One of the most popular smartphone operating systems is Android. It has been a long, strange journey. Android has transformed visually, conceptually and functionally, from its opening to the present day. The names of Android version are mostly of American sweets. And it has been evolving since then. Let’s take a fast-paced tour of all the Android versions till date.
Android Versions 1.0 to 1.1: Where it all started
Android 1.0 made its official public debut in 2008- so ancient that it didn’t even have a codename. Though things were basic back then, Google apps like Gmail, Maps, Calendar, and YouTube was included in the software.
Android Version 1.5: Cupcake
The custom of Android Version name was born with the release of Android 1.5 Cupcake. The Android Interface had numerous refinements, including the first-on screen keyboard. Also, it provided the platform’s first-ever option for video recording.
Android Version 1.6: Donut
Android 1.6 Donut hit the market in 2009. This version rectified some important loopholes in Android’s centre. It included features like operating the OS in different screen sizes and resolutions. Moreover, it also supported CDMA networks like Verizon which will play an important role in Android’s imminent explosion.
Android Version 2.0 to 2.1: Eclair
It was launched in 2009, just after six weeks of the release of Donut and Android 2.1 was released in 2010 in the month of January. Features included in the OS are Bluetooth 2.1 support, digital zoom and flash for the camera, live wallpapers, multi-touch support, and many more. But the most transformative element was the voice-guided turn-by-turn and real-time traffic info.
Android Version 2.2: Froyo
Android 2.3: Gingerbread
Google announced the first phone with Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread in December 2010. It supports SIP internet calling, wireless transaction capability, dual camera and other sensors.
Android 3.0 to 3.2: Honeycomb
It was released in the year 2011. Honeycomb was exclusively made for tablets. It introduced a dramatically reimagined UI for Android. A space-like “holographic” design was etched that traded the platform’s trademark green for blue emphasising on making of a tablet’s screen space.
Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich
Ice Cream Sandwich was released in 2011, with Honeycomb acting as the bridge from old to new. Google attempted to synthesize Honeycomb, upgrading its tablet-only platform to mobile platform. It highlighted a new design and default font, ability to limit and monitor mobile data usage and other upgrades. Carrying over code system elements it provided features like on-screen buttons and card-like appearance for app-switching.
Android 4.1: Jellybean
Jellybean released in 2012 and 2013 made meaningful progress in fine-tuning and building upon it. The biggest change it brought is “Google Now” with expandable and interactive notifications, expanded voice research system and more interactive notifications.
Android 4.4: KitKat
The release of KitKat marked the end of Android’s dark era. Lighter backgrounds and attractive highlights replace the blues and blacks of other versions. The first version of “Ok, Google” was seen in KitKat which allowed people to access Google without even touching the phone. Emojis were also included in Google’s keyboard.
Android 5.0 and 5.1: Lollipop
It hit the market in the year 2014. It introduced a slew of features, including hands-free voice control through “Ok, Google” command with better notification management. Due to some UI improvements, it provides an excellent battery life on some devices.
Android 6.0: Marshmallow
Marshmallow was launched in the year 2015. The most attention-seeking element was Now-On-Tap, a screen-search feature. Though it has tons of potential, the system was never perfected so it had to be removed the following year. Yet, it did introduce features with a lasting impact like granular app permission, support for USB-C, and support for fingerprint readers.
Android 7.0 to 7.1: Nougat
Google’s launch in 2016- Nougat featured a split-screen mode and a Data saver feature. Smaller yet significant features were added like Alt-Tab-like shortcut to snap between apps.
Android 8.0 and 8.1: Oreo
This Android version, named after the famous cookie, was launched in 2017. The master change brought by it was “Project Treble” which modified the OS so that upgrades can be launched faster by the manufacturers. With improved notifications framework, multiple display support and upgrade of Emoji support to Unicode 10 several new features could be seen in this version.
Android 9: Pie
The freshly baked Pie a.k.a Android 9, made its way into the market in 2018. The most transformative feature was its new gesture navigation system, which brought Android’s traditional Home, Back, and Overviews for a large, multifunctional Home Button and a sequence of gesture-based commands. Features like a more effective method of the screenshot, screen brightness control and useful new touch for fingerprint were also introduced.
Android 10: Q
The first Beta preview of Android Q was released in March 2019 followed by updated preview in April and May. The most prominent change is a totally re-imagined interface for Android gestures. To allow faster and consistent rollouts it introduced a new setup for security updates. It provides a simpler way to change a system setting without having to switch away from the present process.