android device and a computer, allowing you to send high-level commands to your phone or tablet over a USB data cable or wirelessly.

API: Application Program Interface is a set of routines, protocols and tools for building apps.

APK:  Short for Android application package. It is the app package file used to distribute and install apps. This file contains the app code, resources, assets and manifest file.

AVD: Short for Android Virtual Device. It is an emulator instance that enable you to model an actual device.Virtual devices allow you to test your application without having to own the physical device.

App: Short for an application. It is a  software program, generally developed for a mobile platform, that can be used to perform any number of tasks.

Bluetooth: Data transmission system between devices via radio waves without using wires or other connectors.

Emulator:  This is a version of Android that runs on our computers  e.g Android’s AVD (Android Virtual Device) used for testing Android apps on our laptops. However, the emulator doesn’t specify anything about the device we would like to emulate. So for specifying things like screen size, we use an Android Virtual Device or AVD.

Debugger: A debugger is a software program used to test and find bugs (errors) in other programs

IDE: Short for Integrated Development Environment  – is a software suite that which provides a user interface that consolidates the basic tools developers need to write and test software. IDE  looks much like a word processor where a developer writes and edits the Android code. Examples of IDEs include Android Studio Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ.

Kernel: The core of the operating system. It’s responsible for uniting the software functions and the hardware.

NFC: Short for near field communication. A very low-power wireless communication standard that is used to power Android Pay and Android Beam.

Packages: a group of related classes.

SDK: Short for software development kit. The Android SDK is a set of development tools such as libraries, debugger, emulator, sample source code that enables developers to create applications for the Android platform. A corresponding SDK is released for every new version of Android.

Wearables: Is a category of technology devices that can be worn and are often for tracking information related to health and fitness or take photos. Examples of wearable devices include smart watches, smart glasses, contact lenses, e-textiles and smart fabrics, headbands,  jewelry such as rings, bracelets, and hearing aid-like devices designed to look like earrings.Android Wear supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G and LTE connectivity.

I believe you have learnt something new today, don’t forget to share this article with your friends.

Stay tuned for the next episode!!

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