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Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google, based on the Linux kernel and designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Android's user interface is mainly based on direct manipulation, using touch gestures that loosely correspond to real-world actions, such as swiping, tapping and pinching, to manipulate on-screen objects, along with a virtual keyboard for text input. In addition to touchscreen devices, Google has further developed Android TV for televisions, Android Auto for cars, and Android Wear for wrist watches, each with a specialized user interface. Variants of Android are also used on game consoles, digital cameras, PCs and other electronics.
Initially developed by Android Inc., which Google bought in 2005, Android was unveiled in 2007, along with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance – a consortium of hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. Beginning with the first commercial Android device in September 2008, the operating system has gone through multiple major releases, with the current version being 8.0 "Oreo", released in August 2017. Android applications ("apps") can be downloaded from the Google Play store, which features over 2.7 million apps as of February 2017. Android has been the best-selling OS on tablets since 2013, and runs on the vast majority[a] of smartphones. As of May 2017, Android has two billion monthly active users, and it has the largest installed base of any operating system.
Android's source code is released by Google under an open source license, although most Android devices ultimately ship with a combination of free and open source and proprietary software, including proprietary software required for accessing Google services. Android is popular with technology companies that require a ready-made, low-cost and customizable operating system for high-tech devices. Its open nature has encouraged a large community of developers and enthusiasts to use the open-source code as a foundation for community-driven projects, which deliver updates to older devices, add new features for advanced users or bring Android to devices originally shipped with other operating systems. The extensive variation of hardware in Android devices causes significant delays for software upgrades, with new versions of the operating system and security patches typically taking months before reaching consumers, or sometimes not at all. The success of Android has made it a target for patent and copyright litigation between technology companies.
Google Developers (previously Google Code) is Google's site for software development tools, application programming interfaces (APIs), and technical resources. The site contains documentation on using Google developer tools and APIs—including discussion groups and blogs for developers using Google's developer products.
There are APIs offered for almost all of Google's popular consumer products, like Google Maps, YouTube, Google Apps, and others.
The site also features a variety of developer products and tools built specifically for developers. Google App Engine is a hosting service for web apps. Project Hosting gives users version control for open source code. Google Web Toolkit (GWT) allows developers to create Ajax applications in the Java programming language.
The site contains reference information for community based developer products that Google is involved with like Android from the Open Handset Alliance and OpenSocial from the OpenSocial Foundation.
Google Play or
Google Play Store, and originally the Android Market, is a digital distribution platform operated by Google.
Google Play (formerly Android Market) is a digital distribution service operated and developed by Google. It serves as the official app store for the Android operating system, allowing users to browse and download applications developed with the Android software development kit (SDK) and published through Google. Google Play also serves as a digital media store, offering music, magazines, books, movies, and television programs. It previously offered Google hardware devices for purchase until the introduction of a separate online hardware retailer, Google Store, on March 11, 2015.
Applications are available through Google Play either free of charge or at a cost. They can be downloaded directly on an Android device through the Play Store mobile app or by deploying the application to a device from the Google Play website. Applications exploiting hardware capabilities of a device can be targeted to users of devices with specific hardware components, such as a motion sensor (for motion-dependent games) or a front-facing camera (for online video calling). The Google Play store had over 82 billion app downloads in 2016 and has reached over 2.7 million apps published in 2017. It has been the subject of multiple issues concerning security, in which malicious software has been approved and uploaded to the store and downloaded by users, with varying degrees of severity.
Google Play was launched on March 6, 2012, bringing together the Android Market, Google Music, and the Google eBookstore under one brand, marking a shift in Google's digital distribution strategy. The services operating under the Google Play banner are: Google Play Books, Google Play Games, Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music, and Google Play Newsstand. Following their rebranding, Google has gradually expanded the geographical support for each of the services.
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