A trip to Android history is really refreshing as all its version codes have been named after delicious desserts. Another interesting fact is, every Android version after 1.5 has been named in an alphabetical order. No specific code names were given to versions 1.0 and 1.1.
The base operating system of Android has seen a number of updates since the initial release and is continually developed by the Open Handset Alliance and Google. Android 1.0, the first commercial version, was released on September 23, 2008. Each new version release gradually brought significant transformations in mobile app development services, particularly Android app development services.
Android Versions 1.0 to 1.1
The first version of Android, i.e., Android 1.0 was launched in 2008 without a code name. Several features that you find in the latest versions of Android were missing in Android 1.0. These include multi-touch capability, an on-screen keyboard, and paid apps. However, Android 1.0 had the ability to use home screen widgets and also had a suite of early Google apps like Calendar, Maps, and Gmail.
Android 1.1 was launched in February 2009 with some API changes and improvement in the Maps app. This version resolved a number of issues that were encountered in Android 1.0.
Android Version 1.5: Cupcake
Android 1.5 was launched in April 2009 with plenty of changes in User Interface. It provided support for folders and widgets on the home screens and also featured camcorder functions, Bluetooth support, and new upload services like Picasa and YouTube. This was the first version to have an on-screen keyboard and support for video recording.
Android Version 1.6: Donut
For the first time, Android provided the quick search box, support for different screen sizes, and support for CDMA networks in its new version – Android 1.6, which was released in September 2009. Donut was a big revolution in the Android world as it brought support for higher-resolution touchscreens and improvements in Android Market, camera, and gallery support. As a matter of fact, this version provided a base for the upcoming features.
Android Versions 2.0 to 2.1: Eclair
Android 2.0 made its debut in late 2009 with some massive changes to the operating system and features like new lock screen, HTML5 browser support, and Google Maps navigation. The bug fix version, i.e., Android 2.1 was released in December 2009. Some of the other notable features of Eclair were Bluetooth 2.1 support, a multi-touch support mechanism, live papers, digital zoom and flash options for camera.
Android Version 2.2: Froyo
Android 2.2 was launched just 4 months after the launch of Android 2.1. This version brought performance improvements and some significant front-facing features. It provided support for Voice Actions, which enabled users to perform various functions like making notes by tapping an icon and speaking a command. It had mobile hotspot support and uniquely redesigned PIN lock home screen with standard dock at the bottom. Besides this, Froyo featured support for Flash to web browser of Android.
Android Version 2.3: Gingerbread
Released in December 2010, Gingerbread came with a big refinement in home screen, Android’s stock widgets, and multi-touch support. Moreover, it also featured SIP internet calling, an improved keyboard, a few sensors like gravimeter and barometer, download manager, and support for the front-facing camera.
Android Versions 3.0 to 3.2: HoneyComb
Android 3.0 Honeycomb was specifically made for tablets and was released with a lot of new User Interface elements and Google’s new distribution method. The Status Bar at the bottom of the screen was replaced by a new System Bar. The standard Google apps, including the Talk app and the Gmail app were also updated in Honeycomb. Versions 3.1 and 3.2 were released later in rapid succession.
Android Version 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich
Ice Cream Sandwich reunited phones and tablets with a single, unified UI vision and brought refinements in the visual elements of Honeycomb. Some major highlights of Android Version 4.0 were new apps for calendar and mail, data usage analysis, and face unlock. With this version, Google brought all its services under “Google Play.”
Android Versions 4.1 to 4.3: Jelly Bean
This version was launched in June 2012 on Nexus 7 tablet at Google I/O. Jelly Bean brought several new features and changes in the UI of Ice Cream Sandwich and was one of the great looking mobile operating systems of that time.
Android 4.2 landed with some amazing features like new quick settings shortcuts that were accessible through the notification bar, gesture-based typing, improved stock Android camera app, and new lock screen widgets. Android 4.3 was released with support for OpenGL ES 3.0 and Bluetooth Low Energy.
Android Version 4.4: KitKat
KitKat entirely modernized the look of Android and represented lighter color schemes. It brought a transparent status bar, full-screen apps, a new phone dialer, “Ok, Google” search command, and a new Hangouts app. Another important aspect of KitKat was the introduction of Emoji on the keyboards of Google.
Android Versions 5.0 to 5.1: Lollipop
Android 5.0 Lollipop was released in the fall of 2014. With this version, Google reinvented Android and gave it a whole new look. A plethora of new API changes were made in Lollipop.
Android 5.1 Lollipop improved the battery life and overall stability and came with amazing features like dual SIM support, priority mode alarm, temporary notification dismissal, and HD audio calls.
Android Version 6.0: Marshmallow
Some of the amazing features of Android 6.0 Marshmallow were inbuilt fingerprint sensor support system, fully supported USB C, opt-in app permission, simplified volume slider, Google Now on tap for easy search, and doze mode that cuts down the power consumption when the device is idle. This version enabled the user to format the MicroSD card.
Android Versions 7.0 to 7.1: Nougat
Nougat brought new features for security, productivity, and performance. Google Now was replaced with Google Assistant. It also added some significant features like split-screen mode, quick switching between apps, an improved notifications system, customizable quick settings, app links, multi-language support, circular app icons support, Daydream VR mode, fingerprint swipe down gesture, night light, app shortcuts support, etc.
Android Version 8.0 and 8.1: Oreo
This is the latest version of Android that was released in 2017. It has added various capabilities to the Android platform such as notification snoozing option, a native picture-in-picture mode, improved Wi-Fi signal strength and speed, reduced inactive app size for saving space, revamped power menu, battery saving navigation buttons, and reminder for phone setup.
We are eagerly waiting for Android ‘P’ version (yet-to-be numbered and named) which is currently in a public beta preview. We hope, you too are!