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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
Android Operating System
2.1.
Architecture of Android OS
2.2.
1. Applications
2.3.
2. Application Framework
2.4.
3. Application runtime
2.5.
4. Platform Libraries
2.6.
5. Linux Kernel
3.
Features of Android Operating System
3.1.
1. Near Field Communication
3.2.
2. Infrared Transmission
3.3.
3. Wireless App Downloads
3.4.
4. Storage and Battery Swap
3.5.
5. Custom Home Screens
3.6.
6. Widgets
3.7.
7. Custom ROMs
3.8.
8. Automation
4.
Android Emulator
5.
Advantages of Android Operating System
6.
Disadvantages of Android Operating System
7.
Frequently Asked Questions
7.1.
Q. What operating systems does Android use?
7.2.
Q. What is unique about the Android operating system?
7.3.
Q. Why is Android the best operating system?
7.4.
Q. Is Android operating system hardware or software?
8.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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Android Operating System

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Introduction

An operating system is a software program that manages and operates computing devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers, supercomputers, web servers, cars, network towers, smartwatches, etc. The operating system removes the need to understand coding languages to interact with computing devices. A graphical user interface (GUI) layer connects the user and the computer hardware. Moreover, the operating system manages a computer's software and controls program execution.

Android Operating System

In this article, we shall be discussing the Android Operating System, so let's move to the topic.

(Also see, Types of Operating Systems, Multiprogramming vs Multitasking)

Android Operating System

Google's Android operating system is a mobile operating system designed primarily for touchscreen devices, cell phones, and tablets. Its design enables users to manipulate mobile devices implicitly, with finger movements that simulate typical motions like pinching, swiping, and tapping.

It is open-source and free software. The source code is provided by the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which is primarily certified under the Apache License. However, most Android devices come pre-installed with additional software, mainly Google Mobile Services (GMS), including fundamental apps like Google Chrome, the digital distribution platform Google Play, and the associated Google Play Services development platform.

Also Read, FCFS Scheduling Algorithm

Architecture of Android OS

The Android architecture contains a variety of components to fulfill the demands of any android device. Android software includes Linux Kernel with multiple C/C++ libraries usable via application framework services.

Among all the components, the Linux Kernel provides the primary operating system functions to the Smartphone, while the Dalvik Virtual Machine (DVM) provides a platform for running an Android application. An android operating system is a collection of software components divided into five sections and five main layers.

1. Applications

The topmost layer of the Android architecture is an application. This layer will contain pre-installed applications such as the camera, gallery, home, contacts, and so on, and third-party applications can be downloaded from the play store such as games, chat applications, etc. It uses the courses and benefits of the application framework to run within the Android run time.

2. Application Framework

The Application Framework contains several functional classes for developing Android applications. It provides a general abstraction for hardware access and aids in managing the user interface with application resources. In general, it provides services through which we can create a specific class to make that valuable class for building applications.

3. Application runtime

The Dalvik virtual machine and core libraries are part of the Android Runtime environment (DVM). It serves as a foundation for the application framework, and, with the help of the core libraries, it powers our application. Dalvik Virtual Machine (DVM), like the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), is a register-based simulated machine designed and optimized for Android to ensure that multiple instances can run simultaneously. The Linux kernel layer handles threading and low-level memory management. The core libraries allow us to create Android apps using standard JAVA or Kotlin programming languages.

4. Platform Libraries

To support Android development, the System Libraries include various C/C++ core library functions and Java-based library resources such as Media, Graphics, Surface Manager, OpenGL, and others. By utilizing these Platform Libraries, developers can leverage pre-existing code and resources, saving time and effort in creating Android applications.

5. Linux Kernel

The Linux Kernel is the brains behind Android. It manages all available drivers during runtime, such as display, camera, Bluetooth, audio, memory, etc. The Linux Kernel will act as a layer of abstraction between the device hardware and the other components of the Android architecture. It is in charge of memory, power, and device management, among other things. One of the key roles of the Linux Kernel in the Android architecture is to provide a layer of abstraction between the hardware and the higher-level components of the system. It acts as an intermediary, shielding the upper layers of the software stack from the complexities of hardware-specific operations.

FCFS Scheduling

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Features of Android Operating System

1. Near Field Communication

Most Android devices support NFC, enabling electronic systems to interact over short distances. The main aim here is to create a payment option that is more convenient than carrying credit cards or cash. While the market didn't have as many experts predicted, an alternative in the form of Bluetooth Low Energy may be in the works (BLE).

2. Infrared Transmission

The Android operating system includes an infrared transmitter that lets you utilize your phone or tablet as a remote control.

3. Wireless App Downloads

Meanwhile, using the Android Market or third-party options such as AppBrain allows you to download apps on your PC and automatically sync them to your Droid without any obstruction.

4. Storage and Battery Swap

Android phones have exceptional hardware capabilities as well. Google's operating system allows you to remove and upgrade your battery or replace one that no longer holds a charge. Moreover, Android phones include SD card slots for expandable storage.

5. Custom Home Screens

It is possible to hack certain phones to personalize the home screen. Android includes this feature from the start. You install a third-party app launcher such as Nova, Apex, or Slide, which allows you to add gestures, new shortcuts, and even performance improvements for older-model devices.

6. Widgets

Apps are helpful, but sometimes you want information at a glance rather than opening an app and waiting for it to load. Android widgets allow you to display almost any feature you wish to the right on your home screen, such as weather apps, music widgets, or productivity tools that remind you of upcoming meetings or approaching deadlines.

7. Custom ROMs

This is significant. Because the Android operating system is open-source, the developers can modify it and create their versions, which users can download and install instead of the stock OS. Some are packed with features, while others alter the appearance and feel of a device. If there's a feature you need, someone has already created a custom ROM.

8. Automation

Automation allows users to streamline and simplify repetitive tasks. It enables the creation of customized routines by automating actions and settings based on triggers, such as time, location, or specific events. This feature enhances productivity and convenience by reducing manual interactions and adapting the device to users' needs. The Tasker app allows control of app permissions and also automates them.

Android Emulator

The Android emulator is an Android Virtual Device (AVD) representing a specific Android device. It lets you simulate an Android device on your computer. It allows you to run and test Android apps without a physical device. Developers commonly use emulators to debug and develop apps, and users who want to run Android apps on platforms other than smartphones and tablets use it.

You can also read about layered structure of operating system and Open Source Operating System.

Advantages of Android Operating System

Let us discuss the advantages of the Android operating system. These advantages have contributed to Android's widespread popularity and its position as one of the leading mobile operating systems in the world. The following are some of those:

  1. Open-source: Android is an open-source platform, so developers can customize and modify the operating system according to their needs.
     
  2. Large community: Android has a global user base, making it an attractive platform for developers and businesses.
     
  3. App ecosystem: The Google Play Store offers a massive collection of apps, providing users various choices for productivity, entertainment, gaming, and more.
     
  4. Customization: Android allows users to personalize their devices with widgets, launchers, and themes, enabling a unique and tailored user experience.
     
  5. Compatibility: Android is designed to work on various devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, smartwatches, and more.
     
  6. Hardware options: Android is available on devices from various manufacturers, offering a range of hardware choices to suit different budgets and preferences.
     
  7. Integration with Google services: Android seamlessly integrates with Google's ecosystem, including services like Google Maps, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Assistant, and more, enhancing productivity and convenience.
     
  8. Multitasking and notifications: Android provides robust multitasking capabilities, allowing users to run multiple apps simultaneously. It also offers a flexible and interactive notification system for managing alerts and staying informed.

Disadvantages of Android Operating System

While the Android operating system has numerous advantages, it also has some disadvantages.

  1. Android's open nature leads to fragmentation, with different devices running various operating system versions. This can pose challenges for developers in ensuring app compatibility. Users may also experience inconsistencies in the user interface.
     
  2. Android can be a target for malware and security threats because of its popularity. Users must be cautious when downloading apps from unofficial sources.
     
  3. Android runs on a wide range of hardware, and performance can vary depending on the device's specifications. Lower-end or older devices may experience slower performance and lag.
     
  4. Android updates depend on manufacturers and carriers. This leads to delayed updates, and some devices may not receive updates after some time.
     
  5. Android apps often request access to various permissions, including personal data and device features. Users must be cautious while granting permissions.
     
  6. Certain apps and games may not be compatible with all Android devices.
    Must Read Process Management in OS

Also read - File management in operating system

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What operating systems does Android use?

Android uses the Linux kernel as its core operating system. On top of the Linux kernel, Android employs its middleware and application framework, providing a complete operating system stack for mobile devices.

Q. What is unique about the Android operating system?

One unique aspect of the Android operating system is its open-source nature, which allows developers to modify and customize it according to their needs. This fosters innovation, diverse app development, and the ability to personalize the user experience.

Q. Why is Android the best operating system?

Android is widely regarded as a top operating system. Android is an open-source OS. It has a vast app ecosystem, various customization options, and multi-device compatibility. It easily integrates with Google services like Google Maps, Gmail, Google Drive, etc.

Q. Is Android operating system hardware or software?

The Android operating system is primarily software. It is an open-source platform that runs on various hardware devices such as smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and other devices. It provides the software framework for these devices to function and run applications.

Conclusion

In this article, we have covered the Android Operating System. We have introduced the topic. We also discussed the Anrdoid along with its architecture and features. We also take a look to understand the Android OS.

Recommended Readings:


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