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Built upon the open Linux kernel, Google Android is the most widely-used mobile operating platform in the world with a staggering 75% market share of all smartphone users. While Apple's iOS continues to lead the market in some countries, world-wide Android dominates in the total number of devices.

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Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
LG G5
Huawei Nexus 6P
Moto X Force
Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
LG G5
Huawei Nexus 6P
Moto X Force
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Release Date
Mar 2016
Mar 2016
Mar 2016
Sep 2015
Feb 2016
Operating System
Android OS, v6.0 (Marshmallow), Android 6.0, Android 6.0
Android OS, v6.0 (Marshmallow), Android 6.0
Android OS, v6.0.1 (Marshmallow), Android 6.0.1
Android OS, v6.0 (Marshmallow)
Android OS, v5.1.1 (Lollipop), planned upgrade to v6.0 (Marshmallow)
Digital Camera Resolution
12.0 MP
12.0 MP
16.0 MP
12.3 MP
21.0 MP
Installed RAM (GB)
4.0 GB
4.0 GB
4.0 GB
3.0 GB
3.0 GB
Screen Size(Diagonal)
5.1 inch
5.5 inch
5.3 inch
5.7 inch
5.4 inch
Front Webcam Resolution
5.0 MP
5.0 MP
8.0 MP
8.0 MP
5.0 MP
Processor Type
Dual-core 2.15 GHz Kryo & dual-core 1.6 GHz Kryo, Quad-core 2.3 GHz Mongoose + quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A53, 1.6GHz octa-core, 1.6GHz  octa-core
Dual-core 2.15 GHz Kryo & dual-core 1.6 GHz Kryo, Quad-core 2.3 GHz Mongoose + quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A53, 1.6GHz  octa-core
Dual-core 2.15 GHz Kryo & dual-core 1.6 GHz Kryo, 2.15GHz  quad-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Quad-core 1.55 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A57
Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A57
Battery Capacity
3000.0 mAh
3600.0 mAh
2800.0 mAh
3450.0 mAh
3760.0 mAh
Carrier
Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile
Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile
Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile
Average Rating
 4.7 stars
 4.6 stars
 4.3 stars
 4.5 stars
 4.3 stars
Look and Feel
54% Positive
46% Negative
78% Positive
22% Negative
30% Positive
70% Negative
80% Positive
20% Negative
84% Positive
16% Negative
Camera
94% Positive
6% Negative
100% Positive
93% Positive
7% Negative
61% Positive
39% Negative
66% Positive
34% Negative
Display
81% Positive
19% Negative
76% Positive
24% Negative
76% Positive
24% Negative
66% Positive
34% Negative
70% Positive
30% Negative
Waterproof
100% Positive
100% Positive
Storage
57% Positive
43% Negative
33% Positive
67% Negative
100% Positive
100% Positive

Many top-tier manufacturers produce Android based phones including HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung and Sony to name a few. Additionally, Google produces (in conjunction with LG) its own line of smartphones using the Android platform under the Nexus brand name. Factors you should consider when choosing an Android phone include both hardware and software specifications.

Android Versions and Market Share

Google has released several versions of its Android operating system provides updates and major revision releases periodically. As manufacturers produce faster mobile phone hardware, Google release updates to Android that take advantage of the performance increases. The latest version of Google Android is 4.4 KitKat. However, the most widely used versions of the operating system are 4.3 Jelly Bean and 2.3 Gingerbread, which represent 62.5% and 14.1% of all Android installations respectively. As time goes by, though, more and more users will migrate to new phones with or upgrade to 4.4 KitKat.

Android Advantages

There are number of features that have helped to make Android the most popular choice in smartphone operating systems. A few of those features include: faster processing, application multitasking, robust navigational features using GPS and Google Maps, faster connectivity with wireless protocols (Bluetooth, EDGE, 3G, 4G and WiFi), diverse media support (MPEG4, H.264, MP3, AAC, AMR, JPG, PNG, GIF) enhanced security features and vibrant high-resolution displays.

Another advantage of Android phones - versus those with other mobile operating systems - is its built-in access to powerful Google Search tools and tight integration with the Chrome Web browser application. Because of this tight-knit integration, syncing data with Gmail, Google+, Google Docs and other Google services is seamless and automatic. Google designed Android to be able to perform these multitasking and syncing operations while consuming less power and memory (RAM) to make it an ideal platform for smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

Google Play and Apps

The final thing that sets Android apart from its rival mobile operating systems is its built-in access to the Google Play store where you can find thousands of downloadable apps to enhance the functionality and usability of your smartphone or other mobile device. After you power on your Android smartphone, you no longer need to enter additional credentials to log in to Google Play and start downloading and installing apps. If you choose to log in to Google Play from a computer, the service syncs selections with your phone automatically and downloads and installs apps automatically as soon as your smartphone establishes a data or Wi-Fi connection. In addition to the Google Play store, you can also use third-party services such as AppBrain or Amazon Appstore to download and install apps to your Android smartphone or device.

The informative table below seeks to explain the major Android versions in the market, and their major updates among the many other incremental upgrades compared to the previous versions.

Android versionInitial releaseUsage shareMajor updates
Gingerbread 2.3.3 to 2.3.7February 201150.6%Native VoIP support, new download manager
Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.xDecember 201127.5%New tabbed Google Chrome browsing, 1080p video recording
Jelly Bean 4.1.xJuly 20125.9%Smoother UI due to higher frame rate display
Jelly Bean 4.2November 20120.8%Widgets on lock screen