Android Operating System

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Android Operating System'

A mobile operating system developed by Google. The Android operating system is primarily used in touchscreen mobile devices, such as cell phones and tablets. Its design allows users to manipulate mobile devices intuitively, with phone interactions following common motions such as pinching, swiping, and tapping.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Android Operating System'

The operating system was developed by Android, Inc., a software company located in Silicon Valley, before Google acquired it in 2005. Investors and the electronics industry had speculated over what Google’s intentions were in the mobile market since the acquisition. The company announced the operating system in 2007, with the first Android-powered device reaching the market in 2008.

Software and application developers can use Android to develop mobile apps, which are sold through app stores, such as Google Play.

Because it is developed as a Google product, Android users are given the opportunity to link their mobile device to other Google products, such as cloud storage, email, and video services.

The Android source code is released in an open source format, with Google indicating that it prefers the development of open standards. Despite being released as “open”, Android is often packaged with proprietary software when sold on handset devices.

The emergence of Google’s Android operating system has lead to the “smartphone wars”, with Apple’s iOS serving as the chief competitor. This is similar to the “cola wars” between Coca-Cola and Pepsi as of the 20th century. As of 2014, Android was the most popular operating system for use on mobile devices, with over one billion active users.

The increased popularity of the system has also lead to lawsuits over patents. As a defense maneuver, Google purchased Motorola Mobility in 2011.

RELATED TERMS
  1. In-App Purchasing

    The purchase of goods and services from an application on a mobile ...
  2. Software As A Service - SaaS

    A cloud-computing approach to providing users with access to ...
  3. Patent Troll

    A derogatory term used to describe people or companies that misuse ...
  4. Tech Street

    A term used in the financial markets and the press to refer to ...
  5. Patent

    A government license that gives the holder exclusive rights to ...
  6. Silicon Valley

    A part of the San Francisco Bay Area that is known for the many ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the QQQ ETF?

    The PowerShares QQQ, previously known as the QQQQ, is a widely held and traded exchange-traded fund (ETF) that gives investors ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Why is EBITDA commonly used as a valuation metric for telecommunications companies?

    Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, is a popular equity evaluation metric for analyzing ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the average profit margin for a company in the telecommunications sector?

    The average net profit margin for companies in the telecommunications sector, as of 2014, is approximately 11%. Net margins ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What does it mean when they refer to the churn rate of a telecommunications company?

    Mobile network carriers, part of the telecommunications sector, refer to a churn rate as the percentage of customers during ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Why does Warren Buffett largely avoid investing in the technology sector?

    Warren Buffett has often said that he avoids investing in the technology sector because he does not like to own stocks in ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Why doesn't Warren Buffett own Apple (AAPL) stock?

    Warren Buffet claims he simply does not know how to properly evaluate Apple (AAPL) and does not feel confident in his reading ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing Basics

    How Amazon Competes With Google

    Learn why Amazon is considered Google's most direct competitor, and discover the various areas where the two companies are in Internet competition.
  2. Stock Analysis

    How Oracle Remains A Relatively Unknown Software Giant

    Among the world's largest corporations by market cap, few companies are as unfamiliar to the everyday consumer as Redwood City, Calif.-based Oracle Corp. How is the world's second-largest software ...
  3. Investing News

    The Mobile Device Market is Undergoing a Seismic Shift

    Gone are the days when consumers lined up en masse to purchase $600 phones. Today, the consumer is looking towards more budget-minded solutions.
  4. Investing Basics

    A Primer On Investing In The Tech Industry

    The tech sector can provide fantastic returns for investors with a little know-how in the field.
  5. Personal Finance

    What You Need To Know About Mobile Patent Wars

    The major mobile device companies are aggressively competing for intellectual property and spending money that smaller competitors simply don't have.
  6. Budgeting

    The Real Cost Of Owning A Smartphone

    The average data, texting and minute plan for a smartphone is estimated to cost around $2,100 for a two-year contract.
  7. Budgeting

    Mobile Apps That Help You Earn Money

    With the mobile app industry set to continue its growth, we address apps that deliver money-making opportunities to users.
  8. Personal Finance

    Android Vs. iPhone: The Economics Of Apps

    Android outsold Apple in smartphones this quarter, but Apple still leads in total revenue.
  9. Personal Finance

    How To Protect Your Smartphone From Identity Theft

    A smartphone is an identity thief's dream come true because of all of the information it contains. How can you protect your smartphone data?
  10. Personal Finance

    Money-Saving Smartphone Apps

    In many ways, these apps are more useful than the products they're modeled after.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Bund

    A bond issued by Germany's federal government, or the German word for "bond." Bunds are the German equivalent of U.S. Treasury ...
  2. European Central Bank - ECB

    The central bank responsible for the monetary system of the European Union (EU) and the euro currency. The bank was formed ...
  3. Quantitative Easing

    An unconventional monetary policy in which a central bank purchases private sector financial assets in order to lower interest ...
  4. Current Account Deficit

    A measurement of a country’s trade in which the value of goods and services it imports exceeds the value of goods and services ...
  5. International Monetary Fund - IMF

    An international organization created for the purpose of: 1. Promoting global monetary and exchange stability. 2. Facilitating ...
  6. Risk-Return Tradeoff

    The principle that potential return rises with an increase in risk. Low levels of uncertainty (low-risk) are associated with ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!