A few days ago, an app designing company had visited my college for a seminar on app development for Android. Before that, although I knew about Android, but the seminar for sure had made me curious about everything connected with Android.
In simple words, Android is just an Operating System, designed exclusively for mobiles phones, or being specific, say Smartphones which meet certain requirements. Android is an OS for mobile phones, just like Linux, Windows XP, 7 etc. are for a computer system.
Android is not the only Operating System for mobile phones obviously, because there are many phones which run without Android, and they all work on their respective mobile Operating Systems.
Some of the most popular Operating Systems for mobiles are: Symbian 40, Symbian 60(both are used in Nokia phones mostly, and Symbian 60 in Nokia Smartphones), iOS(iPhone OS), and many more.
Android's first version(beta version) was launched in Novvember 2007. The other versions following it are:
Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich. Ice Cream Sandwich is the latest Android OS for phones, released in December 2011. Honeycomb is the version which is exclusive for Android based tablets. And yes! These are really the official names of the versions of Android.
Android was launched with the motive that most of the mobile phones should be running one OS, so that they can run apps and softwares designed for that one OS. Thus an app which can run on Android OS, can run on many different models of different brands, with different designs, but running Android OS.
Efforts on the part of developer, maintenance of app, and updating the features of the OS are easy when a large number of mobiles are using the same Operating System.
Another best thing about Android is that it is Open Source Software, so developers and programmers all over the world can use their skills together to raise the functions and capabilities of Android. That's something, which really matters a lot!
On personal side, I own a Nokia Symbian 60 based, Nokia E5. After about 10 months of purchasing this, I have started repenting a bit because of some features which are not available in S60. These phones do have a great hardware, and also great performance, but number of apps available for Symbian 60 series is far less than those for Android now. And the worst thing is that Nokia is leaving Symbian OS as it has started using Windows Mobile OS for its phones.
This means support, and everything related to Symbian 60 series OS may vanish after some years.According to me, Android is the future of mobile phones, and that's something for the best of the world.
Cheers to Android!