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Google marketed the platform to handset makers and carriers on the promise of providing a flexible, upgradeable system.
An early prototype had a close resemblance to a Black Berry phone, with no touchscreen and a physical QWERTY keyboard, but the arrival of 2007's Apple i Phone meant that Android "had to go back to the drawing board".
From 2008 to 2013, Hugo Barra served as product spokesperson, representing Android at press conferences and Google I/O, Google’s annual developer-focused conference.
He left Google in August 2013 to join Chinese phone maker Xiaomi.
Less than six months earlier, Google's then-CEO Larry Page announced in a blog post that Andy Rubin had moved from the Android division to take on new projects at Google, and that Sundar Pichai would become the new Android lead.
In June 2014, Google announced Android One, a set of "hardware reference models" that would "allow [device makers] to easily create high-quality phones at low costs", designed for consumers in developing countries.
These apps are licensed by manufacturers of Android devices certified under standards imposed by Google, but AOSP has been used as the basis of competing Android ecosystems, such as Amazon.com's Fire OS, which utilize their own equivalents to the Google Mobile Services.
Android is also associated with a suite of proprietary software developed by Google, including core apps for services such as Gmail and Google Search, as well as the application store and digital distribution platform Google Play, and associated development platform.Initially developed by Android Inc., which Google bought in 2005, Android was unveiled in 2007, with the first commercial Android device launched in September 2008.The operating system has since gone through multiple major releases, with the current version being 8.1 "Oreo", released in December 2017.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.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.Within a year, the Open Handset Alliance faced two other open source competitors, the Symbian Foundation and the Li Mo Foundation, the latter also developing a Linux-based mobile operating system like Google.In September 2007, Information Week covered an Evalueserve study reporting that Google had filed several patent applications in the area of mobile telephony.Steve Perlman, a close friend of Rubin, brought him ,000 in cash in an envelope, and shortly thereafter wired an undisclosed amount as seed funding.Perlman refused a stake in the company, and has stated "I did it because I believed in the thing, and I wanted to help Andy." At Google, the team led by Rubin developed a mobile device platform powered by the Linux kernel.The series was described as having "played a pivotal role in Android's history by introducing new software iterations and hardware standards across the board", and became known for its "bloat-free" software with "timely ... At its developer conference in May 2013, Google announced a special version of the Samsung Galaxy S4, where, instead of using Samsung's own Android customization, the phone ran "stock Android" and was promised to receive new system updates fast.In 2015, Ars Technica wrote that "Earlier this week, the last of the Google Play edition Android phones in Google's online storefront were listed as "no longer available for sale" and that "Now they're all gone, and it looks a whole lot like the program has wrapped up".