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Android is a Linux-based operating system for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, developed by Google in conjunction with the Open Handset Alliance.[2] The first Android-powered phone was sold in October 2008,[8] and by the end of 2010 Android had become the world's leading smartphone platform.[9] It had a worldwide smartphone market share of 59% at the beginning of 2012,[10] and as of third quarter 2012, there were 500 million devices activated and 1.3 million activations per day.[11][12]

Android was initially developed by Android Inc, whom Google financially backed and later purchased in 2005.[13] The unveiling of the Android distribution in 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 86 hardwaresoftware, andtelecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices.[14]

Google releases the Android code as open-source, under the Apache License.[15] TheAndroid Open Source Project (AOSP) is tasked with the maintenance and further development of Android.[16] Additionally, Android has a large community of developers writing applications ("apps") that extend the functionality of devices. Developers write primarily in a customized version of Java,[17] and apps can be downloaded from online stores such asGoogle Play (formerly Android Market), the app store run by Google, or third-party sites. In June 2012, there were more than 600,000 apps available for Android, and the estimated number of applications downloaded from Google Play was 20 billion.[18]


Commodore's Commentary

In the Android Versus Apple wars, I see Apple losing.

The simple fact is that open technologies bury closed ones.  Until the iPod, Apple was nearly a dead company.  Without a genius running it, I see the company becoming more closed, more dependent on lawsuits, and ultimately dying.
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William Stone,
Jul 28, 2012, 11:10 AM