What Are The Kernel, The Base Band and The Compilation in a Device Android?

When you enter the settings of Android device information you assail all kinds of data and numbers of versions, which are not always very easy to understand. The simplest is “version of Android”, but is accompanied by others not as intuitive as “baseband version”.

What do they mean? What do you serve? Do you need to do something with this data? If the curiosity of what are all these numbers and versions also bites you, read on for an explanation in plain words.

What is the Android Kernel?

Android uses a variation of the Linux Kernel but the essence is the same as this: is the core of the system and make bridge between hardware components and applications.

As a manager of mediate between the hardware and the system, the Android Kernel includes a series of vital components such as controllers screen, audio, integrated cameras or energy management.

Diagram of the architecture of Android, by Smieh – Anatomy Physiology of an Android, CC BY – SA 3.0, Link

This is why those who like trying out different ROM frequently experience also with different versions of Kernel created or modified by the community. A third-party kernel You can include performance improvements, allowing the overclock (increase the processor clock frequency) or add support for features that is not included in the Kernel of factory (such as tethering, for example).

For the user of a foot, the version of the Kernel is not very relevant It is that was distributed with the latest version of the system (or ROM) that is installed on the device, and little else you can do about it. Although it includes the date on which the Kernel was compiled, actually have a few months is no problem if no error therein has not been detected.

In versions of Kernel, more is not necessarily better, as the Android Kernel are generally based on three versions of Linux Kernel: 3.4, 3.10, and 3.18. It makes no sense, therefore install a single Kernel because it is more “new”. The reasons should be others, such as performance optimizations and improvements in the autonomy of the battery.

What is the version of the baseband?

Of Android, or baseband baseband, is similar in some ways to the Kernel, although still more specific. It is the driver software of the data connection of the phone, i.e., the modem. In some devices you may also include handlers for other “radio” devices such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and GPS, but it is not normal today.

The version of the baseband rarely it is updated by the manufacturer unless that it has detected a problem with connectivity in the phone. If so, a more modern version can be included in an update of the system, in the same way to as happens with the Kernel.

Once again, the user of a foot You should not worry about the baseband version of your device. More advanced users not tend too play this section unless any of the versions of the base-band does not operate with a different version of the operating system that you are installing by using a ROM or similar situations.

What is the build number?

The third mysterious element in the Android software info is the number of compilation, in English, build number. This element is perhaps most famous for being that allows you to activate the Developer options After hitting on him seven times.

The build number is the exact version of the Android system that it is installed and is related to the version of Android, but it is not the same. The difference between the Android version and build version It is that one version of Android you can compile several times. For example, a manufacturer could create different versions, correcting errors or modifying certain applications, but would remain the same version of Android (Marshmallow, Nougat, etc.)

Although its name says it is a “number”, it includes almost everything less numbers. The format can be changed, be shorter or longer, but always begins with a combination of six letters and numbers, followed by a point and more information.

These six letters and numbers are not random, they follow an order explained in the Google documentation:

  • The first letter corresponds to the version of Android.
  • The second letter identifies the version code branch, where R the main branch.
  • The third letter and two numbers that accompany it are a date code.
  • The last letter corresponds to various versions of the current code.’

Two examples of compilation versions: Marshmallow (left) and (right) Lollipop

For example, the code MMB29K corresponds to Marshmallow October 2015, which is information that is well know it, but probably you will not help much. Knowing the version of the operating system that you have installed you will suffice most of the time.

The letters that follow the build number identifies the specific version of the system modified by the manufacturer for that particular device. For example, one phone could receive an update from the manufacturer to fix an error and the first part would remain equal (is the same version of Android), but not the second.