Android Reference List

ADK: Android Development Kit, What people use to develop anything for the Android such as APPs and ROM’s

adb: Android Debug Bridge, a command-line debugging application included with the SDK. It provides tools to browse the device, copy tools on the device, & forward ports for debugging. If you are developing in Eclipse using the ADT Plugin, adb is integrated into your development environment.

Android Unveiled on 5 November 2007, Android is a mobile operating system running on the Linux kernel developed by Google.

AOSP: Android Open System Project, usually you will see this term when referring to a program or ROM. This will mean that the program or ROM was taken from Google & does not contain any modifications done by the phone Manufacturer or the phone service provider. This is Android the way Googleintended.

ART – successor of Dalvik, a virtual machine (VM) that’s part of the Android OS. ART is faster than Dalvik and saves more energy 

Baseband or Radio: In communications & signal processing, the baseband describes signals & systems whose range of the frequencies measured from close to 0 hertz to a cut-off frequency, a maximum bandwidth or highest signal frequency; it is sometimes used to describe frequencies starting close to zero

Binary – (sometimes called bin’s) a group of executable files.

Bloatware:unnecessary features that are not used by end users and come with the phone (like Samsung touchwiz or other APPs) (luckly Moto G is almost a pure/stock android)

BootLoader: In literal terms, boot loader is code that is executed before any Operating System starts to run. The concept of boot loaders is universal to virtually all Operating systems that includes operating systems on your PC, laptop, Smartphone, & other such devices. Boot loaders basically package the instructions to boot operating system kernel & most of them also have their own debugging or modification environment. As the boot-loader kicks off before any piece of software on your device, it makes it extremely processor specific & every motherboard has its own bootloader.

Boot Loader(Unlocked): A locked or unlocked boot loader is what gives you access to “root.” “Root” is another big word in the Android community. If you “root” a device, it means you have “super user” access or “administrator” access to the operating system that runs on your phone. Root access of your Android device gives you the ability to flash ROMs. Alert:unlocking your Moto G boot-loader will void your warranty

Boot Loop: Simply means something is preventing the phone from completing it’s boot cycle & is stuck between the boot animation & the unlock screen, creating a looped animation. This is often fixed by either reloading a NAndroid, or Reflashing a ROM from the xRecovery/ClockworkMod Recovery/Flashtool.

Brick or Bricked: Jargon for a completely unrecoverable device, (no more than a brick or paperweight)

Bug or Software Bug: An Error or flaw in software that produces a failure or unexpected/unwanted result. Typically created from incorrect code, this is why some ROMs are better & smoother running than others because developers have taken the time to input “perfect” code (read put in a lot of hours & hard work)

Busybox: A single multicall binary that packages the functionality of most widely used standard Unix tools, BusyBox provides a fairly complete environment for any small or embedded system.

CDMA/GSM – A type of network communication between phones and carriers. GSM phones normally are included with SIM Cards that authorize them onto the network. CDMA have this authorization built in and do not need a sim card.

COMPCACHE: (compressed caching) is, in short, virtual swap, setting aside a certain percentage (usually 25%) of your RAM as ‘compressed’ swap. Compcache compresses the data that would normally go to swap, then moves it back into RAM, and reverses the process when moving it out of the ‘compressed’ swap. However, this is a classic space-time tradeoff. You effectively get more RAM from the compression, but it is slower than ‘normal’ RAMdue to the CPU time required to compress and decompress the swapped pages.

ClockworkMod – CWR – CWM: A recovery program that is often used to apply updates, ROMs, or create a back up or restore a backup file

Dalvik: An open source, register-based virtual machine (VM) that’s part of the Android OS. The Dalvik VM executes files in the Dalvik Executable (.dex) format & relies on the Linux kernel for additional functionality like threading & low-level memory management. The virtual machine is register-based, and it can run classes compiled by a Java language compiler that have been transformed into its native format using the included “dx” tool.

Dalvik Cache: A program cache area for the program Dalvik. Dalvik is a java based virtual machine that is the basis for running your programs (the ones that have the .apk extension). In order to make access times faster (because there’s not JIT (just in time) compiler installed by default), the dalvik-cache is the result of dalvik doing a optimization of the running program. It’s similar to the prefetch files in Windows.

DDMS: Dalvik Debug Monitor Service, a GUI debugging application included with the SDK. It provides screen capture, log dump, and process examination capabilities. If you are developing in Eclipse using the ADT Plugin, DDMS is integrated into your development environment.

Deep Sleep: A state when the CPU is off, display dark, device is waiting for external input.

De-odex: Apk files have respective odexes that devs use to supposedly save space. Deodexing means you convert it back to a .dex file & put it back inside the apk. This allows you to easily replace files (not having to worry about odexes), but the main point was to deodex services.jar so that you can change all text to different colors (such as the clock color to white) & to deodex services.jar, you need to deodex everything.

Dev. or Developer: An individual that creates, or alters a file in such a manner as to advance the program

Drawable: A compiled visual resource that can be used as a background, title, or other part of the screen. A drawable is typically loaded into another UI element, for example as a background image. A drawable is not able to receive events, but does assign various other properties such as “state” and scheduling, to enable subclasses such as animation objects or image libraries. Many drawable objects are loaded from drawable resource files — xml or bitmap files that describe the image. Drawable resources are compiled into subclasses of For more information about drawables and other resources.

Execute – To “run” or “start” a binary

Fastboot: Protocol used to update the flash file system in Android devices from a host over USB. It allows flashing of unsigned partition images.

Flash – Flashing : The process of applying a firmware image (or ROM) to a device. It generally entails a very specific order of steps. Failing to complete any one of these steps properly may result in soft/hard) bricking

Flash Memory: a program technology that can be electrically erased & reprogrammed

FOTA – “Firmware over the air” this normally refers to ROM’s but can refer to radio firmware (see OTA)

Kernel: The main component of Android operating system.
It is a bridge between applications & the actual data processing done at the hardware level.
The kernel’s responsibilities include managing the system’s resources (the communication between hardware & software components).
[Usually as a basic component of an operating system, a kernel can provide the lowest-level abstraction layer for the resources
(especially processors & I/O devices) that application software must control to perform its function.
It typically makes these facilities available to application processes through inter-process communication mechanisms & system calls.
Operating system tasks are done differently by different kernels, depending on their design & implementation.

Governor – A system embedded into the kernel to automatically change the current working CPU frequency depending on the workload. It would only go up to what it is overclocked (or underclocked) to, this is called the maximum frequency. It would not drop bellow the (just as easily configurable) minimum frequency.

Jelly Bean – JB – Android from 4.1 to 4.3

JDK – “Java Development Kit” an SDK for the java platform. It is needed to run the Android SDK.

JRE – “Java Runtime Environment” a collection of binarys and files to allow java software to execute.

KANG – The process of creating a code based of someone else’s code.

Kit Kat – KK – Android 4.4 the newest android available (supported by Moto G)

Library’s/Libs – a set of instructions for applications to use to function. A functioning camera lib would allow the camera to be used.

Logcat :A debugging tool built into Android devices that displays system logs as they occur. See Logcat.

Manifest File: An XML file that each application must define, to describe the application’s package name, version, components (activities, intent filters, services), imported libraries, and describes the various activities, and so on. See The AndroidManifest.xml File for complete information.
Nine-patch / 9-patch / Ninepatch image
A re-sizeable bitmap resource that can be used for backgrounds or other images on the device.

Nandroid or Nandroid Backup
: A file typically created in the custom recovery program, such as xRecovery, that is a carbon copy of whatever state your phone is in before a drastic change is made. The file then can be moved onto or off of the SD card for later use in case something should go wrong in the ROM or Update, or a Boot Loop occurs

OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer, the people who actually put together electronic hardware. Also refers to any equipment original to the phone, or produced by the company for the phone

OpenGL ES: Android provides OpenGL ES libraries that you can use for fast, complex 3D images. It is harder to use than a Canvas object, but better for 3Dobjects. The android.opengl and javax.microedition.khronos.opengles packages expose OpenGL ES functionality.

Open-Source – (not to be confused with free) A piece of software that is free to edit, use, distribute and share with no charge.

OS: Operating system, I.E. Windows Vista, LINUX or MAC or Android

OTA: Over-the-Air; method T-Mobile, & some other phone companies, uses to update Android phones. The new versions of Android are developed by Google & then released to OEM’s, Sony Ericsson in our case. The OEM then writes drivers that enable the new software to work on the phone’s hardware. They also develop any specialized UI (user interface), like Timescape & Mediascape, or other software they want to include. Once this is complete, they turn it over to the cell phone company, (e.g.)Tmobile, who then have to do the final checks to make sure the update works, & then distributes it over there datanetwork using their cell transmitters.

Overclocking (OC): Speeding up the CPU past the factory presets to achieve a faster & more responsive device (prolonged run can be injurious to your device, so be careful.)

RAM– Could be one of three meanings: 1. Memory for the CPU to process processes. 2. Random Access Memory, a place where information can be used, executed from, modified, or deleted

Recovery – Its a dedicated Android partition, that has Recovery console installed. This is invisible during normal operation of the android device.

ROM: Read Only Memory, a program used to make changes to anything from the look of the home screen to icons to custom boot animation

Root: Common word associated with giving a user “super user” access to their phones programming & other various aspects that would normally not be possible, also known as “Jailbroken” for iPhone’s, “Administrator Rights” in Windows OS.

Shell or SSH: The shell is the layer of programming that understands & executes the commands a user enters. In some systems, the shell is called a command interpreter. A shell usually implies an interface with a command syntax (think of the DOS operating system & its “C:>” prompts & user commands such as “dir” & “edit”). secure shell or ssh is a network protocol that allows data to be exchanged using a secure channel between two networked devices

SQLite: An embedded relational database management system contained in a relatively small (~275 kB) C programming library. It is multitasking concerning reads. Writes can be done only one-at-a-time. It is a popular choice for local/client storage on web browsers. It has many bindings to programming languages. It is arguably the most widely used database engine, as it is used today by several widespread browsers, operating systems, embedded systems among others

Stock Android : Simply means an unaltered state, such as when you first purchase your phone fromVerizon/Your Service Provider or when you repair your phone using PC Companion or SE Update Service(SEUS)

SU: “Super user”, or root permissions

Superuser: A program, which gives unlimited access privileges to perform any or all operations on the operating system.

SWAP: is, in short, virtual RAM. With swap, a small portion of the hard drive is set aside and used like RAM. The computer will attempt to keep as much information as possible in RAM until the RAM is full. At that point, the computer will begin moving inactive blocks of memory (called pages) to the hard disk, freeing up RAM for active processes. If one of the pages on the hard disk needs to be accessed again, it will be moved back into RAM, and a different inactive page in RAM will be moved onto the hard disk (‘swapped’). The trade off is disks and SD cards are considerably slower than physical RAM, so when something needs to be swapped, there is a noticeable performance hit.

Unlike traditional swap, Android’s Memory Manager kills inactive processes to free up memory. Android signals to the process, then the process will usually write out a small bit of specific information about its state (for example, Google Maps may write out the map view coordinates; Browser might write the URL of the page being viewed) and then the process exits. When you next access that application, it is restarted: the application is loaded from storage, and retrieves the state information that it saved when it last closed. In some applications, this makes it seem as if the application never closed at all. This is not much different from traditional swap, except that Android apps are specially programed to write out very specific information, making Android’s Memory Manager more efficient that swap.

Theme: A set of icons, backgrounds & app trays that change the aesthetics of the overall look of the Android & its applications. It has a set of properties (text size, background color, and so on) bundled together to define various default display settings. Android provides a few standard themes, listed in (starting with “Theme_”).

TUN/TAP: Refers to a network TUNnel, operates within layer 3 packets, or ip packets. Packets sent by a system via a TUN/TAP device are delivered to a user-space program that attaches itself to the device. A user space program may also pass packets into a TUN/TAP device. In this case TUN/TAP devicedelivers (or “injects”) these packets to the operating system’s network stack thus emulating their reception from an external source.

Underclocking(UC): Slowing down the CPU mainly to limit battery usage

Undervolting(UV): Basically keeping the clock speed same (or overclocking it) & reduce the voltage at each cpu cycle.

xRecovery: A recovery program based on the ClockworkMod Recovery sources used to apply updates, ROMs, or create a back up or restore a backup file

Wipe – to clean your device memory,recommended before flashing

File Types:

.dex: Compiled Android application code file. Android programs are compiled into .dex (Dalvik Executable) files, which are in turn zipped into a single .apk file on the device. .dex files can be created by automatically translating compiled applications written in the Java programming language.

.sbf: Summation Briefcase File

.apk or APK’s: An .apk file extension denotes an Android Package (APK) file, an .apk file can be opened & inspected using common archive tools. Each Android application is compiled and packaged in a single file that includes all of the application’s code (.dex files), resources, assets, and manifest file. The application package file can have any name but must use the .apk extension. For example: myExampleAppname.apk. For convenience, an applicationpackage file is often referred to as an “.apk”.

.tar: Similar to a zip file(derived from tape archive), a tar file archives multiple files into one file

.tgz: TGZ files (gnu-zipped .tar file) are commonly used as install packages for Slackware Linux.