The Android platform is the product of the Open Handset Alliance, a group of organizations that collaborate to develop a better mobile phone. The group, led by Google, includes mobile operators, handset device manufacturers, component manufacturers, platform providers, software solutions, and marketing companies. From a software development perspective, Android is perfectly at the centre of the open source world.
The first headset with Android capability on the market was the G1 device manufactured by HTC and supplied by T-Mobile. The device was available after almost a year of speculation, where the only software development tools available were some SDK releases improved incrementally. As the launch date of the G1 was approaching, the Android Development team launched SDK V1.0 and applications for the new platform began to appear.
To stimulate innovation, Google sponsored two series of “Challenges for Android Developers”, where millions of dollars were delivered to the best presentations of the contest. A couple of months after the G1, the Android market was launched, which allowed users to explore and download applications directly to their phones. After approximately 18 months, a new mobile platform entered the public area.
Android has an abundant variety of connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and wireless data over a cellular connection (for example, GPRS, EDGE and 3G). A popular technique in Android applications is to join Google Maps to display an address directly within an application. Support for location-based services (such as GPS) and accelerometers is also available in the Android software stack. There is also camera support.
Historically, the two areas in which mobile applications have struggled to keep up with their desktop counterparts are graphics hardware and data storage methods. Android addresses the challenge of graphics with built-in support for 2D and 3D graphics, including the OpenGL library. The data storage load is facilitated because the Android Development platform includes the well-known open source SQLite database.