A smartphone and tablet platform from the Open Handset Alliance (www.openhandsetalliance.com). Based on Linux and Java, Android owners download and install applications via the Android Market online store (see Android Market). Android quickly became a major competitor to Apple's popular iPhone, offering multitasking before Apple included it. Android phones feature touch screens, GPS, Wi-Fi, camera and 3G or 4G service. Some models have a physical keyboard, but all phones have at least four physical buttons (Home, Menu, Back and Search).|
Like Windows and Mac
Like Windows computers, Android phones are made by different manufacturers, and they are sold by several cellular carriers. The first Android came out in 2008, and by the end of 2010, there were nearly 100 Android phone models worldwide. In contrast, like the Mac, the iPhone is made only by Apple, and there is only one top-end iPhone.
The Google Phone (Gphone)
Google is the developer of the platform, having acquired Android, Inc. in 2005, the startup that created the software. Before Android's unveiling in late 2007, Google was expected to offer its own hardware, but instead launched the specifications for third-party manufacturers. There was one brief exception (see Nexus One). See Google TV, Open Handset Alliance, HTC G1, HTC EVO, DROID, DROID X and smartphone.
After T-Mobile introduced the first Android in 2008, vendors such as HTC, Motorola, Samsung and LG added Androids to their product lines. GSM and CDMA are the two major cellular technologies (see
In the beginning, ads touted Android's capability of switching back and forth between apps, because it was not available on the iPhone. Apple later added multitasking to higher-end devices.
These Android-based devices have no phones. The ARCHOS Internet Tablet (top) is a handheld entertainment center, while the nook (bottom) is a Barnes & Noble e-book reader. For more information, visit www.archos.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.