Android

Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google. It is used by several smartphones and tablets. Examples include the Sony Xperia, the Samsung Galaxy, and the Google Nexus One.

The Android operating system (OS) is based on the Linux kernel. Unlike Apple's iOS, Android is open source, meaning developers can modify and customize the OS for each phone. Therefore, different Android-based phones often have different graphical user interfaces GUIs even though they use the same OS.

Android phones typically come with several built-in applications and also support third-party programs. Developers can create programs for Android using the free Android software developer kit (SDK). Android programs are written in Java and run through a Java virtual machine JVM that is optimized for mobile devices. The "Dalvik" JVM was used through Android 4.4 and was replaced by Android Runtime or "ART" in Android 5.0. Users can download and install Android apps from Google Play and other locations.

If you are unsure what operating system your phone or tablet uses, you can view the system information by selecting "About" in the Settings menu. This is also a good way to check if your device meets an app's system requirements. The name "Android" comes from the term android, which is robot designed to look and act like a human.

Updated May 16, 2016

Definitions by TechTerms.com

The definition of Android on this page is an original TechTerms.com definition. If you would like to reference this page or cite this definition, you can use the green citation links above.

The goal of TechTerms.com is to explain computer terminology in a way that is easy to understand. We strive for simplicity and accuracy with every definition we publish. If you have feedback about the Android definition or would like to suggest a new technical term, please contact us.

Want to learn more tech terms? Subscribe to the daily or weekly newsletter and get featured terms and quizzes delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe or change your frequency setting at any time using the links available in each email.

Questions? Please contact us.