Android terms simplified


Android Enthusiast
I'm going to attempt to simplify a few Android terms you will probably hear here on AndroidForums. I will try to associate each term with simple automotive things, such as an Engine. Let's get started! :D

CPU- This is what powers your device (like an engine in a car). CPU power is measured in MegaHertz (MHz), and sometimes in GigaHertz (GHz, 1,000 MHz equals 1GHz). The higher the MHz, the better. With faster processors, comes faster responsibilities :p (although a faster processor is a good thing, the higher speed a processor is at, the faster your battery will drain. This is where kernels come into place, we'll get to those later). There are also multiple core CPUs, which are basically multiple CPUs in one. The more cores, the faster the CPU is (generally).

GPU- Renders graphics so the CPU can process them (the CPU also does some rendering). GPU power is also measured in MHz

RAM- RAM is basically active memory used to store running apps, and graphics inside the apps, for faster access to the apps inside the RAM. Apps don't get loaded into the RAM until something makes them (user input, autostarts, etc.). RAM is measured in megabytes, and sometimes gigabytes (1,000 megabytes equals 1 gigabyte). The more total RAM, the better.

Operating System (OS)- Numerous amounts of software (apps, user interface, features) that uses hardware (CPU, GPU, RAM) to power these features, and also manages the hardware (Raises and lowers CPU speed according to needs, optimizes the hardware to squeeze out the most performance, etc.).Different operating systems have the own pros and cons (Like Cars, trucks, and SUVs)

Root- If you have root permissions, you pretty much have permissions to do whatever you like to the software (with certain software you can also control the hardware) If you want root permissions, look under the All Things Root guide
for your device here at AndroidForums.

ROM- A custom version of an operating system with its own unique software (think of it as aftermarket additions to a vehicle). Custom ROMs customize ROMs to give you features that otherwise wouldn't be given to you. (Need root and Custom Recovery)

Kernel- The kernel does all the work when it comes to the OS. It manages the hardware to power the software as efficiently as possible. A custom kernel often adds the ability to overclock (OC) the CPU (raise the CPU speed and sometimes GPU). A kernel is similar to a transmission in a vehicle.

Sorry, I couldn't think of automotive related examples for most of them :p Will add on to this later.


The Doctor
I'd contest: Less used RAM better for performance and battery life. This is Android, not Windows. Android is designed to open and load apps faster from cached RAM. In Android/Linux, free RAM is wasted RAM.


Moderati ergo sum
But cached apps don't really decrease RAM availability

That's more accurate.

Here's the Reader's Digest condensed version of Android Memory management ( <-- Reader's Digest reference .... yes, I'm old :p):

OS and running apps have priority to the memory space. Whatever is left is loaded with recently used and frequently used apps/data until there is very little unused memory. However, that memory holding the cached apps is still considered available since it can dump it if needed by launching an app that's not cached.