Understanding Android


Welcome to this review of the Pluralsight course Android Beginner Series: Understanding Android by John Sonmez.

John is the founder of Simple Programmer, and the author of the best selling book Soft Skills.

He also hosts the GetUp and CODE podcast, where he talks about fitness for programmers. John is a life coach for software developers, and helps software engineers, programmers and other technical professionals boost their careers and live a more fulfilled life. He empowers them to accomplish their goals by making the complex simple.

This course is the first of a four part series that teaches Android at a gentle pace.

It is also the first course in the Android Learning Path, which I am currently studying.

Welcome to Android

This is the first in a series of 4 courses that takes you from
no Android knowledge to being able to write your own Android game.

Who This Series Is For

This course is appropriate for developers at all levels.

– Absolute beginners

– Mid-level developers

– Experienced developers looking for a gentle introduction to Android

This course should be easily understandable for non developers with little knowledge of computers

Series Overview

This first course covers Android Basics and does not get into the coding.

John explains how future courses in this series build on this foundation.

What is Android

John explains that Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google.

Unlike older desktop operating systems, Android has been designed for touch.

Some oher points that John explains are:
– Open Source
– Run on a variety of hardware devices
– The most widely used smart phone OS in the world


– iOS
– Windows Phone 8
– Windows 8
– Blackberry OS

Android Overview

The homescreen looks different on different versions of the operating system.

Android 2 Homescreen

We see Android 2.x running on an emulator, and John shows to to navigate through the UI.
We see widgets, how to add shortcuts, folders and wallpaper

Android 4 Homescreen

We see Android 4.x running on an emulator, which looks a lot different.

The process for creating shortcuts, folders and choosing widgets is different, but we see how it is done.


We see the Settings app from Android 4.x. The UI has improved a lot from earlier versions.

Installing Apps

We can use the Play Store or use Sideloading


To view the notifications we drag down. John demonstrates this.

Types of hardware

John discusses the following types:

– Mobile Phones
– eReaders
– Google TV
– Netbooks
– Smartwatches
– Car Computers
– Game Consoles

Hardware Differences

John talks about the effect of different resolutions, and the lack of physical buttons on newer devices.

There are many other capabilities that vary from device to device: Phone, Sensors, Expandable Memory, Keyboards and many other features

Phones vs Tablets

John explains that the biggest factor in driving your design will be whether you want your app to run on a phone, an tablet or both.


John runs through the history from Oct 2003 when Android Inc was founded, to the Android 4.0 release in Oct 2011.

Android 3.0 was a tablet only release – before then the OS was only designed for phones.


John briefly the lawsuits that Google have faced over Android.



Some developers created their own version of Android with free versions of the code needed to make a fully functioning Android device

The Rise of Android

We see a graphic showing the dominance of Android up until the end of 2012. This dominance has continued to this day.

Continue to Part 2 – The Android Operating System

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