Android (operating system)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Android 10 home screen
Android 10 home screen
developer Open Handset Alliance
License (s) Apache 2.0, GPLv 2
First publ. September 23, 2008
Current  version 10 (September 3, 2019)
Kernel monolithic ( Linux )
ancestry Linux
↳ Android
Architecture (s) ARM , MIPS , PPC , x86
timeline See version history
Languages) multilingual (over 75 languages)

Android [ ændɹɔɪd ] (of English android Android , from ancient Greek ἀνήρ man and εἶδος shape) is both an operating system and a software platform for mobile devices such as smart phones , mobile phones , televisions , media players , netbooks and tablet computers , which from that of Google , founded Open Handset Alliance to be developed.

Android is free software , based on the Linux kernel . Android also shares numerous features with embedded Linux distributions. It differs significantly from the GNU / Linux distributions known for desktop and server, because crucial parts are implemented with alternative concepts such as Java and the C standard library Bionic . Whether the term Linux distribution can be applied to Android in spite of these conceptual differences is controversial, since this term usually stands for distributions that not only include the Linux kernel but also GNU software such as the GNU Core Utilities . These are only incompletely part of Android, but can be retrofitted. Nevertheless, the Linux Foundation refers to Android as a Linux distribution, since it is a distribution with a Linux kernel. In addition, several components from NetBSD are also included in Android.

In contrast to conventional desktop computers , Android devices do not have full administration rights. Applications that users do not want can not be removed in every case; the manufacturer of the mobile device defines such rights.

As a smartphone operating system, Android had a global market share of 87.5 percent in the third quarter of 2016 (based on sales figures). Since the market launch in 2008, Google has generated sales of USD 31 billion with Android (as of January 2016).


In the summer of 2005, Google bought Android, a company founded by Andy Rubin in the fall of 2003 , of which little more was known than that it developed software for mobile phones and primarily handled location-based services . Originally, Android was only intended to control digital cameras. For the most part, Android was not designed from scratch. Most of the time, several components that already existed as open source were rearranged. The most important of these are the Linux kernel, Java and the C standard library Bionic as well as some libraries and daemons of the GNU project . On November 5, 2007, Google announced that it would work with 33 other members of the Open Handset Alliance to further develop a mobile phone operating system called Android. Android has been officially available since October 21, 2008.

The HTC Dream (aka T-Mobile G1) was the first smartphone with the Android operating system

The first device with Android as the operating system was the HTC Dream on October 22, 2008 under the name T-Mobile G1 in the USA. The fact that this first device could already access the Global Positioning System (GPS) and was equipped with acceleration sensors was part of the Android concept.

On August 5, 2015, Google announced that it would now provide monthly security updates for Android. However, these are only delivered directly to in-house devices. As a support period, Google specifies three years for its own devices from the start of sales. For other devices, the respective manufacturer decides for himself whether, how long and by when these security updates will be delivered. In the course of this, Samsung announced that it would in future deliver monthly security updates for its own devices. This was a response to the increasingly louder criticism due to the serious Stagefright security gap that emerged in July 2015 , which endangered millions of Android devices worldwide.

From 2010 to 2016, Google launched its own Android tablets and smartphones with the Nexus product range in cooperation with hardware partners. The partners took over the development of the devices with Google, while the software came from Google, without manufacturer attachments for the surface. This made it possible to offer devices with the latest Android updates. In October 2016, the Nexus product line was replaced by the successor Pixel line. These are developed by Google alone and a hardware partner takes over the production.

In addition to Android, which is optimized for phones, Google is also releasing adapted Android versions for televisions - in the form of Android TV , for watches and smartwatches (Android Wear - since March 16, 2018: Wear OS ), cars ( Android Auto ) and small networked devices (Android Things).

On August 22, 2019, Google announced that it would introduce a slightly modified logo with Android 10. Furthermore, name additions should be dispensed with in the future.

Interface and operation


Recently (since Android 10 ) users control Android by means of gesture control, i.e. by swiping from the bottom or side of the screen to go back or to the start screen.


Another type of control is with various navigation buttons. With newer devices (status: 2015) these consist of "back" (goes to the previous activity), "home" (opens the start screen) and "last applications" (allows you to close or switch back and forth between apps running at the same time ). On older devices the function of is multitasking - buttons by holding down the Home button to get to. The multitasking button is an option button there, which is also displayed on newer devices if required. Before Android 4.0 and with individual manufacturers, there was also a “menu” or “search”. For a long time, Samsung relied on the menu button instead of the multitasking button in its devices and exchanged this position for the back button. The button recommended by Google is only used in newer models. Since Android 7, the screen is shared by long pressing the "Recent Applications" button and two apps can be used at the same time.

A distinction is made between software and hardware keys. The former are on the display, the latter as physical buttons on the device itself. The advantage of virtual buttons is that they can be rotated or hidden if necessary. The full screen mode only works from version 4.4. Before this, it is only possible to hide the navigation bar when viewing photos and videos.

Home screen

Samsung S8 Duos with Android 7.0 operating system and custom home screen

The home screen is primarily used to start apps. This is where the English term “launcher” comes from. It consists of at least one page, but depending on the device, additional pages with any elements can be added. In contrast to Apple's iOS , not all app shortcuts are necessarily on one of the pages of the start screen. The overview of all installed apps can be opened with a tab up to Android 1.6. Starting with Android 2.2, an alphabetically sorted list of all apps opens through the app drawer. In the standard setting, this is located directly in the four main applications in the app dock, which is usually visible on all pages and was also introduced with version 2.2. A Google search bar is displayed at the top, which is also started by Google simply by saying the words "Ok Google" and the voice input is activated. Links (to apps, bookmarks, contacts) or widgets can be stored in a grid between the dock and the search bar (a separate line for the search input field) . These are usually somewhat larger displays of general data, e.g. B. Weather, date and time, appointments or even a calculator. Certain app information is clearly presented via widgets. For example, the standard music app shows information about the media file currently running with a reduced playback menu.

The adaptability is a great advantage of Android and plays a particularly important role on the start screen as a start and overview view. Alternative apps with more settings or a different operating concept can be installed. When you press the home button, you can select which of the apps should be used as the standard application for the start screen. Other parts of the system can also be replaced, the keyboard or the standard browser.

Notification bar

Android 10 status bar with gray icons
Notification center of Android 10

Another feature of the operating system is the notification bar at the top of the screen, which can be opened with a gesture from the very top to the bottom. Each app can create a notification for certain events, e.g. B. for a new e-mail , an appointment, a download process, an SMS or a newly installed app. If the bar is closed, users will see a suitable icon for each notification in the top left. The right side also provides information mainly with symbols about Bluetooth connection, ringing mode, WLAN connection, field strength and data connection or flight mode , battery level and time (from left to right). Notifications can be permanent; then they cannot be removed with a gesture as usual, but disappear on their own if a certain condition is no longer met or a process is completed (e.g. the notification " USB - Debugging " when connected to a PC or a download information). There are also expandable notifications that can be dragged down to display additional buttons, such as “Reply”, “Forward” or “Delete” an email, or a larger cover, the album name and a rewind button in the audio playback.

Quick settings

There are three ways to open the "Quick Settings": With the bar closed, simply by a gesture with two fingers from top to bottom and in open mode (from version 5.0) either by swiping down again or by tapping on the top status bar (except for the date). The settings menu includes a brightness control and on / off switch for WiFi, Bluetooth, color inversion of the screen, field strength, flight mode, automatic screen rotation , flashlight (using the LED flash), location, screen transfer and mobile WiFi hotspot . A long press takes you to the relevant section of the system settings. Some options still show a small menu when typing, so users can still find out the current mobile data consumption and its limit by pressing the field strength and can also deactivate the mobile data immediately. With WLAN and Bluetooth (from version 5.1) the connected network or device can still be selected.

Manufacturer-specific attachments

In the early days of Android, the system still lacked functions that the smartphone manufacturers added with their own additions (so-called manufacturer attachments). Today the trend is towards pure Android, also known as “ Vanilla Android” or “Stock Android”. The most popular devices are the Pixel devices , which were created by Google in close cooperation with another Android smartphone manufacturer. A big advantage is security, as the devices are provided with security updates every month for at least three years. Google Play editions of existing devices that are delivered with stock Android instead of the manufacturer's interface have a similar status. With these, updates come from the manufacturers themselves, but usually appear quite quickly.

Own essays from smartphone manufacturers such as HTC with HTC Sense , Sony's Xperia UI , Samsung with the One UI , LG UX from LG , MIUI from Xiaomi and the EMUI from Huawei mainly change the design of the surface (sometimes drastically), whereby the fundamental one Structure mostly remains the same.



The structure of Android (before 5.0 Lollipop)

The architecture of Android built initially on the Linux - kernel to 2.6, with Android 4.x a kernel of the 3.x series is used. It is responsible for memory management and process management and represents the interface for playing multimedia and network communication. It also forms the hardware abstraction layer for the rest of the software and provides the device drivers for the system.

Java runtime environment

Other important components are the Android Runtime (ART) runtime environment based on Java technology and the OpenJDK class library .

Up to version 4.4, applications were executed in the Dalvik virtual machine . The class libraries used originally came from the Apache Harmony project, which has since been discontinued, and were based heavily on the Java Standard Edition.

Native libraries

Applications for the Android platform are usually written in Java , but in speed-critical areas they fall back on numerous native libraries written in C or C ++ . In addition to codecs for media playback, this also includes a web browser based on WebKit and, since Android 4.4 Chromium , the SQLite database and a 3D graphics library based on OpenGL .

Development environment

To develop your own programs for Android, Android software development , you need a current Java development tool and the Android SDK. First the source code written in Java is translated with a normal Java compiler and then adapted by a cross assembler for the Dalvik VM. For this reason, programs can in principle be created with any Java development environment.

The finished application must be packed in an .apk package ( English Android Package ), then it can be made available via Google Play, app stores of the device manufacturers, other commercial providers ( e.g. Amazon ) or alternative package sources such as F-Droid . They can also be installed directly on the device using the package manager .

The framework relies on strong modularity. All components of the system are therefore generally equal (with the exception of the virtual machine and the underlying core system) and can be replaced at any time. It is therefore possible, for example, to create your own application for creating short messages or for dialing phone numbers and thus replace the previous application.

Since May 2013, Google has provided its own IDE called Android Studio based on IntelliJ IDEA , which replaced the Android development tools previously developed as an Eclipse plug-in .

Native programs

The SDL library for SDL and native C code offers another way of developing and porting applications beyond Java . Using a small Java-based wrapper code portion, the JNI enables the use of native code. This means that existing SDL applications can be ported to Android relatively easily, such as porting Jagged Alliance 2 .


Since Android does not include the full scope of the GNU libraries by default and does not implement them in accordance with the standards and has its own window system , porting software for classic Linux distributions to Android is difficult.

Graphic interface

Android uses EGL as an interface between the window system and OpenGL ES and OpenVG .


The SafetyNet Api should check the compatibility and security. Checks include whether the bootloader is unlocked, whether the device is rooted and whether Google services are installed; this leads to apps such as B. Pokemon GO , Snapchat and also many banking apps on rooted and on devices with custom ROMs without Google Apps do not work or only partially work.

Availability of sources

Android is free software . The largest part of the platform is under the Apache license - exceptions are the Linux kernel, which is sold under GPL 2 , and the Google Play services together with Google applications preinstalled by most manufacturers whose source code is not available . The source text of version 3, which was written exclusively for tablets and initially only available for selected device manufacturers, was only released by Google when the sources for version 4 were published, which combined the smartphone and tablet surfaces.


Android nougat, oreo, pie

From version 1.5 to 9, all versions had the version number and the English name of a dessert, the first letters of which were in ascending alphabetical order. Since Android 10, the name suffix has been dispensed with again.

version Code name Publication date API
1.0 "Base" September 23, 2008 1
1.1 "Base_1.1" February 9, 2009 2
1.5 " Cupcake " April 27, 2009 3
1.6 " Donut " September 15, 2009 4th
2.0.x / 2.1 " Éclair " October 26, 2009 5, 6, 7
2.2.x " Froyo " ( frozen yogurt ) May 20, 2010 8th
2.3.x " Gingerbread " December 6, 2010 9, 10
3.xx " Honeycomb " February 22, 2011 11, 12, 13
4.0.x " Ice Cream Sandwich " October 18, 2011 14, 15
4.1.x / 4.2.x / 4.3.x " Jelly Bean " July 9, 2012 16, 17, 18
4.4.x " Kitkat " October 31, 2013 19, 20
5.0.x / 5.1.x " Lollipop " November 12, 2014 21, 22
6.0.x " Marshmallow " 5th October 2015 23
7.0.x / 7.1.x " Nougat " 22nd August 2016 24, 25
8.0 / 8.1 " Oreo " August 21, 2017 26, 27
9 " Pie " August 6, 2018 28
10 - / ("Q") 3rd September 2019 29
11 - 30th

For each Android version, the Open Handset Alliance or Google designs an Android mascot with the dessert that goes with the version. From version 2.3 this can be displayed by repeatedly touching the Android version in the system settings.

All versions up to and including version 2.3.x “Gingerbread” were only intended for smartphones, but were also used in navigation and other devices. With version 3, nicknamed "Honeycomb", Google came up with an operating system intended purely for tablets. The separation between the two device classes was abolished with "Ice Cream Sandwich", which is intended from the ground up for both systems.

Since the tablet market grew more and more and Google was releasing “Honeycomb” quite late, some manufacturers brought tablets onto the market that, contrary to Google's recommendations, ran under “Gingerbread”. Conversely, Google wanted to prevent the "Honeycomb" version from being used on smartphones, which is why the source code was published late.

For the first time in history, a preliminary version of Android 5.0 “Lollipop” with the name “L Preview” was announced at Google I / O 2014 . Which dessert "L" stood for was only revealed when the release was finished. This procedure has been applied to all new versions since then. With Android Lollipop 5.0, among other things, an energy-saving mode has been integrated that, among other things, stops background processes, reduces the clock rate of the processor and thus reduces power consumption. ( See also: Green IT ) A possibility was also introduced to treat notifications of certain apps as confidential so that they are only shown censored on the lock screen.

On August 17, 2015, at the same time as the final preview version, "Marshmallow" was announced as the official name for Android 6.0. The final version was released on October 5, 2015. Android Marshmallow 6.0 for the first time gave the option of withdrawing permissions from individual apps without previously having to intervene in the operating system. Under previous versions this was only possible with technical manipulation and a loss of warranty. The battery management introduced in Android 5.0 has been supplemented by a "sleep mode" for applications that is activated as soon as the device's screen is switched off. In the version, both Google's payment service “ Android Pay ” and the acquisition and processing of biometric data have been integrated into the operating system.

Existing software

In May 2015, there were more than 1.5 million apps in Google's “ Google Play ” (formerly “Android Market”) app store . Since 2013, Google Play has had a larger range of apps than the previous market-leading app provider Apple . The SDK also includes a range of applications, including a web browser, the Google Maps map application , SMS, e-mail and address book management, a music program, a camera and gallery application and a set of API demo applications. Developed software can be offered by the developers on Google Play. However, they can only be sold there by those who are based in certain countries. The terms of use include Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Free software makes up about 69 percent.

In addition to Google Play, developers and end users also have access to a number of other markets and platforms for Android software, such as the Amazon Appstore , Yandex.Store or F-Droid ; however, some of the supposedly independent ones refer to Google Play.

Google retains some control over Android software. Only licensed Android distributions are allowed to use Google's own applications ( closed source ) such as Gmail or Google Maps and to access Google Play for other applications. Various tablets use an unlicensed Android 4; "Rooted" devices often use a custom ROM . After flashing the corresponding GApps, they also have authorization to access Google Play and the other GApps of Google Mobile Services (GMS). It is not officially supported to download applications from Google Play on a non-Android system (e.g. a normal PC) in order to then install them on an Android device via USB. However, this is still possible with third-party software such as the Java Raccoon program or the APK Downloader browser add-on , available for Firefox and Chrome . You can download it on an Android device itself, using apps like YalpStore , is possible. However, as with the download with the official app, a Google account is required. Some software manufacturers also offer their applications in alternative app stores or directly as installation files; this can then be downloaded in any way and installed on the Android device.

File management

Starting with version 6 “Marshmallow”, a rudimentary file manager is pre-installed on pure Android, which can be called up via Settings, Storage, Explore . Since Android 4.4 "KitKat" there has also been a media system that can be used to indirectly access the file system, for example if B. a background image is selected or an e-mail attachment is sent; it is still not possible to start this interface directly or to delete, move, copy or rename files.


From version 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) the operating system has a high degree of accessibility . The required software is already installed and can theoretically be activated by a blind person. Android offers the advantage that voice output ( screen reader ) and screen magnification can be used in parallel. Support for braille displays is provided by Android from version 4.1 and the BrailleBack extension.

Root / administrator rights

In contrast to conventional desktop computers , on which users also acquire full administration rights with the purchase, Android devices do not have full administration rights. He cannot remove applications that users do not want, even if these applications are not required for the correct operation of the device. The determination of whether a certain application may be removed is determined by the manufacturer of the mobile device himself or in consultation with the developer of the application (see also section on criticism / control by Google, transfer of private data ). To gain root rights, an extension such as Magisk must be installed.

Spread and Success

Global market shares of smartphone operating systems by number of units according to Gartner (2nd quarter 2017)
operating system percent
Apple iOS
Distribution of the respective supported Android versions (April 2020)
version percent
4.x ( Jelly Bean )
4.4 ( KitKat )
5.x ( lollipop )
6.0 ( marshmallow )
7.x ( nougat )
8.x ( Oreo )
9 ( Pie )

In the first quarter of 2010, the United States sold more Android cell phones than iPhones for the first time . The market share for new devices in the period under review was 28 percent for Google as opposed to 21 percent for Apple. Android has been the leading smartphone operating system for Internet access since July 2014. In September 2013, Sundar Pichai announced that one billion devices had been activated to date. Approximately 1 billion Android devices were sold in 2014. As a smartphone operating system, Android had a global market share of 87.5 percent in the third quarter of 2016, after 84.6 percent in the second quarter of 2014, 79.3 percent in the second quarter of 2013, 68.1 percent in the second quarter of 2012, 52.5 percent Percent in the third quarter of 2011 and 25.5 percent in the third quarter of 2010.

Google's decision to make its operating system available free of charge has made it popular with manufacturers of end devices. However, this decision also resulted in severe fragmentation. According to a study of Android smartphone users carried out by the company Staircase in May 2012, which was carried out over a period of six months, 3997 different devices from a total of 599 manufacturers could be counted. However, the result is somewhat falsified by custom ROMs , i.e. not original operating programs provided by the manufacturer.

Many manufacturers, especially in China, use an unlicensed version of Android that does not include Google services such as Google Maps, the Google Play Store and Gmail. According to estimates by analysts, this affects between 23% and 41% of all Android devices sold.


Since the sources of Android are freely available and there are no legal reasons against it, it can be relatively easily ported to almost any sufficiently powerful computer . If a platform is supported by the Linux kernel , there is a good chance that Android porting will succeed. There are ports for smartphones that were originally shipped with a different operating system. Other projects port Android to a standard desktop computer. Many of these porting projects are driven by a global developer community. The Open Handset Alliance supports these projects with its own porting instructions.

Porting for other smartphones

Porting for smartphones with Windows Mobile 6.1 or 6.5, especially for older HTC devices. XDAndroid can replace Windows Mobile, alternatively you can install a dual boot configuration. The new operating system is loaded onto the device using a memory card or booted from there .
Android port for Samsung Omnia devices with insufficient hardware support. Android starts from an SD card and does not change anything on the Omnia. .
There have been reports of porting from Android to the Apple iPhone . Some source codes were published. All of these developments remained in a very early experimental stage of development.
Porting for Samsung Jet (S8000)
Porting from Android to the Samsung Jet ("Jetdroid").
Open moko
Porting for the free smartphone Openmoko from the manufacturer of the same name. The aim is to develop free and open smartphones (hardware and software).
Porting for Nokia Internet Tablets and the Nokia N900 smartphone, which natively  uses Maemo 5. The Nokia N9 has been supported since March 2012. The N9 runs natively with MeeGo . It is dual-bootable.
Porting for the Samsung Wave S8500 and Wave S8530 smartphone, which is actually operated with bada . Current project status: Pre-Alpha.
Android Player
Porting from RIM to the in-house Playbook  OS 2 and the new version of the Blackberry  BB10. The Dalvik VM Runtime has been ported to the POSIX -compatible QNX operating system . APIs of Android version 2.3.3 are available. From OS 2.1, access to the camera and “Android In-app Billing ” are possible. Each Android application is displayed in a separate window.

Ports for the x86 / AMD64 platform

  • Android-x86: Porting the Android operating system to PC, notebook and netbook; originally the focus of development was on the Asus Eee PC ; the stable version (Android-x86-6.0-R3) from April 24, 2017 is available as a USB and CD-ROM image; the project operates a Git server on which all forks of the (ported) operating system code are stored
  • BlueStacks App Player: enables Android applications to run on Windows and OS X;
  • Andy: enables running and developing Android applications on Windows and OS X;
  • AndroVM: Virtual machine for Android 4.1.1
  • LiveAndroid: Porting the mobile phone operating system to x86-compatible PCs or netbooks ; as live CD (version 0.3) available since August 21, 2009; not further developed since September 2009;
  • Jar of Beans: JellyBean emulator of the Nexus ROMs (Android 4.1.1);
  • WindowsAndroid: Porting Android 4.0.3 to Windows PCs.
  • AMIDuOS: Virtual machine based on Android Jelly Bean or Lollipop from the hardware and software manufacturer American Megatrends ; runs under Windows 7, 8 and 10.
  • NoxPlayer: Android emulator with which you can run Android applications on PC and MAC.
  • MemuPlay: Android emulator, currently up to Android 7.1 (64 bit)
  • Android Studio: allows you to run and develop Android applications on Windows, OS X, Linux and Chrome OS.

Well-known derivatives

derivative Remarks
Aliyun OS Developed by AliCloud, a subsidiary of the Chinese Alibaba Group .
Android Open Kang Project ( AOKP ) Based on Android 4
Ark OS / Hongmeng OS Huawei porting for smartphones, smart TVs, desktop computers and cars due to the trade war with the US government.
CyanogenMod / LineageOS Was developed by employees of Cyanogen Inc. and a developer community . Since 2017 it has been continued as LineageOS by the developer community.
Fire OS Android derivative from Amazon for Kindle Fire devices, Fire Phones and Fire TV .
Nokia X platform Nokia X was an Android porting Nokia for the Nokia Asha series. Since Microsoft took over Nokia, HMD Global acquired the mobile phone division, but uses KaiOS . Jolla , founded by former Nokia employees, launched SailfishOS as the successor to Nokia's MeeGo with mobile phones in India.
ColorOS Oppo Electronics porting.
CopperheadOS Android version based on AOSP with a focus on security for Nexus and Pixel cell phones.
HongMeng OS / Ark OS Huawei porting for smartphones, smart TVs, desktop computers and cars due to the trade war with the US government.
MIUI Porting of the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi
OmniROM Community-oriented CyanogenMod successor.
OxygenOS Android port from the manufacturer OnePlus .
Paranoid Android The hybrid mode is special.
Replicant This variant only uses free software .
SlimRom Porting with detailed setting options of the GUI.
Shift OS Variant of Shift GmbH for Shiftphones based on Android 8.0


Remote access to devices

If the Google Apps are installed, Google has the option of deleting and installing software without asking users beforehand. Any permanent connections to Google servers could allow remote access to delete and install applications without any influence, but with the knowledge of the user (status message). If Google deletes paid software, the customer receives the purchase price back. In June 2010, Google deleted applications on users' end devices by remote access for the first time after security experts smuggled malware into what was then the Android Market to draw attention to missing controls. In addition, Google can also use the Google Play services to remotely change device settings without the consent of the user, which was shown by inadvertently activating the energy-saving mode on some phones by Google.

Control by Google

Because of Google's control over the Android brand and the operating system, device manufacturers are dependent on cooperation with Google. Google is said to have used this control in the past to prevent device manufacturers from using Skyhook Wireless' localization services instead of Google's own and to prevent Acer from presenting devices with the competing Aliyun operating system .

Transmission of private data

Many applications require access to private data such as contacts, location and telephone number and can also transmit this. Since 2015 (Android 6.0) you can refuse or grant access rights in various categories. This decision can also be changed individually later. For this, Android shows a list of all rights that an app requests, or alternatively an overview of all apps that request a specific right. Apps have to be prepared for the fact that the user does not grant them all rights and still have to provide the rest of the functionality. Custom ROMs such as B. LineageOS (formerly CyanogenMod ) have offered more extensive data protection management for a long time.

In addition, there are also auxiliary programs (“tools”) against the numerous apps that request significantly more authorizations and transmit data than would be necessary for their function. These provide the apps with false data and thus make them believe that they have received the access rights. To do this, however, they need root rights .

When purchasing, pre-installed apps can be deactivated so that they are no longer active in the system. Pre-installed apps that have no immediate use (and were usually installed by the smartphone manufacturer) are known as bloatware .

Applications with internet access authorization can upload files from the SD card to the internet. A large number of games request the “Find accounts on the device” right. With this right z. B. read the email address of the Google account and can request personal information via Google+ . Saved e-mail addresses, Facebook and Twitter accounts can also be determined. The “Retrieve WLAN connections” right has the same effect as access to the location via GPS, as Google, among other things, stores the SSIDs in freely queryable geodatabases.

All installed apps can theoretically access the clipboard and transfer the data stored there to the Internet.

In August 2018, the publishing organization “Digital Content Next” published a study according to which a stationary Android smartphone with a Chrome browser running in the background sent location information to Google around 340 times within 24 hours. In addition, Google should be able to link anonymously collected information with personal user data, according to the lead professor Douglas Schmidt from Vanderbilt University .


With its ever increasing prevalence, Android is becoming more and more interesting for malware authors. In particular, the possibility of installing unchecked third-party apps (this requires the consent of the user) increases the risk. Google has been checking all apps in the Play Store automatically since the beginning of 2012. Therefore, if you only install apps from there, you are relatively safe; however, there are also known cases of malware spread via the Play Store. Sandboxing , which is standard in Android, offers additional security : All apps run separately in a virtual machine . Requested permissions for the apps are displayed and require the consent of the user.

Various security software providers provide security apps with more or less good results. It is also these manufacturers who often loudly and effectively draw attention to a “threat” in order to market their products. Another type of threat posed by the short-range radio NFC present in the latest devices was demonstrated by a security specialist at the Black Hat 2012 hacker conference .

Availability of current versions for existing devices

Frequency of the different Android versions. All versions older than 4.0 have almost disappeared.

Android smartphones are often sold with an older version of the operating system. Manufacturers usually have no contractual obligation to deliver the latest versions to customers. The seller, not the manufacturer, must ensure that the devices operate correctly in the delivery state. It is therefore up to the manufacturer whether or not to put the effort into delivering updates. The fact that many mobile phones receive the latest Android versions late or not at all is sharply criticized by customers and consumer advocates, as apps for bank and health insurance applications require secure device technology.

At the Google I / O developer conference in May 2011, Google emphasized that many manufacturers would provide the latest Android version for at least 18 months for every new device. However, shortly afterwards there were reports that manufacturers were breaking this voluntary commitment. At the Google I / O conference in June 2012, Google published a platform development kit that enables manufacturers to port new Android versions to their hardware at an early stage.

Since the source texts of Android and the Linux kernel are published, manufacturer-independent developer groups can and may also provide “unofficial” Android ports as custom ROMs. The developers' motivation and the availability of hardware-related software components and documentation, especially drivers , determine which devices benefit from this .

Google's Nexus and Pixel series devices receive Android updates promptly over 18 months. In the course of the Stagefright security gap , Google announced in August 2015 that Nexus devices will in future receive monthly security updates for three years after the device has been released, regardless of updates to the Android platform, which are to be distributed for around two years.


For Android smartphones with Qualcomm - chip set can be extracted with the help of information and the force method brute crack the password used, and thus cut short the full device encryption. The reason is that the key generation process is determined by software. From Android 7 or mandatory from Android 10, however, the so-called FBE (file-based encryption) must be used, which eliminates this security gap.

Patent litigation

Google is accused of infringing a large number of other companies' patents with Android. As a result, there have been a number of legal disputes with device manufacturers around the world since 2009. Microsoft has signed license agreements with the three contract manufacturers Quanta , Wistron and Compal as well as the manufacturers Samsung , HTC , Acer , ViewSonic , Onkyo , General Dynamics , Itronix and Velocity Micro, and is estimated to earn between 3 and 12.50 US dollars per Android sold Device, totaling approximately $ 500 million in fiscal 2012.

In addition, Google was sued by Oracle in August 2010 because Android infringed the patent and trademark rights of Java . Google won the legal dispute in the first instance. However, the appeals court ruled Oracle and found that copyrights to Java APIs had been violated. A pending retrial will decide on the further progress .

See also


Web links

Wikibooks: Google's Android  - learning and teaching materials
Commons : Android  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Unofficial apk downloader for the Google Play Store

.NET compiler for Android

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Licenses. Open Handset Alliance, accessed on August 21, 2016 (English): “The preferred license for the Android Open Source Project is the Apache Software License, 2.0. […] Why Apache Software License? [...] For userspace (that is, non-kernel) software, we do in fact prefer ASL2.0 (and similar licenses like BSD, MIT, etc.) over other licenses such as LGPL. Android is about freedom and choice. The purpose of Android is to promote openness in the mobile world, but we don't believe it's possible to predict or dictate all the uses to which people will want to put our software. So, while we encourage everyone to make devices that are open and modifiable, we don't believe it is our place to force them to do so. Using LGPL libraries would often force them to do so. "
  2. Announcing the Android 1.0 SDK, release September 1, 23, 2008, accessed on August 14, 2018 .
  3. Arndt Ohler: Android vs. Windows: Google attacks Microsoft. In: . February 23, 2009. Retrieved February 23, 2009 .
  4. a b c Bill Anderson: Android is Just Another Distribution of Linux. Android News for Costa Rica, May 13, 2014, accessed on September 12, 2014 (English): “Android is not a GNU / Linux distribution, but it is a distribution of Linux. More specifically, it is a distribution of embedded Linux that uses many NetBSD utilities. "
  5. Christoph H. Hochstätter: Android architecture: How much Linux is there in Google's OS? , May 18, 2011, accessed on August 21, 2016.
    Anika Kehrer: How much Linux is there in Android? Linux-Magazin , November 10, 2009, accessed August 21, 2016.
  6. ^ Nicolas La Rocco: Lawsuit: Google earns $ 31 billion with Android. In: ComputerBase. January 22, 2016, accessed on January 22, 2016 (discovered in the patent dispute between Oracle and Google ).
  7. Google Buys Android for Its Mobile Arsenal. (No longer available online.) Bloomberg LP , August 17, 2005, archived from the original on October 21, 2011 ; accessed on January 4, 2010 (English).
  8. Ingo Pakalski: Andy Rubin: Android was originally intended for digital cameras. , April 17, 2013, accessed on August 22, 2016.
  9. ^ Marguerite Reardon: Google unveils cell phone software and alliance. CNET , November 5, 2007, accessed August 22, 2016 .
  10. Android is now available as open source. (No longer available online.) Android Open Source Project, October 21, 2008, archived from the original on February 28, 2009 ; accessed on August 22, 2016 (English).
  11. An Update to Nexus Devices. August 5, 2015, accessed March 19, 2017 .
  12. Samsung Announces an Android Security Update Process to Ensure Timely Protection from Security Vulnerabilities. August 5, 2015, accessed March 19, 2017 .
  13. StageFright: Samsung and Nexus devices receive monthly security updates. August 5, 2015, accessed March 19, 2017 .
  14. a b c A pop of color and more: updates to Android's brand. August 22, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2019 .
  15. How to change Android Q navigation gestures. In: Android Result. September 4, 2019, accessed March 6, 2020 (American English).
  16. Android: Set, change and delete homescreen. In: , accessed on February 15, 201.6
  17. The evolution of Android in pictures. In: , accessed on February 21, 2016.
  18. What is android. (No longer available online.) Android Developers July 21, 2011, archived from the original on August 30, 2011 ; accessed on July 27, 2011 (English).
  20. ^ Scott Delap: Google's Android SDK Bypasses Java ME in Favor of Java Lite and Apache Harmony. InfoQ, November 12, 2007, accessed on August 23, 2018 .
  21. Simple DirectMedia Layer for Android. (No longer available online.), August 12, 2012, archived from the original on October 14, 2012 ; Retrieved on August 23, 2018 (English): "How the port works, - Android applications are Java-based, optionally with parts written in C, - As SDL apps are C-based, we use a small Java shim that uses JNI to talk to the SDL library, - This means that your application C code must be placed inside an android Java project, along with some C support code that communicates with Java, - This eventually produces a standard Android .apk package "
  22. Jagged Alliance 2 Android Stracciatella Port RC2 Release - please test. (No longer available online.) Bear's Pit Forum, October 3, 2011, archived from the original on October 23, 2012 ; accessed on August 23, 2016 .
  23. Ryan Paul: Dream (sheep ++): A developer's introduction to Google Android. Ars Technica , February 23, 2009, accessed on August 23, 2016 (English): “The problem with Google's approach is that it makes Android an island. The highly insular nature of the platform prevents Android users and developers from taking advantage of the rich ecosystem of existing third-party Linux applications. Android doesn't officially support native C programs at all, so it won't be possible to port your favorite GTK + or Qt applications to Android. "
  24. SafetyNet Attestation API. Accessed February 2, 2019 .
  25. SafetyNet: Google's tamper detection for Android John Kozyrakis ~ blog. Retrieved February 2, 2019 (American English).
  26. Trapped in Google's SafetyNet: What modders need to consider. Retrieved February 2, 2019 .
  27. Alexander Neumann: Google provides source code for Android 4.0. Heise online , November 15, 2011, accessed on August 23, 2016 .
  28. a b Jamal Eason: Develop a sweet spot for Marshmallow: Official Android 6.0 SDK & Final M Preview. Android Developers Blog, August 17, 2015, accessed August 23, 2016 .
  29. Introducing #AndroidNougat. Android account on Twitter, June 30, 2016, accessed on August 23, 2016 (English).
  31. Certain manufacturers use the previous consecutive letter designation (such as Samsung: Note on the Android Q update schedule )
  32. Android 10: Google puts an end to candy in the name. August 22, 2019, accessed on August 22, 2019 (German).
  33. [1]
  34. Patrick Bellmer: "Honeycomb" source code is not published for the time being. ComputerBase , March 25, 2011, accessed August 23, 2016.
  35. Android 5.0, Lollipop: Notifications. Adroid website, accessed August 23, 2016.
  36. Chris Welch: Android 6.0 Marshmallow is now available for Google's Nexus devices. The Verge , October 5, 2015, accessed August 23, 2016 .
  37. Andreas Floemer: Android 6.0 Marshmallow: Release, Features, Update - Google's next treat. GIGA , accessed on 23 August 2016 (summary of the most important new features).
  38. Android's Google Play beats App Store with over 1 million apps, now officially largest. In: , July 24, 2013, accessed August 23, 2016.
  39. Supported locations for merchants. (No longer available online.) Google, archived from the original on August 29, 2010 ; accessed on June 27, 2012 (English).
  40. ^ Distribution of free and paid apps., accessed August 23, 2016 .
  41. Raccoon - APK downloader. Onyxbits, accessed August 23, 2016.
  42. Official APK Downloader v2 - Download APK files from Google Play Store to PC. In: code kiếm cơm. Accessed August 23, 2016.
  43. Sergey Yeriomin: YalpStore: Download apks from Google Play Store. January 27, 2018, accessed January 28, 2018 .
  44. Google BrailleBack. Google Play, accessed August 23, 2016.
  45. What is Magisk? In: xda-developers. Retrieved May 16, 2020 (American English).
  46. Rob van der Meulen & Amy Ann Forni: Gartner: Android increases global market share to 87.7 percent. November 2, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2017 .
  47. Android distribution: Google is finally giving numbers again., accessed on April 12, 2020 .
  48. Android overtakes the iPhone in the USA. Der Standard , May 11, 2010.
  49. Franziska Weiss: Smartphone market research sees Android ahead of iPhone - Apple sees it differently. Engadget , May 12, 2010, accessed August 23, 2016 .
  50. Tobias Költzsch: Smartphones: Android overtakes iOS with active users. , August 5, 2014, accessed on August 23, 2016.
  51. Sundar Pichai: 1 billion Android device activations. Google Plus, September 3, 2013, accessed August 23, 2016.
  52. Ingrid Lunden: Android Breaks 1B Mark For 2014, 81% Of All 1.3B Smartphones Shipped. TechCrunch , January 29, 2015, accessed August 23, 2016 .
  53. creative: Android increases market share to almost 88 percent -. In: November 4, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2017 .
  54. Tobias Költzsch: Android runs on almost 85 percent of all smartphones. In: . August 1, 2014, accessed August 2, 2014 .
  55. Volker Briegleb: Market researcher: Windows Phone explodes. Heise online , August 7, 2013, accessed on August 21, 2016.
  56. Volker Briegleb: Market researcher: Over 100 million androids delivered. Heise online , August 3, 2012, accessed on August 21, 2016.
  57. Jörg Wirtgen: Smartphones: Android overtakes Symbian, Apple is losing market share. Heise Open Source , January 31, 2011, accessed on August 21, 2016 .
  58. Andreas Floemer: 3,997 smartphone models: This is how fragmented the Android market is. t3n , May 16, 2012, accessed May 17, 2012.
  59. ^ A b Charles Arthur: China drives smartphone growth - and low prices - as Android dominates. (No longer available online.) The Guardian , Nov. 14, 2013, archived from the original on Nov. 25, 2013 ; accessed on August 23, 2016 .
  60. a b Ina Fried: After Google Pressure, Samsung Will Dial Back Android Tweaks, Homegrown Apps. Recode , January 29, 2014, accessed August 23, 2016.
  61. 2Q 2014 Smartphone Results: Forked Android AOSP Grows 20% Quarter-on-quarter, Driven by Chinese Domination. ABI Research, August 4, 2014, accessed August 5, 2014.
  62. Android Platform Developer's Guide. (No longer available online.) Open Handset Alliance, archived from the original on November 10, 2010 ; Retrieved on October 4, 2011 (English, page was out of date and has therefore been deleted.): "This guide provides an under-the-hood introduction to the Android platform, and is designed for platform developers and manufacturers building Android-powered devices"
  63. Lutz Labs: Exchange engine: Install Android on Windows Mobile smartphones. c't 13/2010, June 5, 2010, p. 94.
  64. XDANDROID project. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on June 21, 2010 ; accessed on August 25, 2016 .
  65. Andromnia. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on December 25, 2010 ; accessed on August 25, 2016 .
  66. Mirko Dölle: Android runs on the iPhone. Heise open , April 22, 2010, accessed on August 25, 2016.
  67. Android running on iPhone! linuxoniphone, April 21, 2010, accessed August 25, 2016.
  68. website iDroid Projects. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on March 10, 2013 ; accessed on August 25, 2016 .
  69. jetdroid - Porting Android to the Samsung Jét (GT-S800x) phone. Google Code, accessed August 26, 2016 .
  70. Android., accessed on August 26, 2016 .
  71. Android 4.0.3 (ICS) for Nokia N9. Alpha release # 1 “Project Mayhem”. (No longer available online.) NITDroid Development Forum, archived from the original on August 21, 2014 ; accessed on August 26, 2016 .
  72. Project overview for badadroid on Google Code
  73. Runtime for Android apps - BlackBerry Developer. Android Runtime , accessed August 25, 2016.
  74. Android version for notebooks is ready Heise online, 6.0-r1, on September 18, 2016.
  75. The Best Android Emulator For PC & Mac | Andy Android emulator. Retrieved July 24, 2017 .
  76. live android. Google Code, accessed August 25, 2016.
  77. Nox App Player_The best Android emulator in the world. Retrieved November 4, 2018 .
  78. MEmu - The fastest free Android emulator for PC as your best choice. Retrieved January 15, 2020 .
  79. AOKP website , accessed on August 25, 2016 (English).
  80. Celebrate this Christmas with KitKat. AOKP , December 25, 2013, accessed on August 25, 2016.
  81. HongMeng OS: First information on Huawei's new operating system & Android competitors , accessed on May 21, 2019.
  82. About. ( Memento from December 22, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Cyanogen Inc., accessed on August 25, 2016 (English): “This whole package by now is not wholly developed by CyanogenMod developers alone, but is a collaborative effort between them and independent developers around the world. "
  83. Continuation of CyanogenMod as LineageOS
  84. Publish to Fire OS 5. Amazon, accessed on August 25, 2016 (English).
  85. Abhinaya Prabhu: Jolla to enter 4G feature phone market in India with Sailfish OS. April 3, 2018, accessed May 8, 2019 .
  86. ColorOS page , accessed on August 25, 2016 (English).
  87. HongMeng OS: First information on Huawei's new operating system & Android competitors , accessed on May 21, 2019.
  88. MIUI website. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on June 23, 2016 ; accessed on August 26, 2016 .
  89. About. OmniRom, accessed on August 25, 2016 (English): “It's another option for the billion Android users out there.”
    Stefan Kirchner: OmniROM wants to succeed CyanogenMod. android tv, October 14, 2013, accessed August 26, 2016 .
  90. Replicant website , accessed August 25, 2016.
  91. Hans-Peter Schüler: Google's influence on Android cell phones. Heise online , June 26, 2010, accessed on August 25, 2016.
  92. Daniel Bachfeld: Google is remotely deleting Android apps on smartphones. In: Heise online . June 25, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  93. Jan-Keno Janssen: Google accidentally switches Android users to energy-saving mode. In: Heise online. September 15, 2018, accessed October 18, 2018 .
  94. ^ Steve Lohr: Suit Opens a Window Into Google. The New York Times , May 8, 2011, accessed September 19, 2012 . Florian Müller: Skyhook vs. Google: a defense of open source principles? In: February 18, 2011, accessed September 16, 2012 .
  95. Melanie Lee, David Lin, Clare Jim, David Holmes: Acer cancels smartphone launch with Alibaba at last minute. Reuters , September 13, 2012, accessed September 16, 2012 .
  96. Jürgen Schmidt, Patrick Kolla-ten Venne, Ronald Eikenberg: Self-service shop smartphone: Apps unabashedly access personal data. c't , March 10, 2012, accessed on August 26, 2016.
    Martin Holland: AppGuard: Control of unwanted app authorizations under Android. Heise online , 5./6. July 2012, accessed August 26, 2016.
  97. Simone Vintz, Peter Knaak: Data protection in apps: which apps spy on your data. Stiftung Warentest , May 31, 2012, accessed on August 26, 2016.
  98. Withdraw rights from Android apps with XPrivacy. Android user, September 26, 2013, accessed August 26, 2016.
  99. Ryan Whitwam: The horror: Android allows apps access to your pictures. ExtremeTech , March 5, 2012, accessed August 26, 2016.
  100. Andreas Proschofsky: Android 10 under the microscope: Google is taking control .
  101. Martin Holland: Study: Android transmits location hundreds of times a day to Google. In: Heise online . 22nd August 2018 . Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  102. Alex Savitsky: Number of the Week: 10 million malicious Android apps. Kaspersky Lab blog, February 6, 2014, accessed August 26, 2016.
  103. Hiroshi Lockheimer: Android and Security. Google Mobile Blog, February 2, 2012, accessed August 26, 2016.
  104. Michael Heinl: Android Security. Thesis, June 26, 2015, accessed on November 24, 2016.
  105. Jürgen Schmidt: The alleged flood of Trojans on Android. Heise Security , August 16, 2012, accessed August 26, 2016.
  106. Bernd Kling: Researcher demonstrates attack on Android smartphones via NFC. ITespresso , July 27, 2012, accessed August 26, 2016.
  107. ^ A b Benjamin Schischka: Revealed: The Android Update Scandal. PC-Welt , November 28, 2011, accessed May 7, 2012.
  108. Markus Eckstein: Smartphone updates in comparison. , August 17, 2011, accessed on May 7, 2012.
  109. ^ MG Siegler: Google's New Partner Android Update Initiative: Very Promising - Maybe; We'll see. TechCrunch , May 10, 2011, accessed May 7, 2012.
  110. Steve Kovach: How Samsung Just Screwed Over About 10 Million Of Its Android Phone Customers. ( Memento of January 21, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) In: , December 23, 2011, accessed on May 7, 2012 (English).
  111. Christian Wölbert: Google wants to defuse the Android update problem. Heise online , June 28, 2012, accessed on August 26, 2016.
  112. Kit-Kat Update for other devices. (No longer available online.) Google Support / FAQ, 2013, archived from the original on November 9, 2013 ; accessed on August 26, 2016 : "Galaxy Nexus, which first launched two years ago, falls outside of the 18-month update window when Google and others traditionally update devices"
  113. An Update to Nexus Devices. Official Android blog, August 5, 2015, accessed August 26, 2016.
  114. Hauke ​​Gierow: Qualcomm chips: Android device encryption is vulnerable. , July 4, 2016, accessed on August 26, 2016.
    Jürgen Schmidt: Big blow for Android encryption. heise Security , July 4, 2016, accessed on August 26, 2016.
  115. File-Based Encryption. Retrieved May 15, 2020 .
  116. Oliver Diedrich: Microsoft: Half the Android market pays us. Heise online , October 24, 2011, accessed on August 22, 2016.
    Jens Ihlenfeld: Android: Microsoft mocks Google. , July 6, 2011, accessed on December 18, 2011.
    Jörg Wirtgen: Report: Microsoft earns almost half a billion on Android. Heise online , September 29, 2011, accessed December 18, 2011.
  117. Florian Müller : Oracle sues Google, says Android infringes seven Java patents (plus unspecified copyrights). FOSSPatents, August 13, 2010, accessed August 22, 2016.
  118. Oracle is subject to Google. (No longer available online.) Dpa article in Financial Times Deutschland , June 1, 2012, archived from the original on June 2, 2012 ; accessed on August 22, 2016 (English).
  119. Katharina Degenmann: Oracle vs. Google: The Supreme Court decides on the dispute over Java APIs JAXEnter , November 22, 2019, accessed on June 25, 2020.