The History of Google Android Versions

With the rapid advancement in the history of smartphones. Most Particularly, the release of initial iPhone launched in 2007 caught people’s attention. Since, then iOS became world’s first smartphone operating system to feature relatively exciting features, alongside with the introduction of Google’s Android OS, devices powered with Android gained massive success and popularity around the world. Significantly, Android and iOS rivalry has been the common debate going on for more than a decade now, alongside both platforms are producing quality-oriented apps that are revolutionizing the smartphone industry.

The Android OS was initially released for HTC-made T-Mobile smartphone in 2008, although people might not know the detailed history of Android, as it was developed and implemented even before it was available on smartphones. Seems Surprising? Isn’t it? Yes, it’s true that Android was initially developed by Andy Rubin, a renowned computer programmer in the year 2003, who was initially developing OS for digital cameras. Soon, he realized that market sector of digital camera based operating systems possibly wasn’t on a feasible track, in this way, Android Incorporation drifted its attention from digital cameras to smartphones.

In 2005, Google purchased Apple Inc. however, people had uncertainty about the fact google won’t be able to make it to the cellular business market. Subsequently, Google took a step towards the cellular business for the marketing of Android to various smartphone manufacturing companies, initially HTC implemented the initial version of Android, by debuting its first smartphone the HTC Dream in 2008, equipped with Android 1.0.

Initially started with the Android Donut embedded with HTC Dream, since then Android has experienced tremendous growth by its later versions. In this Article, we have discussed about the historical variants of Android OS, and how progressively Android OS has impacted the smartphone industry worldwide.

Android 1.0:

The Android 1.0 was the initial version that utilized the plethora of Android OS, technically, it didn’t occupy the place of full-fledged OS, as it was initially a testing phase for development of the complete OS. However, it had quite familiarities which were adopted by the later variants. such as, most of the developers agreed on the point of dealing with notifications, pull-down notification window that surpassed the iOS notification system.

Initially, Google Play Store, was termed as Market, it was released few months later then App Store, it was revealed that both the competitors want to have a centralized unit to store all the apps and relevant stuff, which now seems to be most common element used in every smartphone.

Android 1.0 also revealed the concept of using home screen widgets, a feature which is lacked by iOS till to date. However, developers weren’t able to develop their own widgets at that time. This situation was tackled in the later versions. Additionally, the initial version of Android was embedded with Gmail, the ground-breaking service used worldwide.

Android 1.5 Cupcake:

Android 1.5 Cupcake caught the market attention when it was released in the year 2009, It was reportedly considered as the breakdown in the history of Android. The rapid enhancement in this variant was the first on-screen keyboard, a support which the previous variants were lacking, several refinements to the Android UI were also implemented on the platform.

Cupcake also possessed a refurnished framework for third party enabled mobile app widgets, which can be considered as one of the unique features, and it was also regarded as the first ever platform to have an option of video recording.

Android 1.6: Donut:

Later, In the fall of 2009 Android come up with a new revolution that rolled around the world, commonly it was known as Android 1.6 Donut. This variant of Android was capable to operate on different screen resolutions and sizes, at that time it was one of the critical feature’s for quite a long time period.

Moreover, CDMA support was an added enhancement for Android Users to possible to operate on CDMA Networks such as Verizon etc. Also, the famous android’s search box was first introduced in Android 1.6 Donut.

Android 2.0 and 2.1: Éclair:

Moving ahead, Android 2.0: Éclair was introduced six weeks later than Android 1.6 Donut, also Android Éclair 2.1 update was released few months later. It was the first Android Version that always been one step ahead of the mainstream operating system, initially it was caused by the marketing campaign led by the Motorola’s Droid Phone featuring Verizon variant.

Google Maps Navigation was an essential feature released on Android 2.0 and 2.1: Éclair variants. Furthermore, the internet browsing got improved, new features like HTML5 Support was integrated with the browser along with the capability to play videos, which kept Android on par with iOS at that time period. Lastly, the lock screen got improved as it allowed users to swipe to unlock the phone, similar to the iOS, via lock screen, users also got the ability to change the phone’s mute feature.

Android 2.2: Froyo:

Android 2.2: Froyo was released in the month of May 2010, four months later after the arrival of Android 2.1 Éclair version. Google enhanced the KPIs in Android 2.2: Froyo, Major improvement was the availability for Flash on Android, and a revamped home screen added rapid enhancement inducing within the whole working procedure.

Android 2.3: Gingerbread:

Later, In the month of December 2010, seven months later after the release of Android 2.2: Froyo. This version was the improved variant of its predecessor, it comprised of improved UI, New Buttons, Widgets, Redesigned Menus, Icons and Themes were Implemented making Android, an eye-catching OS for Smartphone Users.

Android 3.0: Honeycomb:

This version of Android was introduced in 2011, this version came up with several changes that weren’t available on its predecessor, Android 2.3: Gingerbread. It featured visual design user interface, adding 3D like User-Interaction, improved multitasking and a set of responsive design elements for large screen devices, particularly tablet PCs.

The messaging feature, control and password functionalities were also improved, as the company proceeded further to redesign the complete sophisticated OS for Android powered devices.

Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich:

Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich was released in the last quarter of 2011, this version brought updated features for the devices powered with Android OS. It featured sleek interface for easier navigation, panorama camera mode feature, consisting of built-in software providing flexibility and instructions, along with built-in photo editing tools.

Most Importantly, a redesigned app for contacts was implemented along with enhanced networking & information security features such as visual voice email and further a security feature was introduced that allowed users to unlock their phones via facial recognition techniques. The newer Android Beam featured, Near Field Communication (NFC) for transmitting information of maps, contacts, photos or apps between multiple Android Devices with close interaction of proximity from the transmitting end to the receiving end.

Android 4.1 to 4.3: Jelly Bean:

This version caught the attention of market on July, 2011. Apart from its predecessor, the version 4.1 consisted of several new features including improved notification system with enhanced user controls, AI-base voice recognition for verbally sending emails and relevant stuff etc. Improved Supportability of HTML5 and upgrade to JavaScript Engine version 8.

Furthermore, Google Now, a predictive searching algorithm, that performs functionality of learning and integrating the related content to each specific user. Likewise, Project Butter, an Android Initiative to forecast moments on UI and adjusting frames for the enhancement of responses.

Android 4.4: KitKat:

This version was unrevealed on September 3rd, 2013, its sole purpose was to optimize operating systems for the enhancement of performance on entry-level smartphones and tablets PCs. Initially, it was code-named as “Key Lime Pie”, but later-on it was renamed as “KitKat”.

Android 4.4: KitKat was intended to be designed specifically for devices having lesser performance and computing resources. As of October 2018, Google’s estimated rankings indicate that over 7.6% of all Android Devices using Google Play Services were powered with KitKat.

Android 5.0 & 5.1: Lollipop:

Google revamped Android with its newer lollipop variants in the fall of 2014. Lollipop comprised of the present Material Design Standard, which became visible on the lock screen, devising the whole new procedure to eliminate drawbacks present in the previous versions of Android OS.

Android Lollipop variants featured a new notification system, redesigned app menu, several APIs, less power consumption and diverse enterprise tools, initial devices equipped with Android Lollipop were Nexus 6 Smartphone and HTC’ Nexus 9 Phablet.

Android 6.0: Marshmallow:

The sixth major release in the Android OS series, called Android Marshmallow was initially released as a beta version on May 28, 2015, Later, it was released officially on October 5, 2018, Nexus devices were the initial devices to officially receive Android OS updates.

Android 6.0: Marshmallow solely focused on improving the complete user experiences and issues of its predecessor, Android Lollipop. Several, new features were introduced in Android Marshmallow including new permissions-based architecture, improved APIs for Contextual Assistant, Fingerprint recognition and USB-C connectors, transfer of data and applications to microSD card became possible via the introduction of Android Marshmallow.

The statistical analysis depicts that around 21.3% of devices accessible via Google Play were powered on Android Marshmallow, As of October 2018.

Android 7.0 & 7.1: Nougat:

This series revolved around the consumer market Since 2016, initially Android released its seventh major release, code named, “Nougat” as Alpha-Test versions on March 9, 2016, Later, its was officially release on August 22, 2016, Nexus devices were the first devices to officially receive the Android OS updates, followed by the LG V20 being the first smartphone officially released with Android Nougat.

The Android Nougat series brought significant changes to its predecessors and the development platform, such as ability to display multiple apps on-screen only once within a split-screen view, supportability of internal responses to notification system, enhanced power saving mode known as “Doze” and several other updates were implemented in this operating system.

The news reviled that, as of October 2018, notably 28.2% devices are powered with Android Nougat accessible with Google Play.

Read Article: How To Create a Mobile App Using Android Studio?

Android 8.0 & 8.1: Oreo:

The eight major release in the series of Android OS, officially hit the market on August 17, 2017. The major approaches were improved which were lacked in its predecessor, variety of major features were introduced, comprising of grouping of notifications, picture in picture video support, improved battery usage, performance optimization, Improved Bluetooth 5 support and several other features were officially implemented in this Android version.

The improved variant, Android 8.1: Oreo was officially released in December 2017, Nexus and Pixel devices were notably the first devices to receive the update. This version brought minor updates related to fixing bugs and improved User Interface.

Android 9.0: Pie:

Ten years later, the ninth major release of Android OS captured the marketplace, on August 6th, 2018, the version 9.0 was codenamed as “Pie” later referred as “Android P”. Initially, the google preview variant was brought up on the first developers preview on March 7th, 2018.

Initially, Android “P” was released for Google’s “Pixel” devices and Essential Phone. Albeit, Sony Xperia XZ3 was the first device powered with pre-installed Android Pie version.

The major improvement in this version is the new gesture navigation system, enhanced user experiences, Improved APIs and plenty of rapid improvements are being implemented in this version.


In this article, we have discussed about the brief history of Android OS till to date. We exploratory explained the detailed history of Android OS, as how Android has gone through several dimensions and massive enhancements since its initiation till to date and in future Android OS will avidly reach to the heights. On the other hand, Android app makers following all the updates and create applications according to the latest Android versions like the developers at AppExperts. Hence, it is proven that Android historical developments has provided new edge to the smartphone market.

Checkout: Top 5 Android Games for the year 2019

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