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The Android platform is a platform for mobile devices that uses a modified Linux kernel. The Android Platform was introduced by the Open Handset Alliance in November of 2007. Most applications that run on the Android platform are written in the Java programming language.
The Android Platform was launched in 2007 by the Open Handset Alliance, an alliance of prominent companies that includes Google, HTC, Motorola, Texas Instruments and others. Although most of the applications that run on the Android Platform are written in Java, there is no Java Virtual Machine. Instead, the Java classes are first compiled into what are known as Dalvik Executables and run on the Dalvik Virtual Machine.
Android is an open development platform. However, it is not open in the sense that everyone can contribute while a version is under development. This is all done behind closed-doors at Google. Rather, the openness of Android starts when its source code is released to the public after it is finalized. This means once it is released anyone interested can take the code and alter it as they see fit.
To create an application for the platform, a developer requires the Android SDK, which includes tools and APIs. To shorten development time, Android developers typically integrate the SDK into graphical user IDEs (Integrated Development Environments). Beginners can also make use of the App Inventor, an application for creating Android apps that can be accessed online.