In the original Star Wars movie back in 1977, Obi Wan hypnotically convinces the Stormtroopers that R2-D2 and C-3PO “aren’t the Droids you’re looking for.” Now, three and a half decades later, there are some “Droids” you may well be looking for, especially if you spend a lot of time on the road.
These Droids, or more specifically, “Android” based mobile devices, are the chief competitors for Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Unlike Apple’s mobile devices, which are manufactured only by Apple, Android gear is produced by a number of different manufacturers. They range from obscure brands, like Huawei or AsusTek, to more well-known manufacturers like Sony, Motorola and Samsung.
Like Microsoft’s Windows, or Apple’s iOS and OS X operating systems –- the software that operates the basic functions of a computing device — Android is an operating system for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Unlike the Microsoft and Apple operating systems, which are designed and controlled by those companies, Android is based on the “open source” Linux operating system.
“Open source” means that development of the operating system isn’t limited to a single manufacturer, but rather, is developed by the “user community.” In the early days of Linux, open source made for a do-it-yourself experience, but these days it’s more professionally developed and supported, while still being open for everybody to use, fix and improve.
While the typical user of an Android device is unlikely to get directly involved with the inner workings of the operating system, the end-user benefit to an open source operating system like Android is that innovations and improvement can, and frequently do, come along at a more rapid pace than would be the case with an operating system designed and controlled by a single company.
The early development of the Android operating system was conducted by an independent group of programmers, many of whom had already achieved some degree of fame elsewhere in the tech world. The Android team received early support from Google, and the search giant subsequently purchased the company.
When the first version of Android debuted in 2007, a consortium of nearly 100 hardware, software, and telecommunication companies founded the Open Handset Alliance to further the development of open standards for mobile devices. While Google handles the task of releasing the latest versions of Android, the maintenance and further development is conducted through the Android Open Source Project.
Now in its eleventh iteration, Android’s versions go by some of the more unique names in the software business, each named after a sweet treat, advancing sequentially through the alphabet. The most recent version was designated “Ice Cream Sandwich,” and the newest version is “Jelly Bean.”
Creative version names aside, Android-based smartphones and tablet devices can be useful tools for truckers and others who spend considerable time on the road.
The open source nature of Android has resulted in a huge community of developers writing software applications, or “apps” that help Android devices perform functions ranging from tracking expenses to navigation, to posting on social media sites. As of June, there were more than 600,000 apps available for Android; with downloads from Google Play, Android’s “app store” was estimated at 20 billion.
The Nexus line is a series of Android devices developed by Google and various hardware manufacturers. The Nexus One, manufactured by HTC, was released in January 2010 as the first Nexus phone. The Galaxy was released in November 2011 as the newest series of phones in the Nexus line. More recently, in June, Google debuted the Nexus 7, a 7-inch tablet device developed with Asus. The Nexus 7 tablet was designed to let users take advantage of the wide variety of e-book, video and music content available from Google Play.
So maybe it’s not R2-D2 as your right seat cover, but these droids come close.
10 Best Android Apps For Truckers @ Google Play
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