Is Android App Open Source?

Android, Android Apps

Is Android App Open Source?

Android is a widely used operating system for smartphones and tablets. It is developed by Google and based on the Linux kernel. One of the key aspects that sets Android apart from other mobile operating systems is its open-source nature.

What does open source mean?

Open source refers to a type of software whose source code is freely available to the public. This means that anyone can view, modify, and distribute the code. Open-source software encourages collaboration and allows developers to contribute to improving the software.

Android’s open-source components

While Android as a whole is not fully open source, it does have many open-source components. The core of Android, known as the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), is an open-source platform that provides the basic building blocks for creating an Android device or application.

The AOSP includes essential components such as:

  • Kernel: The Linux kernel forms the foundation of the Android operating system. It manages device drivers, memory management, and other low-level functions.
  • Libraries: Android provides a set of libraries that developers can use to build applications.

    These libraries include functions for graphics rendering, database access, networking, and more.

  • Dalvik Virtual Machine: The Dalvik Virtual Machine (DVM) is responsible for executing Android applications. It runs bytecode generated from Java source code.

Proprietary components in Android

In addition to its open-source components, Android also includes proprietary components developed by Google or other companies. These proprietary components are not available as part of AOSP and are usually bundled with Google Play Services or licensed separately.

Some examples of proprietary components in Android include:

  • Google Play Services: Google Play Services is a suite of APIs and services provided by Google. It includes features like location services, push notifications, and in-app purchases.
  • Google Play Store: The Google Play Store is the official app store for Android devices.

    It allows users to browse and download applications, games, music, movies, and more.

  • Google Apps: Google Apps include popular applications like Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, and Chrome. These apps are developed by Google and are not part of the AOSP.

Benefits of open-source Android

The open-source nature of Android brings several advantages:

  • Customization: Developers can modify the Android source code to create custom versions of the operating system tailored to specific needs or preferences.
  • Collaboration: The open-source community can contribute to the development and improvement of Android. This leads to faster bug fixes, security updates, and feature enhancements.
  • Innovation: Open source allows for innovation as developers can experiment with new ideas without restrictions imposed by closed platforms.


While Android is not entirely open source, it does provide a significant amount of open-source components through the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). These components form the foundation for building Android devices and applications.

The inclusion of proprietary components enhances the functionality and user experience of Android devices. The open-source nature of Android fosters collaboration, customization, and innovation within the developer community.