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Defining Android

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					Before you can really begin to develop Android applications, it's helpful
to have a basic understanding of what exactly Android is. In the simplest
terms, Android is a set of software that works together to help you
develop web applications. Included with Android is an operating system,
middleware, and key applications and the Android SDK is what gives you
the tools and APIs you'll need to develop applications on the Android
platform. Android makes use of Java programming language so that most
developers will already be familiar with the basics but developing a
deeper understanding of Android will give you the skills you need to
create interesting, interactive applications.

 Android Features
 There are a number of features that make Android one of the leading
application developer tools. First of all, there is an application
framework that allows for the reuse and replacement of components. In
addition, Android utilizes Dalvik virtual machine which has been
optimized for mobile devices and features an integrated browser which has
been modeled around open source WebKit. Next, Android provides developers
with optimized graphics. Powered by a 2D graphics library and providing
3D graphics from OpenGL ES 1.0, Android allows developers to create rich
applications that are visually stunning to the user. Moreover, SQLite
gives developers an option for structured data storage and Android also
offers various media support for audio, video, and still images. Indeed,
Android is a versatile application platform that supports a variety of
file types including MPEG4, H.264, MP3, AAC, AMR, JPG, PNG, and GIF.
Similarly, Android is useful for developers because it includes GSM
Telephony, Bluetooth, EDGE, 3G and WiFi, as well as a camera, GPS,
compass, and accelerometer providing developers are using appropriate
hardware. Finally, Android provides developers with a rich development
environment that not only helps them create their applications but also
to test and refine the application after the development process. For
example, Android includes a device emulator as well as tools for
debugging and allows easy memory and performance profiling.

 Architecture and Framework
 Android is designed so that you can create a variety of applications and
is supported by a diverse set of application frameworks. The architecture
of Android gives developers easy access to a number of resources from an
activity manager or resource manager to various libraries including
SQLite, OpenGL ES, SCL, SSL, WebKit and more. Moreover, Android comprises
a diverse set of core applications including, but not limited to, an
email client, SMS program, calendar, maps, browser, and contacts. Since
all applications re written using the Java programming language,
developers should find it easy to adapt their skills to this new
platform.

 Conveniently, developers are given total access to all the framework
APIs that are used by the core applications so that the reuse of
components is simplified. All applications are inter-compatible. This
means that capabilities of all applications can be easily published and
used by other applications. Moreover, components are easily replaced by
the user as a result of this inter-compatibility.
 Developers will notice that they have access to a rich and easily
expanded collection of views that are ultimately used to build an
application. This collection of views includes the standard features of
development platforms like lists, grids, text boxes, buttons, and an
embeddable web browser. Applications can be given access to information
held by other applications so that data can be easily shared and Android
even features a Resource Manager that gives you access to those non-code
resources like localized strings, graphics, and layout files. Finally,
Android utilizes a Notification manager and an Activity Manager. The
notification manager allows all applications to show customized alerts in
the status bar while the activity manager controls the lifecycle of the
application while also giving developers a common navigation backstack.

 Android Libraries
 The components of the Android system utilize a collection of C/C++
libraries which developers will find within the Android application
framework. At this point, a few of these libraries will be discussed as
well as some details of these libraries.

 First you will notice there is a System C library. This library is
derived from BSD and is related to the standard C system library, also
commonly known as libc. The System C library is calibrated especially for
embedded Linux-based devices. In addition, Android features extensive
media libraries which are based on PacketVideo's OpenCORE. These
libraries conveniently support playback and recording of the range of
common audio and video formats and can also support static image files.
The surface manager is used to manage display subsystem access and will
help you to composite 2D and 3D graphic layers across multiple
applications. LibWebCore is a state-of-the-art web browser engine that
runs the Android browser and the embeddable web view. SGL is Android's 2D
graphics engine but there are also 3D libraries which are based on OpenGL
ES 1.0 APIs and use either hardware 3D acceleration or the Android
optimized 3D software rasterizer. For rendering with bitmap and vector
there is a FreeType library and SQLite is also included to provide a
powerful and unobtrusive relational database that is available to all
applications.

 As you can see, Android is a powerful tool that offers a wide range of
features to the developer. As internet and mobile web applications have
become more sophisticated so have the platforms used to develop them.
Android provides developers with a dynamic yet efficient tool for
creating such applications.

				
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