Doc: sdk intro

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What is the Android SDK?

The Android SDK is a software development kit provided by Google for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux computers. The Android SDK is primarily intended to help developers create, test, and debug their Android apps. To that end, the SDK provides documentation, example code, virtual Android machines for running apps, framework code, support for development environments, debugging tools, and more.

Of special interest to end users who are interested in installing and running alternative operating systems (such as CyanogenMod) are two tools in particular:

  • adb -- the Android Debug Bridge, which provides a conduit between your computer and your devices, allowing you to "push" files to your computer from your device, "pull" files from your device to your computer, and even interact with your device via a command-line "shell". adb is a very useful tool that you should expect to use frequently if you're interested in hacking around with your device.
  • fastboot -- fastboot is another tool used for flashing new operating systems, wiping partitions, unlocking some devices, and more.

How do I get/install the Android SDK?

You can get full installation instructions for your platform from the official Android SDK web site. If you are not interested in doing Android application development, and only intend to use the SDK tools for adb and fastboot, then look for the section titled GET THE SDK FOR AN EXISTING IDE and download the SDK Tools package.

Helpful Tip

If you plan on writing Android apps, you may wish to look at Android Studio, which is a free IDE, or Integrated Development Environment, that can assist you in developing your programs. You can think of an IDE as, in part, a very, very-enhanced text-editor that tracks all of the files that make up your app. It can also make coding suggestions, provides tools for editing user interfaces, checks your syntax as you go, and can help you run and debug the apps in different versions of Android too.