Android is an operating system for mobile devices such as cellular phones, tablet computers and netbooks. Android was developed by Google and is based upon the Linux kernel and GNU software. It was initially developed by Android Inc. (a firm later purchased by Google) and lately broadened to the Open Handset Alliance. According to NPD Group, unit sales for Android OS smartphones ranked first among all smartphone OS handsets sold in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2010, at 33%. BlackBerry OS is second at 28%, and iOS is ranked third with 22%.
Early acquisition by Google
In July 2005, Google acquired Android, Inc., a small startup company based in Palo Alto, California, USA. Android's co-founders who went to work at Google included Andy Rubin (co-founder of Danger), Rich Miner(co-founder of Wildfire Communications, Inc.), Nick Sears (once VP at T-Mobile), and Chris White (headed design and interface development at WebTV).
Like many phone-based application stores, the Android Market is a catalog of applications that can be downloaded and installed to target hardware over-the-air, without the use of a PC. Originally only free applications were supported. Paid-for applications have been available on the Android Market in the United States since 19 February 2009. The Android Market has been expanding rapidly. As of August 3, 2010, it had over 100,000 Android applications for download.
Android supports the following audio/video/still media formats: H.263, H.264 (in 3GP or MP4 container), MPEG-4 SP, AMR, AMR-WB (in 3GP container), AAC, HE-AAC (in MP4 or 3GP container), MP3, MIDI, Ogg Vorbis, WAV, JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP.
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