Best Android Apps and Games Review

Compared to its primary rival mobile operating system, Apple's iOS, Android updates typically reach various devices with significant delays. Except for devices within the Google Nexus and Pixel brands, updates often arrive months after the release of the new version, or not at all.[136] This was partly due to the extensive variation in hardware in Android devices,[137] to which each upgrade must be specifically tailored, a time- and resource-consuming process.[138]Manufacturers often prioritize their newest devices and leave old ones behind.[139] Additional delays can be introduced by wireless carriers that, after receiving updates from manufacturers, further customize and brand Android to their needs and conduct extensive testing on their networks before sending the upgrade out to users.[139][140] There are also situations in which upgrades are not possible due to one manufacturing partner not providing necessary updates to drivers.[141] Android is developed by Google until the latest changes and updates are ready to be released, at which point the source code is made available to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP),[125] an open source initiative led by Google.[126]The AOSP code can be found without modification on select devices, mainly the Nexus and Pixel series of devices.[127] The source code is, in turn, customized and adapted by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to run on their hardware.[128][129] Also, Android's source code does not contain the often proprietary device drivers that are needed for certain hardware components.[130] As a result, most Android devices, including Google's own, ultimately ship with a combination of free and open source and proprietary software, with the software required for accessing Google services falling into the latter category. Since Android devices are usually battery-powered, Android is designed to manage processes to keep power consumption at a minimum. When an application is not in use the system suspends its operation so that, while available for immediate use rather than closed, it does not use battery power or CPU resources.[96][97] Android manages the applications stored in memory automatically: when memory is low, the system will begin invisibly and automatically closing inactive processes, starting with those that have been inactive for the longest amount of time.[98][99] Lifehacker reported in 2011 that third-party task killer applications were doing more harm than good.[100] Due to the open nature of Android, a number of third-party application marketplaces also exist for Android, either to provide a substitute for devices that are not allowed to ship with Google Play Store, provide applications that cannot be offered on Google Play Store due to policy violations, or for other reasons. Examples of these third-party stores have included the Amazon Appstore, GetJar, and SlideMe. F-Droid, another alternative marketplace, seeks to only provide applications that are distributed under free and open sourcelicenses.[87][93][94][95] Android has a growing selection of third-party applications, which can be acquired by users by downloading and installing the application's APK (Android application package) file, or by downloading them using an application store program that allows users to install, update, and remove applications from their devices. Google Play Store is the primary application store installed on Android devices that comply with Google's compatibility requirements and license the Google Mobile Services software.[87][88] Google Play Store allows users to browse, download and update applications published by Google and third-party developers; as of July 2013, there are more than one million applications available for Android in Play Store.[89] As of July 2013, 50 billion applications have been installed.[90][91]Some carriers offer direct carrier billing for Google Play application purchases, where the cost of the application is added to the user's monthly bill.[92] As of May 2017, there are over one billion active users a month for Gmail, Android, Chrome, Google Play and Maps.Applications ("apps"), which extend the functionality of devices, are written using the Android software development kit (SDK)[78] and, often, the Java programming language.[79] Java may be combined with C/C++,[80] together with a choice of non-default runtimes that allow better C++ support.[81] The Go programming language is also supported, although with a limited set of application programming interfaces (API).[82] In May 2017, Google announced support for Android app development in the Kotlin programming language.[83][84]

The SDK includes a comprehensive set of development tools,[85] including a debugger, software libraries, a handset emulator based on QEMU, documentation, sample code, and tutorials. Initially, Google's supported integrated development environment (IDE) was Eclipse using the Android Development Tools (ADT) plugin; in December 2014, Google released Android Studio, based on IntelliJ IDEA, as its primary IDE for Android application development. Other development tools are available, including a native development kit(NDK) for applications or extensions in C or C++, Google App Inventor, a visual environment for novice programmers, and various cross platform mobile web applications frameworks. In January 2014, Google unveiled an framework based on Apache Cordova for porting Chrome HTML 5 web applications to Android, wrapped in a native application shell.[86]


Android's default user interface is mainly based on direct manipulation, using touch inputs that loosely correspond to real-world actions, like swiping, tapping, pinching, and reverse pinching to manipulate on-screen objects, along with a virtual keyboard.[66] Game controllers and full-size physical keyboards are supported via Bluetooth or USB.[67][68] The response to user input is designed to be immediate and provides a fluid touch interface, often using the vibration capabilities of the device to provide haptic feedback to the user. Internal hardware, such as accelerometers, gyroscopes and proximity sensors are used by some applications to respond to additional user actions, for example adjusting the screen from portrait to landscape depending on how the device is oriented,[69] or allowing the user to steer a vehicle in a racing game by rotating the device, simulating control of a steering wheel.[70]

Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google, based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open source software and designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. In addition, Google has further developed Android TV for televisions, Android Auto for cars, and Wear OS for wrist watches, each with a specialized user interface. Variants of Android are also used on game consoles, digital cameras, PCs and other electronics.Google announces major incremental upgrades to Android on a yearly basis.[131] The updates can be installed on devices over-the-air.[132] The latest major release is 8.0 "Oreo", announced in March 2017,[133] and released the following August.[134][135]