There are so many buzzwords! You can never remember them all, because people (mostly Google) mint new ones all the times. Here are the ones I’ve run across lately:

Table 1. Android Acronyms and Buzzwords
Name Meaning

3G,4G,5G…​

Third, fourth, fifth generation of anything, but commonly used for versions of cellular signal and (in a different series) WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.

A/B

Two system partitions for background update, fallback.

Activity

One screen the user interacts with

AGP

Android Gradle Plugin (whose version number changeth often!)

AIDL

Interface Def’n Language

a.o.*

Java package android.os.*

AOSP

Android Open Source Project

APEX

Android Pony EXpress

Arm

CPU type used on most mobile devices

ART

Android Run Time: a Dalvik replacement (Android 5+)

ASEC

Android SEcure Container - security for files on removable storage (Froyo)

AVB

Android Verified Boot

AVC

SELinux Access Vector Cache, where denials are kept in memory. Used in denial messages.

a.w.*

Java package android.widget.*

AWS

Not Amazon Web Services, but Advanced Wireless Service, frequency band for 3G/4G cell phone service

BDSM

Tool created by Jonathan Levin - Bindump, DumpSys, Service and More dumper

Binder

Basic Inter-Process Communication mechanism in Android

Bionic

Android’s C library

Broadcast Receiver

App component for receiving system-wide change notifications

BSD

Berkeley Software Distribution - originally from UCB, now several projects presenting an alternative to Linux

BSP

Board Support Package/Provider - SoC firmware level

C++

C Incremented aka "C with Classes" for OOP (1977-ish)

C

Major computer programming language since 1973; used in VMs and in JNI. Influence C++, Java, C#, many more.

C#

Microsoft language which started with Java syntax and CLR api names

CTS

Compatibility Test Suite, Google’s test suite for device wishing to ship GMS.

DAC

Discretionary Access Control - relies on user to set permissions restrictively

Dalvik

Original VM for Android (up to 4.4)

Dart

C-family OO Language used in Flutter

DEX

Dalvik Executable: Android bytecode format (format still used with ART)

DTB

Device Tree Blob (binary large object) - ARM-specific

DTBO

Device Tree Blob Overlays - ARM-specific

DTO

Device Tree Overlay - ARM-specific hardware description

eBPF

Android extensible implementation of Berkeley Packet Filter

Flutter

Google toolkit for cross-platform apps, supporting mobile, desktop, web & Fuchsia

Fuchsia

Alternate device/mobile operating system from Google (not Linux based)

GAPP

Google Apps (also Google Advanced Protection Program for account protection)

GMS

Google Mobile Services: code that supports most Google services such as Play, Maps, etc.

GPU

Graphics Processor Unit: processor core specialized for, well, graphics processing. Usually generates images that are fed to a separate display controller.

GSI

Generic System Image

HAL

Hardware Abstraction Layer

HIDL

Hardware Interface Definition Language

HIDL

Hardware/HAL Interface Def’n - obsolete, AIDL variant for HW vendor interfacing

Intent

Java object message representing Intention to perform some action (or notification)

IPC

Inter-Process Communication (like networking but on the same system)

Java

OO Programming language (1995); original language of most Android apps

JetPack

Consolidation of newer APIs (packages androidx.*)

JNI

Java Native Interface: allows to run code written in C/C++

Kotlin

Newer language for writing Android apps

LineageOS

Community project to build enhanced AOSP images for many devices

LSM

Short for Linux Security Modules, a framework which is part of Linux, allows supporting various security implementations.

LTTng

Linux Trace Tool NG

MAC

Mandatory Access Control, a type of access control via which an OS constrains the ability of code to perform actions - the operation must be allowed both by the MAC policy and by any DAC that has been set

macro

A single instruction that expands into a set of instructions when invoked

Mali

A family of GPU designs whose IP is owned by Arm. Often used on Arm-based Android designs.

NAN

Neighborhood Aware Networking

NDK

Native Devel Kit - tools for JNI dev

*Nix

Original 'starnix'; Blanket term for Unix, Linux and like systems

Nothing

Anl name of a particular Android OEM

NSA

National Security Agency of the United States government. Origin of Ghidra.

OAT

'Ahead Of Time' i.e., compiled from DEX to native (acronym reordered for humor) - OAT files are ELF (0x7f 45 4c 46)

ODEX

Optimized DEX file (magic number is 'dey\n035\0' or 0x64 65 0x79 0a 30 33 35 00)

ODM

Original Device Manager - device vendor code level

OEM

Original Equipment Manufacturer - a company that makes Android devices

OOP

Object-oriented programming

PID

Process ID, on Unix/Linux

Pixel

Google’s own line of Android devices, named after Picture Element

Pixel

Picture Element: Each tiny dot making up an image on screen or on a printer.

regex

Regular Expression, a powerful and concise pattern-matching technology.

RPC

Remote Procedure Call (Calling a method on a remote object, in Android usually via Binder)

RIL

Rollback Index (to prevent malware downgrading your device to a less-secure Android version)

scontext

SELinux - Short for Source Context, also referred to as Domain.

SELinux

Short for Security-Enhanced Linux.

SELinux policy

Policy used by SELinux which specifies a set of permissions.

Service

App Component for running in background

SGL

Simple Graphics Library (layer over OpenGL/Vulkan)

SoC

System on a Chip (these are also used in desktop/laptop PCs)

SQLite

SQL subset database that runs in-process; built-in on most mobile OSes

Starnix

Google project to let Fuchsia run Android & Linux apps

/system

Main Filesystem on Android

tclass

SELinux - Short for Target Class.

tcontext

SELinux - Short for Target Context.

Tensor

Google SOC based on Arm

Treble

System re-org to allow easier updating of 3rd-party devices

UID

User ID number assigned to each account

USAP

Unspecialized App Process (blank from Zygote to become an app)

vbmeta

Verified Boot Metadata

/vendor

Partition or directory for OEM-specific files

VINTF

Vendor Interface Object. If you need to know this, you know it.

VNDK

Vendor Native Development Kit, set of vendor-exclusive libraries for building HAL

Vulkan

Graphics API lower level than OpenGL

XDA

Community forum for alternate AOSP builders