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Note that I said “Android” not “an android” because I just know someone is looking at this and thinking that I must be pretty thick. Ok, you may have been thinking that already but let’s move on. Android, the killer OS from Google, the company with fingers in every single pie, is something of a delight. In this short and savoury blog, complete with melted cheese, comes a look into the workings of Android and where you can get yourself one…

First off a brief history. Way back in the year of 2005 a company called Google acquired a company called Android, Inc. This was a little company about which people knew very little. They made software for mobile phones. That was about the sum of it.    

Then, in conjunction with Texas Instruments, HTC, Intel, LG, Marvell Technology Group, Broadcom Corporation, nVidia, Qualcomm, Motorola, T-Mobile, Samsung Electronics and Sprint Nextel, Google formed the Open Handset Alliance and announced the Android platform built on the Linux kernel in 2007.

The Android was important for all sorts of reasons, not least of which being the fact that it was the world’s first open and complete mobile platform. The subsequent developer challenge in 2008 and opening of the Android Market to connect users and developers, put Android firmly on the map.

Close to the end of 2008, T-Mobile announced the world’s first Android phone and the source code was released in October of that year.  Currently Android is sitting at the 1.5 release that brings several improvements to the Android-powered phones. Smoother onscreen typing, UI refinements  and new APIs are among the list of new and improved features.

Android allows developers to write managed code in Java and to control mobile devices via Google-developed Java libraries. This has resulted in a wealth of development for the Android platform and a thriving marketplace that offers anything from Simon Says to educational games for kids to complex spreadsheets that will help you to work on the move.

The Android OS has some flaws that are slowly being worked out of the system, but the sudden influx of products boasting the system are impressive to say the least. ASUS are releasing an Android Eee Pad at Computex in June and they’ve already unleashed the Garmin-Asus Android phone – with an update due in July.  Add to this the beta turn-by-turn satellite navigation functionality that has been rolled out for Android users in the UK and Ireland, and you can see why Android is giving Apple some sleepless nights.

Additionally, Google announced in February of this year that around 60,000 Android cell phones are shipping every day and it is now ranked as the fourth most popular smartphone device platform in the US.  Brace yourselves for ASUS’ foray into the tablet market with the delectable announcement that they plan to release a tablet for the Android OS.

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