Android™ Market is an online store that provides applications for mobile devices that use the Android™ operating system. The Android™ Market application is pre-installed on Android™ devices and can be used to download free and priced applications. Applications are uploaded to Android™ Market by developers, and then sold to end users for a predetermined price. Developers receive 70 percent of the purchase price, and the remaining 30 percent is split between a payment processor and the carrier that services the Android™ device used to purchase the application.
Although there is an Android™ Market website accessible from regular web browsers, the site provides limited information about available applications. The website lists and provides summary information about featured and top paid and free applications. Users cannot download applications from the site, but publishers can use the website to create profiles and upload applications.
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In order to download applications, users must access Android™ Market using the pre-installed application on an Android™ phone or mobile device. Users from any country can download free applications, but only users from select countries are able to download priced applications. When Android™ Market first began making applications available, only developers from the United States and United Kingdom were able to use the store to sell paid applications. Eventually, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands and Spain were added to the list of countries from which developers could publish priced applications.
Android™ Market publishes many types of applications. Users can download games, maps and productivity and reference applications. There are also specific applications for accessing popular social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter™.
Devices that use the Android™ operating system include phones, netbooks and e-book readers. The operating system has been made widely available on phone models carried by T-Mobile®, which sold the first Android™-based phone in 2008, but Android™ has become available on phones offered through many other carriers, as well. Android™ comes pre-installed on select mobile devices, but some users have also been able to install Android™ on other devices.
The Android™ operating system is based on the Linux kernel and is open source. It was originally developed by Android Inc., but the firm was later purchased by Google™ and then by the Open Handset Alliance. Android™ phones and the Android™ operating system are still often referred to as Google™ phones and the Google™ operating system because of their strong affiliation with Google™ and because Android™ devices are controlled using Java libraries developed by Google™.