Mobile applications have comforted and simplified human lives to symbolic level. We now find mobile applications for almost all the amenities we cross over our daily lives. Mobile applications were possible only by the introduction of common integrated operating systems such as Symbian, Blackberry, Android, iOS and Windows Mobile.
Android is Google’s mobile operating system based on Linux Kernel which is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices like smart phones and tablets. Android started out with the pre-commercial release of its first versions, Android alpha and Android beta, in the early 2007-2008. The first commercial version, Android 1.0 with API level 1, was released in September 2008 and the first publicly available Smartphone running Android, the HTC Dream, was released on October 22, 2008. Since April 2009 Android has been releasing its further versions in an alphabetic order with increasing level of its API as Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean and Kit Kat.
Android uses Linux for process and memory management, networking and other operating system services. Android Software Development Kit or Android SDK with the help of Java programming language helps in Android mobile application development. Android’s user interface is based on direct manipulation using touch inputs that loosely correspond to real-world actions. Android supports applications and services designed to run invisibly in the background. The Android SDK includes a comprehensive set of tools such as debugger, handset emulator, software libraries, documentation and simple codes. The official integrated development environment is Eclipse using the Android Development Tools (ADT) plugin. The Android SDK also contains the Android Debug Bridge which is a tool that enables us to connect to a real or virtual Android device for managing or debugging the device. The Android system uses a special virtual machine i.e. the Dalvik Virtual Machine to run the java based applications.
The Android application development system is a full software stack which is typically divided into four stages viz. applications, application framework, libraries and runtime, and Linux kernel. Applications are the default applications to be installed such as the contact book, gallery, browser, camera, music, etc. The application framework is the API which provides many higher-level services to the applications in the form of Java classes. Application developers are allowed to make use of these services in their applications. The libraries contribute to various common functions such as web browsing, graphic rendering, data storage, etc of the application framework and the runtime, or the Dalvik runtime, makes use of Linux core features like memory management and multi-threading. The runtime also provides a set of core libraries which enable application developers to write Android applications using standard Java programming language. The Linux kernel is the communication layer for the underlying hardware. It provides the basic system functionality like process management, memory management and device management.
Android mobile application development is not a very complicated process. It only takes the couple of tools mentioned above to make it happen. Android is a powerful and intuitive development platform that lets developers who have never programmed for mobile devices create useful android mobile applications quickly and easily. It is easy to see how innovative Android mobile applications could create demand for the devices necessary to run them, particularly if developers write applications for Android because they cannot write for other platforms.
There exist some features that set Android application development apart from other mobile application development platforms. Once developed, Android applications can be packages easily and sold out either through store such as the Google Play or the Amazon Appstore. Android powers hundreds of millions of mobile devices in more than 190 countries in the world. It is the largest installed base of any mobile platform and growing fast. Every day more than 1 million new Android devices are activated worldwide.