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Service is a background process in Android, not to be confused with *nix daemons or Windows services

Services are inherently structured in a way that they run in the background, without draining resources. A well designed service should only issue a resource to an activity or application and then shut off once the activity/application has satisfied its requirements from the service.

A *nix daemon/Windows service, are completely different in that they poll and use up a lot of CPU time, which is prohibitively expensive on an Android handset.

An example of such a service is 'GTalk', which checks if there are any new emails via the Gmail application (which communicates via that service) and consumes as little power and resource as possible, within a reasonable time limit.