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The minimum requirements in terms of hardware, software, and programming skills to begin Android development are not very demanding.
Android development tools run on all flavors of computers of relatively recent vintage: Linux, Mac OS 10.4.8 or later (machines with Intel chips only), or Microsoft Windows XP or later. An Android device such as a smart phone is useful (and of course the ultimate target for development), but is in fact not essential to getting started since the software contains virtual device emulators that allow you to develop and test.
The software required for Android development is free and readily available on the Web:
Android is typically programmed using a combination of XML and Java (there is a Native Development Kit that permits programming in C/C++ for specialized tasks, but we will not address that here). Thus some background in these languages will be extremely useful. However, in the material that we will cover complete working code will be available for all examples. Therefore, anyone with some programming experience should be able to use the code as a starting point to learn how to program Java and XML within the Android environment.