Android is an operating system used primarily on smart phones and other mobile devices. Although Android is owned and developed by Google, its code is open source, which means others can use the source code for their own projects.
Android phones were released shortly after the iPhone. While Google owns the trademark to the term Android and licenses manufacturers to use its app store, Google does not manufacture the devices, although it occasionally contracts other companies to produce phones sold under its Nexus brand. As a result, a number of manufacturers release Android phones at a range of price points.
The Linux kernel serves as the foundation for Android, although Android does not contain tools typically shipped with Linux distributions designed for traditional computers and servers. As a result, the core of Android is released under an open source license as mandated by the Linux license. Companies like Amazon.com have since created variations of the Android operating system and supplied their own app stores.
Although Android was first released as a smart phone operating system, Android tablets have also become popular. In addition, some companies have released media streaming devices and gaming consoles based on it. As of 2015, Android is the most popular smart phone operating system and was installed on more than 80 percent of smart phones shipped in 2014.