Intents are asynchronous messages which allow application components to request functionality from other Android components. Intents allow you to interact with components from the same applications as well as with components contributed by other applications. For example, an activity can start an external activity for taking a picture.
Intents are objects of the android.content.Intent type. Your code can send them to the Android system defining the components you are targeting. For example, via the startActivity() method you can define that the intent should be used to start an activity.