Android versions

Android Developers Platform Versions page provides data about the relative number of active devices running a given version of the Android platform. This can help you understand the landscape of device distribution and decide how to prioritize the development of your application features for the devices currently in the hands of users.



  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A Boeing phone: Aerospace giant making Android device

    Boeing is jumping into the smartphone business, developing a new mobile device – but we probably won’t be buying this one at our local wireless store.

    The company is working on a secure communications device for the U.S. government defense and security market, a spokeswoman for the company confirmed this morning.

    Boeing is jumping into the smartphone business, developing a new mobile device – but we probably won’t be buying this one at our local wireless store.

    The company is working on a secure communications device for the U.S. government defense and security market, a spokeswoman for the company confirmed this morning.

    Beoing was aiming to launch the device in late 2012, at a lower price than competitors who sell secure phones for as much as $20,000

    Android was chosen because it will also provide users access to popular consumer apps while still knowing that their communications are secure, Krone told reporters, according to the magazine.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Amazon Android Developers Can Now Charge More Than $20 For In-App Purchases

    Amazon is now letting developers charge higher prices for in-app purchases thanks to new parental controls it just strengthened.

    The company sent out an e-mail to developers today that said:

    “With our parental controls functionality now updated, in-app items over $20 may now be submitted via the developer portal.”

    Developers depend on these pricier items to make their businesses work since only a small percentage (usually in the single digits) of their users pay in their games. These so-called “whales” are responsible for the bulk of a developer’s revenues.

    But this business model has caused tension on Apple’s iOS platform. Last year, there were widespread reports that children could run up hundreds of dollars in purchases on their iPods, iPhones or iPads to their parents’ chagrin. Apple has a 15-minute window for purchases after an iOS device owner types in their password. After the 15 minutes passes, they have to re-enter their password if they want to buy more.

    Amazon famously has a one-click payments flow, which in a normal case could make a Kindle especially risky to hand to a child or toddler. But the device has parental controls. If they’re set up properly, all purchases require an password or a 4-digit PIN.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google to bundle MIPS support with Android

    Google is expected to boost its support in Android for cores from MIPS Technologies, giving the company a badly needed boost in the hot smartphone and tablet sector.

    The Android native developers’ kit is expected to start bundling a GNU compiler for MIPS within weeks. Google is expected to bundle full support for the MIPS application binary interface in all Android code and libraries, starting with a future Android release in the next several months.

    “Google has started to take notice of the volume shipments of MIPS-based Android tablets,” said Amit Rohatgi, principal mobile architect at MIPS, speaking at the Linley Tech Mobile Conference here.

    About 1.8 million MIPS-based Android tablets have shipped to date, Rohatgi said. They are mainly low cost systems from China OEMs powered by SoCs from MIPS licensees such as Ingenic Semiconductor.

    Philips recently became the first global brand company to ship an Android tablet using the Ingenic SoC. Like many of the China branded systems, it sports a seven-inch screen.

    In terms of software support, as much as 85% of Android apps run on the OS’s Dalvik virtual machine interpreter. But as many as 80,000 of the half a billion apps in the Android online store run natively, targeting the ARM architecture.

    The good news for China mobile chip designers is licenses for the MIPS cores cost “a fraction” of the reported $5 million it costs to license an ARM Cortex A9.

    The Ingenic SoC is a 1.2 GHz device that competes favorably with the Cortex A8.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Oracle CEO Larry Ellison: I don’t know if Java is free

    In court testimony today, Ellison can’t declare whether Java is free. It’s a complicated topic that won’t be easy for a jury to figure out.

    Asked by Google’s lead attorney, Robert Van Nest, if the Java language is free, Ellison was slow to respond. Judge William Alsup pushed Ellison to answer with a yes or no. As ZDNet reporter Rachel King observed in the courtroom, Ellison resisted and huffed, “I don’t know.”

    Java is free, but it also has a set of licenses that are required for specific use cases.

    Google’s defense is that the 15 million lines of code in its Android smartphone software contains only the parts of Java that are freely available and not restricted by licensing or copyright.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Former Sun CEO says Google’s Android didn’t need license for Java APIs

    Jonathan Schwartz testifies that Java APIs were not considered proprietary or protected by Sun, as long as Google didn’t use the Java name, countering Oracle’s claims that Google infringed on its intellectual property.

    Google’s lawyer, Robert van Nest, asked Schwartz whether, during his tenure at Sun, Java APIs were considered proprietary or protected by Sun.

    “No,” Schwartz said in explaining the nature of open software. “These are open APIs, and we wanted to bring in more people…we wanted to build the biggest tent and invite as many people as possible.”

    Oracle contends that Google’s Android platform violated some of its patents and copyrights around Java and its APIs, which it acquired from Sun in a $7.4 billion deal at the beginning of 2010.

    “My understanding is that what we were doing was permissible because of the sum of my experiences and interactions I had,” Schmidt said in this testimony, adding that he was “very comfortable that what we were doing was both legally correct and consistent” with the policies of Sun and Google at that time.

    Schmidt, who spent 14 years at Sun, was Schwartz’s first boss at the company, and the two became close friends.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Exhibits in Oracle case show Google expected Android to take 33% of iPad market in 2011

    In July 2010, Google executives expected their upcoming Android 3.0 Honeycomb release to immediately result in a takeover of a third of the iPad market, according to an internal presentation outed during Oracle’s infringement case against the search giant.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Android Ported to C#

    Oracle and Google are currently in a $1 billion wrestling match over Google’s use of Java in Android.

    But Java is not the only way to build native apps on Android. In fact, it’s not even the best way: we have been offering C# to Android developers as a high-performance, low-battery consuming alternative to Java. Our platform, Mono, is an open source implementation of the .NET framework that allows developers to write their code using C# while running on top of the Java-powered operating system, and then share that same code with iOS and Windows Phone.

    The result of our efforts is that today we have most of Android’s layouts and controls entirely in C#.

    Android’s core codebase contains over a million lines of Java code, and we knew we wanted to be able to stay up to date with new releases of Android

    So for us, the only reasonable option was to do a machine translation of Java to C#, building and maintaining any necessary tools along the way.

    The tool we used as a starting point is called Sharpen. Sharpen is famous for helping people such as Frank Krueger port a Java applet to an award-winning iPad app in two months.

    We matured Sharpen a lot, and the result is a much-improved Java-to-C# translation tool for everyone.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Xamarin releases XobotOS, the .NET-powered version of Android

    Android’s primary application environment is based on the Java technology first developed by Sun, now owned by Oracle. Google’s decision to use Java in Android has resulted in a decidedly inconvenient—and potentially expensive—copyright and patent lawsuit with Oracle. Java wasn’t, however, the company’s only option: it briefly considered, and then ignored, Microsoft’s .NET runtime and C# programming language.

    Mono developer Xamarin has published its C# and .NET port of Android.

    A company has substantially ported Google’s Java-based Android software to use C# and the .NET framework, a move that could be the first step towards creating an Android-like operating system that avoids legal entanglements with Oracle.

    While Microsoft’s own .NET implementation is the best-known and most widely-used, there is a high-quality third-party implementation called Mono. Since May last year, development and maintenance of Mono has been handled by Xamarin, a startup created by core Mono developers

    Xamarin developers started a skunkworks project to port the Java parts of Android to use C# and .NET instead. The result is XobotOS.

    To create XobotOS from a million or more lines of Java, Xamarin used the Java-to-C# conversion tool Sharpen.

    XobotOS is not just interesting because of its Java avoidance. Mono performs well, and can run .NET programs much faster than equivalent Java programs in Android. The Mono virtual machine is quite mature when compared to Google’s Dalvik virtual machine, and is capable of more extensive optimization than Dalvik.

    While Xamarin does not intend to develop XobotOS further, it is, like Android, open source, published under the Apache license.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    3,997 Models: Android Fragmentation As Seen By The Developers Of OpenSignalMaps

    Over the past six months, the folks at OpenSignalMaps have been keeping tabs on the devices that have been downloading their network monitoring app, and so far they’ve recorded downloads onto 681,900 separate Android devices in 195 countries. Now they’ve taken all that data and splayed it out for all to see, and it highlights rather nicely how big a headache fragmentation can be for developers.

    Google chairman Eric Schmidt famously downplayed the term “fragmentation” at this year’s CES, suggesting instead that people call it “differentiation.” It’s hard not to agree with sentiment on some level — after all, one of Android’s key strengths is how easily it fits into different niches and price points. But according to him, as long as every Android user is able to use the same apps, there’s no problem here.

    Downloading and installing apps is one thing, but what I think really counts — the user experience — can still vary from hardware configuration to hardware configuration.

    That’s why developers like Animoca have invested what I can only imagine is a sizable amount of money and effort testing their apps with something like 400 Android devices before pushing them out into the world. And of course, fragmentation isn’t just a hardware issue — the OSM post points out that the two most used versions of Android now only account for 75% of the devices they surveyed, down from 90% last year, yet another issue for developers to grapple with.

    Does every developer need to go through a process that outlandish? Certainly not — OpenSignalMaps seems to test on a tiny fraction of that, and smaller developers can cover most of their bases with a handful of carefully chosen devices.

    At the end of the day though, despite the sheer amount of choice and flexibility that Android has provided users, those developers still have a choice to make — do they want to strive for perfection, or do they want to keep their sanity?

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intellectual property issues will make it hard for Google to keep its Chinese ‘open Android’ promise

    It appears that Google has had to make a general commitment to keep Android “free and open” for at least five years to come, though it will be allowed to provide add-ons and cloud-based services against fees, which is consistent with Google’s practice: Android was never truly open, and it won’t be after this deal. It will continue to be a potpourri of software that is available under structurally different licenses.

    What’s unclear is how the MOFCOM ruling affects Google’s practice of giving preferential treatment to lead device manufacturers. It appears that Google will in the future have multiple lead devices, from different manufacturers, for each new generation of Android.

    The details of Google’s commitments to MOFCOM aren’t known. For example, one could define the part of Android that has to be published on “free” and “open” terms broadly or narrowly. Still, the overall structure of Google having committed to continue to make all new Android versions, for the next five years, available on “free” and “open” terms is interesting in at least two respects

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Jury: Google did not infringe Oracle patents with Android


    Over a week after it began deliberations, the jury has returned a verdict in the patent infringement case between Oracle and Google, finding that the search giant did not infringe upon Oracle’s patents with Android. In play were infringement counts on eight different claims across two separate patents: RE38,104 and 6,061,520. Given the decision, there will be no need for a damages phase in connection with the patent claims, and with the recent agreement by Google and Oracle to postpone any damages hearings related to copyright infringement, the jury has now been dismissed from the proceedings altogether. Judge William Alsup thanked the jurors for their hard work before they left the courtroom, noting that “this is the longest trial, civil trial, I’ve ever been in.”

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intel’s Medfield finally tips up in Orange San Diego
    An interesting processor in a forgettable phone

    MOBILE OPERATOR Orange has announced the San Diego, the first smartphone to arrive in the UK with an Intel processor.

    Intel’s Medfield Atom processor and its reference design was shown off at this year’s CES trade show, however it took Orange and its partners a further six months to release a smartphone using Intel’s chip.

    Orange’s San Diego smartphone is a middle-of-the-road handset featuring an Intel Atom Z2460 single-core processor that supports Hyperthreading with access to 16GB of storage, covered by a 4.03in screen that has a seemingly random 600×1024 resolution. While the Orange San Diego might have a pedestrian processor and screen, its photographic capabilities are impressive with an 8MP camera that can shoot 10 frames per second and capture HD 1080p video, while the front-facing camera is 1.3MP.

    The biggest problem for Orange is that it has decided to ship the San Diego with Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread, though an Orange representative told us that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) will arrive, but only in October, at which point Android 4.0 ICS will have been out for almost a year.

    Intel’s decision to showcase its Atom processor in a relatively unimpressive smartphone is a questionable strategy.

    Intel has a major disadvantage, as Graham Palmer, country manager for Intel UK and Ireland admitted. Palmer said that Android phones with Intel chips can run 70 per cent of the apps available, and while that is a lot there is always the chance that the app that users want the most simply won’t run on Intel powered Android phones.

    Both Orange and Intel claim good battery life figures for the San Diego

    if the San Diego can compete with devices of similar screen size in the battery life stakes, then that will vindicate the firm’s perseverance with the x86 architecture.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How Do Top Android Developers QA Test Their Apps?

    Red Robot uses about 12 devices in-house and has a quality assurance team of two people. They then use a U.K.-based company called Testology to get further coverage with 35 handsets.

    “I applied a common sense filter,” says co-founder Pete Hawley, who hails from EA and has more than 15 years’ experience in the gaming industry. He goes by an 80/20 rule in trying to identify a low number of devices that will cover the widest amount of users. They start with the basic data from Google that shows overall distribution of different versions of Android and screen size densities. Then they look at their analytics to find which devices are most widely used by their players. Finally, they’ll look at player requests and support tickets.

    He says it’s good to be selective about which devices to support, especially with all sorts of lower-end handsets coming in from Asia.

    “Saying no to players with small, poor, outdated phones or old OSs is important too,” he says.

    So Pocket Gems’ QA testing is actually run by a former Air Force colonel(!) named Ray Vizzone. They use a little more than 40 devices evaluated in a matrix they explain in the video

    They make sure they include both tablets and phones and then high-resolution and low-resolution devices. They also make sure to include all five major graphic processing units (GPUs) including Adreno, PowerVR, Tegra, Mali and Vivante.

    Their QA process is designed to be hyper-speedy as the gaming industry has changed in some fundamental ways over the last few years.

    Pocket Gems tests all features in three phases. They have 1) new features testing 2) integration testing and 3) release candidate testing. Even as developers design new features for their games, Pocket Gems’ QA teams are already at work designing tests for them so they can be checked the moment they’re ready. Once those features are stabilized, they’re integrated into the games and tested a second time.

    Storm8 uses between 30 and 50 devices, which they divide into groups of high-end, mid-range and low-end devices. They intentionally buy devices for each category. After they launch games, they have the apps send back different KPIs (key performance indicators) back to the company’s servers.

    “This way, we can tell if we need to further fine-tune a certain class of devices, or even specific devices, to squeeze the last bit of performance from the devices,” says chief executive Perry Tam.

    “If we had taken the approach that 90 percent compatibility is good enough, we’d be lacking support for 7 million of [our] downloads,” the company explains. “Several millions of consumers would have had a bad experience as a result of our decision, and our app revenues would probably be short by around 10 percent.”

    Conclusion: If this still freaks you out, just remember that it was way worse in the days of feature phones. (At least, that’s what Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka tells us. Rovio says compared to the J2ME/Brew era, Android is actually easy! They had to make more than 50 games before they created uber-hit Angry Birds.)

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Platform Versions

    This page provides data about the relative number of active devices running a given version of the Android platform. This can help you understand the landscape of device distribution and decide how to prioritize the development of your application features for the devices currently in the hands of users

    For example, if you develop your application for the version that is at the very top of the chart, then your application is compatible with 100% of active devices (and all future versions), because all Android APIs are forward compatible.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intel phone boss: ‘Multi-core detrimental to Android mobes’

    Intel’s head of mobile has dissed handset-makers that have already adopted multi-core processor architectures, saying that most implementations so far are actually “detrimental”.

    Asked why Intel was trying to crack the handset market again, and what it could actually bring to it, Bell insisted, “Quite a lot.” More to the point, he claimed “no one has a market advantage right now” – meaning Intel has a chance of mirroring its dominance of the somewhat mature PC market in the comparatively immature handset (and tablet) market.

    “Google’s great to work with” adding that having “access to source code where you can go in and really work with it” is a massive advantage.

    But while Intel is happy to produce “iconic” reference designs like the San Diego, leaving partners little to do except tweak the interface and choose a logo, we suspect it will have to do a lot more legwork when it comes to a Windows phone. Luckily Microsoft has Nokia to play with.

    Not that Google is hanging around waiting for Intel to catch up. The San Diego runs on Gingerbread, and timing issues meant that Intel couldn’t hold off for Ice Cream Sandwich. Asked if San Diego buyers could expect an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade this summer, Bell replied: “The next quarter is my guess.”

    Android multi-core processing slammed

    But Bell was scathing of existing implementations, which he partly put down to software issues with Android itself. “Android doesn’t make as effective use of multi-core as it could,” he said.

    “In some of the use cases we’ve seen, [the] second core is detrimental because of scheduling.” Having looked at the multi-core options on the market, he said, the performance didn’t justify “the size and cost of putting in that part”.

    This was the sort of instance where Intel could bring its experience to bear on Android, he said – though how much this will benefit other handset-makers is, of course, open to question.

    the challenge that Intel has set itself: break into a market that still has plenty of growth, while your existing market still has the growth to sustain your effort.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intel: Android dual core support so poor “having a second core is actually a detriment”

    Android OEMs famously shipped phones with dual core processors well before the operating system even supported it. In fact it was only with the release of Android 2.3.4 in April 2011 that the OS was finally meant to be utilizing the second core many devices were already shipping with.

    Now Intel has revealed in their testing that even in the latest version of the Android operating system, Android 4 ICS, having multiple cores remains of little benefit most of the time and can even be detrimental to performance.

    According to Mike Bell, GM of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group, Android’s thread scheduler simply isn’t ready for multi-core processors.

    Bell said, “If you are in a non-power constrained case, I think multiple cores make a lot of sense because you can run the cores full out, you can actually heavily load them and/or if the operating system has a good thread scheduler. A lot of stuff we are dealing with, thread scheduling and thread affinity, isn’t there yet and on top of that, largely when the operating system goes to do a single task, a lot of other stuff stops. So as we move to multiple cores, we’re actually putting a lot of investment into software to fix the scheduler and fix the threading so if we do multi-core products it actually takes advantage of it.”

    “I’ve taken a look at the multiple core implementations in the market, and frankly, in a thermal and/or power constrained environment – what has been implemented – it isn’t obvious to me you really get the advantage for the size and the cost of what’s going into that part,” said Bell.

    Of course we know the biggest advantage to Android OEMs was not in performance but marketing, leading to the helter-skelter rush from single core to dual core to now quad-core processors, much like the chrome fins on cars in the 1950s.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google to pay $0 to Oracle for their lawsuit

    In a hearing in the US District Court today, it was determined that Google will pay a net total of nothing for Oracle’s patent claims against them. In fact, Google is given 14 days to file an application for Oracle to pay legal fees to Google(in a similar manner to how things are done for frivolous lawsuits).

    However, it is not quite peaches and roses for Google, as Oracle is planning on appealing the decision in the case.

    This is obviously very good news for Google, but we will have to see what happens with Oracle’s appeal. Of course, appeals for most cases are to be expected(especially with a case like this one, which was heavily watched, and has a large impact on the Software and IT industries as a whole).

    Originally, the Oracle was attempting to sue Google for $6.1 Billion

    However, Oracle, after having lost a few initial rounds in the case, thought it was asking for was too much, and lowered that to .226 billion(226 million), and then was offered 28 million by Google to settle, which they refused, and then the judge reduced that figure even lower to 150,000. This is how we arrived to the decision today: $0, with Oracle potentially having to pay Google. It’s almost a case of corporate karma coming back at Oracle.

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    $49 Android PC system fits Mini-ITX and microATX chassis

    The Android PC (APC) from Via Technologies is powered by a WonderMedia ARM11-based processor. Priced at $49, the APC integrates memory, storage, and a full set of consumer I/O features in a small footprint Neo-ITX motherboard that can be connected to a TV or monitor.

    The new Neo-ITX form factor measures 17cm x 8.5cm and can be housed in any standard Mini-ITX or microATX chassis

    It uses 2GB of NAND and 512Mbytes of DDR3 SDRAM

    The APC board consumes 4 watts when operating at idle power and 13.5 watts at maximum load

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    DARPA fortifies soldiers’ smartphones against malware

    The U.S. government awards a $21 million grant to a company tasked with shielding soldiers’ Android-based smartphones and tablets from data leaks.

    DARPA, has given a $21 million grant to the company Invincea to protect soldiers’ Android-based phones and tablets from cyber threats.

    “By separating untrusted apps and content we are preventing the compromise of the operating system,” founder of Invincea Anup Ghosh told The New York Times.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google heralds next Android with Jelly Bean sculpture

    On the eve of the developer-oriented Google I/O show, Google has confirmed the name for the next version of Android by adding a new sculpture to its collection.

    Squashing any lingering doubts about the arrival of the next version of Android, Google has put up a Jelly Bean sculpture on its campus.

    The sculpture appears next to others in a collection of alphabetically ordered sweets after which new versions of Google’s mobile operating system is named: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and Ice Cream Sandwich.

    It’s not certain what the version number of Jelly Bean will be, but the smart money is on 4.1.

    Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich, still is a relative rarity in the world, reflecting the difficulties Google is having keeping the large number of partners in the Android realm up to date. Despite those difficulties, though, Android continues to spread.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Android 4.1 Jelly Bean: 5 Features We Want in Google’s New OS

    But of course, Android can be improved. On Wednesday, Google is expected to kick off its Google I/O developer conference by introducing Android 4.1, dubbed Jelly Bean. Unlike version 4.0, which featured a top-to-bottom redesign of Android, version 4.1 is expected to bring a number of incremental changes. Rumor has it the new OS could even debut on a Google-branded, Asus-built Nexus tablet, and it could land on Google’s developer-friendly Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone as well.

    Whenever it arrives, we’re expecting new features and bold moves

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Secure Android OS Developed for Soldiers

    With the use of smartphones and tablets becoming more prevalent across the armed forces, the Department of Defense (DoD) is concerned with securing these devices to keep classified or confidential information out of the hands of adversaries.

    With this in mind, the DoD has tapped a malware threat detection company called Invincea to develop a specialized and secure version of the Android operating system. The company has signed a $21.4 million contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL).

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    No Flash for Android is 4.1 Jelly Bean

    Adobe announced last winter withdrew its mobile Flash

    The company is not saying that Flash is not working with a new software platform, but Adobe does not, however, publish it to any patches or updates. This applies on Wednesday released Google ‘s Nexus 7-tablets, which is one of the first new Android-powered devices.

    Adobe plans to focus on the HTML5 standard because HTML5′s support has become more common in many mobile devices.


  24. Tomi says:

    OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console

    OUYA $99 Open Source Gaming Console Blows Up on Kickstarter By Saying ‘Hack Me, Please!’

    OUYA, the low-cost, Android-based and fully hackable gaming console had the biggest launch date in Kickstarter history

    The something is, I think, fairly significant and it’s not just about games. I have written a lot recently about Apple TV, about the Google Nexus Q and about Brightcove’s platform for producing dual-screen TV apps. The next part of the digital revolution will (finally) be in the living room around the digital hearth of the flat screen TV.

    Filed Under Gaming
    Ouya gaming console raises $2 million on Kickstarter, doesn’t know what to do with it

    When we first detailed the Ouya $99 Android-based game console yesterday, we had a feeling it would become a hot property over at Kickstarter. But still, there’s no way we anticipated this: the project has just raised $2 million in its first day, having sped past its initial $950,000 goal within a record-breaking 12 hours.

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    New quad-core Intel Atom SoCs target PCs, servers, and tablets

    Intel is also faced with the task of booting ARM SoCs from market segments that they dominate—iOS and Android and all of the apps that run on those platforms are all developed for ARM first, and while Intel’s binary translator does a pretty good job of running Android applications on Intel’s processors (see AnandTech’s analysis here), there are still cases where things aren’t working quite yet.

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Benefits & Importance of Compatibility

    When we first contemplated Android and formed the Open Handset Alliance, we wanted to create an open virtuous cycle where all members of the ecosystem would benefit. We thought hard about what types of external factors could intervene to weaken the ecosystem as a whole. One important external factor we knew could do this was incompatibilities between implementations of Android.

    While Android remains free for anyone to use as they would like, only Android compatible devices benefit from the full Android ecosystem. By joining the Open Handset Alliance, each member contributes to and builds one Android platform — not a bunch of incompatible versions.

    Thanks to their support the Android ecosystem now has over 500 million Android-compatible devices and counting!

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  29. Tomi says:

    Exclusive: Inside Android 4.2′s powerful new security system

    Android 4.2 marks the launch of a powerful new security system built right into the platform. The key component is a real-time app scanning service that instantly checks apps put on your device for any malicious or potentially harmful code.

    The feature is an extension of the security technology Google introduced for the Play Store this past February. While that technology worked exclusively on the server side, analyzing apps that were uploaded to the Play Store, the new system works with your device and scans any apps you install from third-party sources (a process known as “sideloading”).

    “We view security as a universal thing,” Android VP of Engineering Hiroshi Lockheimer tells me. “Assuming the user wants this additional insurance policy, we felt like we shouldn’t exclude one source over another.”

    Following typical Google fashion, the new scanning service is completely opt-in: The first time you install an app from a source other than the Play Store — including a third-party app market like Amazon’s app store — Android pops up a box asking if you want such applications to be checked for “harmful behavior.”

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Android Rules Smartphones, But Which Version?

    ‘Gingerbread,’ or Android versions 2.3 through 2.3.7, dominates with 50.8 percent of the Android pie.

    ‘Ice Cream Sandwich,’ or versions 4.0.3 through 4.0.4, is second with 27.5 percent, with the latest ‘Jelly Bean’ build at 6.7 percent.

    As demonstrated by that graph on the Android Developers Website, there are a lot of devices running a lot of different versions of Android out there in the ecosystem, all with different capabilities.

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