Android is an operating system based on Linux. It was initially developed as a deployment for the mobile phone market as well as smartphones and the low cost flip-phones. However, given that this operating system (OS) has a wide range of computing services and a fully functional rich support system, the potential for the operating system extends far beyond mobile phones only. The OS can be successfully implemented on other platforms as well as applications.
This revolutionary operating platform was first developed by the Open Handset Alliance, a network of organizations who were trying to develop smart mobile phones. This group was led by Google and included various handset manufacturers, component makers, software developers, marketing organizations and platform providers. This operating system is at the center of the open source world and provides a viable marketing edge. The first handset enabled with it was GI manufactured by HTC. It was provisioned on T-Mobile and became available after an entire year filled with speculation.
Features available on this Operating System
The software stack includes middleware, key applications and an OS. All application developments on the Operating System are made by using Java. The key features of this OS are:
Reusable and replaceable components in the application framework
Mobile device optimization on the virtual machine Dalvik
Open source WebKit engine having an integrated browser based on it
Enhanced graphics using a customized 2D graphics library and also OpenGL ES 1.0 specified hardware providing 3D graphics. The acceleration of hardware is optional
SQLite to enable structured storage of data
All available media support for common image, video and audio formats including GIF, MP3, H.264, AMR, JPG, PNG, MPEG4, AAC
Hardware dependent GSM telephony
Hardware dependent EDGE, 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled
Hardware dependent GPS, compass, accelerometer and camera
A rich development environment which includes device emulators, profiling memory and performance capability, debugging tools and Eclipse IDE plug-in
Each of these applications has its own running process and it is generated automatically under individual user IDs during deployment. Due to this, the application is separate from other applications which may be running at the same time. Thus, an application which misbehaves is unable to cause damage to any other running application.
Because of the open development platform provided by the OS, companies in
India that have Android developers on board have the freedom to build innovative and rich applications. Android programmers in India can take advantage of the numerous features such as location information access, background service runs, alarm settings, notifiers, hardware etc.
Android application programmers in India have complete access to the framework APIs that is used by the core applications. The architecture of the applications is designed in a manner that simplifies the reuse of any component. Applications can publish their capabilities, which can then be used by other applications as long as they fall under security constraints that the framework enforces. Working on the same basis, the mechanism allows the user to replace components.
The set of systems and services which underlies all applications include:
A set of rich, extensible Views that can be applied to build applications including grids, text boxes, embeddable web browsers, lists and buttons
There are Content Providers which allow one application to use data from another application or enable data sharing.
Non-code resources like graphics, layout files and localized strings are given access through a Resource Manager
User can customize the display alerts in the status bar using a notification manager
The lifecycle of applications is managed through an activity manager which also provides a joint navigation backstack
Fundamentals of the Android application development
The applications created by the developers are written in Java. Once they are installed on a device, each individual application stays within a security sandbox of its own. The multi-user Linux operating system in this OS makes sure that each application is a different user. The default settings ensure that each application under the Operating System is assigned a unique user Id. The permission to access files in an application is set up by the system in a way so that only the specific user ID assigned to that particular application can access it.
Every process has a Virtual Machine or VM of its own, which makes sure that all the application codes run in isolation from each other. The default programming makes sure that all the applications run on their own Linux processes. At any time when one of the application’s components need to be carried out, the OS starts the process and later shuts it down once it has finished its task. Shutdown is also initiated if the system has to extract memory for some other applications.
This system makes use of the principle of minimum privilege and gives an application access to only those components that are needed to carry out its work. Thus, a very secure environment is created and an application is unable to access those files for which it does not have permission.
Application Components in the Operating System
The application components are basically the building blocks of any Android application. Every component is allowed a different point to access your application. The four distinctively different components of this OS are:
Activities: It is represented through a single screen having a user interface.
Services: It is a component that is used to perform operations that run for a long time or for remote processes. It usually runs in the background.
Content Providers: It is used to manage data from shared applications
Broadcast Receivers: It responds to broadcast announcements on a system-wide basis. It is an access point for other components and the actual work done is minimal.
Since the entire process of development and deployment of these applications need expertise, hiring Android developers in India who are qualified and trained to develop compatible applications can help you get quality service at affordable cost. So, the next time you need developers for your Android applications, you know where to outsource your needs.