Now that we have a basic understanding of what Android is and how it fits into the smartphone ecosystem, let’s talk a bit about Android devices.
Android devices come in all different shapes and sizes and can vary greatly in both quality and price. It’s this wide array of device types and features that has solidified Android as the top dog when it comes to mobile operating systems.
Despite their differences, however, all android devices share two components in common, hardware and software. The hardware is the physical “hard” parts of the phone like the screen, battery, and processor. The software is the brain of the operation that controls everything and runs the apps, this is the Android operating system itself.
Because Android is open-source software, hardware manufacturers are able to combine it with their proprietary hardware to create the amazing array of devices available today.
When developing for Android, it’s important to have an appreciation for the various types of devices out there, and know the common characteristics they all share.
- Hardware - The physical “hard” components of the phone like the screen, battery, processor, and motherboard. Users interact with the device using the hardware, whether by pressing the various built-in buttons or interacting with the screen through common touch gestures like swiping, tapping, pinching and long pressing.
- Software - The intelligence that operates the hardware, manages all of the input/output, and runs the apps. It’s the brain of the device, in this case, Android.
- Smart device manufacturers can choose to combine any hardware elements with the Android Operating system, which often requires custom modifications to the Android source code.
- Most Android devices have 3 utility buttons: the home button, app management button and back button.
- The look and feel of apps are determined entirely by the app designer which means just about all apps will look a feel a bit different, regardless of the device.