Android Development Glossary

With thanks to

For a more comprehensive list of terms visit

ROM: Literally this means “Read Only Memory.” This is basically the operating software thats run. On the Android platform, Custom ROM’s are created by developers. These are customer operating softwares created outwith the control of Google or the manufacturer.

AOSP: Android Open Source Project, effectively this is a place where the code that Google use is placed. This can be downloaded and compiled by anyone with the correct know how.

.apk: The file extension of an Android application

Apps: The programs you run and download on any smartphone. These can be gamesm utilities etc.

Bootloader: An internal mode on a phone that helps in the flashing of ROMs and other behind-the scenes actions. This is locked in most factory phones. Unlocking this enables flashing of software to the phone.

Bloatware: This is the stock preloaded software of a phone. This in most instances is un-needed and a lot of ROM developers remove this to increase performance and battery life.

Command line: In Windows, it’s a DOS prompt or Command Prompt. In Linux or Mac, it’s Terminal.

Dalvik Cache: Writable cache that contains the optimized bytecode of all apk files (apps) on your Android device. Having the information in it’s own cache makes applications load faster and perform better.

Fastboot: Another mode akin to the bootloader, from which you can manually flash low-level components onto a phone.

Kernel: The basic Linux building block of Android. It’s what lets your phone do its thing. Many developers build custom kernels just like ROM’s, these can allow you to change a lot of the performance components of the phone.

Launcher:  The part of the Android user interface on home screens that lets you launch apps, make phone calls, etc. Is built in to Android, or custom launchers can be purchased in the Android Market.

OTA: Over the Air, this is the way most updates are performed.

Recovery Mode: A small separate operating mode you can boot your device into, used for device administration. Two popular custom recovery modes are Amon Ra and Clockwork.

Root: A method of unlocking the Android operating system to allow deeper programs deeper access than is allowed out of the box.

Widget:A slice or certain view of an application that can be placed on one of your homescreens, for quick and easy acc

Wipe(hard reset): This basically means as you would think, a complete factory reset erasing all data. This may or may not erase what is on the SD Card.ess.

14 responses

7 07 2012

This is Nice for reference purposes. (y)

10 07 2012

Haven’t had a chance to buy an Android device yet. But I may go for low-priced Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro very soon.

10 07 2012

Better go with xperia P…Better device in every manner apart from hardware keyboard but, you won’t miss it.

10 07 2012

I won’t miss the keyboard, actually. I’m comfortable typing in capacitive touchscreen. Xperia P is not just affordable to me.

10 07 2012

What’s your budget?

15 07 2012
Nader Nazemi

Great blog.

15 07 2012


16 07 2012

Very helpful for non techie people like me 🙂 thanks

17 07 2012


19 07 2012

Nice ! simple to all …

19 07 2012

Thanks !

1 08 2012

educational post. you’re always making us learn something new, thanks.

15 08 2012

just love it, keep adding and editing, will you ?

15 08 2012

definately, if there is anything in specific anybody would like included let me know and i’ll add it, these were the most useful ones for me in the beginining.

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