Android was born on November 5, 2007. Since then, it’s grown up to be one of the most dominant operating systems in the world. But that didn’t just happen overnight. Like all of us, Android went through some awkward years and learned some hard lessons before becoming the OS it is today. Here’s a retrospective showing how we got to where we are. The first phone of android os was HTC DREAM.
Versions 1.0 and 1.1 were not released under specific code names. Android code names are confectionery-themed and have been in alphabetical order since 2009’s Android 1.5 Cupcake, with the most recent major version being Android 7.0 Nougat, released in August 2016.
Global android version distribution since December 2009 [Source-Wikipedia]
CUPCAKE (Android -1.5)
On April 27, 2009, the Android 1.5 update was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.27. This was the first release to officially use a codename based on a dessert item (“Cupcake”), a theme which would be used for all releases henceforth. The update included several new features and UI amendments
It had a support for third-party virtual keyboards (oh yeah, no more hardware keys!) and the ability to upload videos and photos to YouTube and Picasa. Oh, and it also got widgets!
On September 15, 2009, Android 1.6 – dubbed Donut – was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.29. Included in the update were numerous new features.
This update brought along universal search, text-to-speech superpowers and CDMA compatibility (hello, Verizon).
On October 26, 2009, the Android 2.0 SDK was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.29 and codenamed Eclair.
The camera got a little TLC with some much needed flash support, digital zoom, and white balance features to name a few, and how about them live wallpapers! Google also put some thought into a smarter keyboard that could select contact names as suggestions. Not the biggest update in Android’s history, but perhaps one the more deliciously named.
On May 20, 2010, the SDK for Android 2.2 (Froyo, short for frozen yogurt) was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.32.
The speed boost in 2.2 is fantastic, but what makes Froyo a truly great update is that it tightens bolts all across the entire platform. Android has evolved into a real product, on a totally different level than its first year….Android 2.2 is the first version of Android that feels totally complete—it performs like it should and it has most of the features it should. It’s not quite at the point my mother could use it without a precarious learning curve, but you can see how it’s going to get better. It’s safe to say that with Froyo, Android has become something that most people really can use—and love.
On December 6, 2010, the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) SDK was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.35.
Google finally took a moment to look at form in late 2010. The user interface was overhauled with a darker theme that also continued Android’s speed uptick. But that didn’t mean new features completely disappeared. Android added support for NFC, the super useful download manager, and even simple things like improved copy and paste.
On February 22, 2011, the Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) SDK – the first tablet-only Android update – was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.36. The first device featuring this version, the Motorola Xoom tablet, was released on February 24, 2011.
Honeycomb primarily focused on one thing and one thing only—tablets. The iPad released only months earlier in the fall of 2010, and Android needed an OS that could compete in a bigger form factor not fit for your pocket. This included what Google called a “Holographic” interface and a more intuitive keyboard for bigger devices.
Ice Cream Sandwich(Android-4.0)
The SDK for Android 4.0.1 (Ice Cream Sandwich), based on Linux kernel 3.0.1,was publicly released on October 19, 2011. Google’s Gabe Cohen stated that Android 4.0 was “theoretically compatible” with any Android 2.3.x device in production at that time. The source code for Android 4.0 became available on November 14, 2011. Ice Cream Sandwich was the last version to officially support Adobe Systems Flash player.
Jelly Bean (Android-4.1)
Google announced Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) at the Google I/O conference on June 27, 2012. Based on Linux kernel 3.0.31, Jelly Bean was an incremental update with the primary aim of improving the functionality and performance of the user interface. The performance improvement involved “Project Butter”, which uses touch anticipation, triple buffering, extended vsync timing and a fixed frame rate of 60 fps to create a fluid and “buttery-smooth” UI. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was released to the Android Open Source Project on July 9, 2012, and the Nexus 7 tablet, the first device to run Jelly Bean, was released on July 13, 2012.
Google announced Android 4.4 KitKat on September 3, 2013. Although initially under the “Key Lime Pie” (“KLP”) codename, the name was changed because “very few people actually know the taste of a key lime pie.” Some technology bloggers also expected the “Key Lime Pie” release to be Android 5. KitKat debuted on Google’s Nexus 5 on October 31, 2013, and was optimized to run on a greater range of devices than earlier Android versions, having 512 MB of RAM as a recommended minimum; those improvements were known as “Project Svelte” internally at Google. The required minimum amount of RAM available to Android is 340 MB, and all devices with less than 512 MB of RAM must report themselves as “low RAM” devices.
Android 5.0 “Lollipop” was unveiled under the codename “Android L” on June 25, 2014, during Google I/O. It became available as official over-the-air (OTA) updates on November 12, 2014, for select devices that run distributions of Android serviced by Google, including Nexus and Google Play edition devices. Its source code was made available on November 3, 2014. Lollipop features a redesigned user interface built around a responsive design language referred to as “material design”. Other changes include improvements to the notifications, which can be accessed from the lockscreen and displayed within applications as top-of-the-screen banners. Furthermore, Google made internal changes to the platform, with the Android Runtime (ART) officially replacing Dalvik for improved application performance, and with changes intended to improve and optimize battery usage, known internally as Project Volta.
Android 6.0 “Marshmallow” was unveiled under the codename “Android M” during Google I/O on May 28, 2015, for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 phones, Nexus 9 tablet, and Nexus Player set-top box, under the build number MPZ44Q. The third developer preview (MPA44G) was released on August 17, 2015 for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player devices, and was updated to MPA44I that brought fixes related to Android for Work profiles.
It comes with some awesome additions, including a new way of handling app permissions, a new and improved Google Now, and official fingerprint sensor support. Google’s also improved battery life with Doze and bundling in the Android Sensor Hub in its latest Nexus smartphones, meaning you should be able to survive the day without needing to pull out a charging cable
Android “Nougat” (codenamed N in-development) is the major 7.0 release of the Android operating system. It was first released as a developer preview on March 9, 2016, with factory images for current Nexus devices, as well as with the new “Android Beta Program” which allows supported devices to be upgraded directly to the Android Nougat beta via over-the-air update. Final release was on August 22, 2016. The final preview build was released on July 18, 2016, with the build number NPD90G.
The big update is multi-windowed support, meaning apps can finally be used in split screen views.
Android “O” (Android-8.0)
Android “O” is the working title of an upcoming release of the Android mobile operating system. It was first released as an alpha quality developer preview on March 21, 2017.
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