The history of Android involves a journey of past many years. Android versions history begins with the release of Android 1.0 beta in 2007. But in reality the history goes much beyond that.
The History of Android
Android Inc. was founded in Paulo Alto, California, US by 4 people in October, 2003 Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears and Chris White. In August, 2005 Google acquired Android Inc. making it a wholly owned subsidiary of giant Search Engine Company. In November, 2007 the Open Handset Alliance was formed, a consortium of companies involving Broadcom Corporation, Google, HTC, Intel, LG, Marvell Technology group, Motorola, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Samsung electronics, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile and Texas Instruments.
The goal behind formation of this consortium was to develop open standards for mobile devices and that is why we are able to find Android on many handsets these days. The very same day Android Beta SDK was released. After this Google started rolling out their Android versions out of which many have their own name.
Android Versions History
Android versions history involves the versions updates from 1.0 till date. We will detail you about all the versions one by one.
1. Android 1.0
- Release Date: September 23, 2008
- Launch Device: HTC Dream (G1)
Android 1.0 was launched with general design for the OS which remained constant with each major iteration release thereafter till pre-Honeycomb. The launcher and icon layout is also familiar to almost every Android user.
The most noticeable feature which came with Android 1.0 was the notification bar which pulled down to get a preview of emails, text messages and so on. Android OS also introduced Google Sync which essentially pulled together user’s contact and calendar info from their Google account on their phone.
The multiple homescreen format was also new for the users which was launched with this version. This feature also remained constant with every version of OS. Widgets were added that came extremely handy for getting information using single tap. Android Market (now Google Play) was also introduced and made available since the first iteration of Android OS.
2. Android 1.1
- Release Date: February 9, 2009
Android 1.1 was the second major iteration released by Google which was mainly meant for fine tuning of OS. The update resolved certain bugs and added other features. Most of the functions remained same in this iteration except for few of the applications particularly made by Google.
3. Android 1.5 Cupcake
- Release Date: April 30, 2009
- Launch Device: T-Mobile MyTouch 3G
This was the first Android OS version titled after sweets and that too in alphabetical order. In this iteration, copy & paste function was introduced to the browser. Camera functionality was added along with the ability to upload videos to YouTube and photos to Picasa.
4. Android 1.6 Donut
- Release Date: September 15, 2009
Android 1.6 Donut cleaned up the operating system and the update included numerous new features including support for higher resolution screens. The Google Search Bar was updated giving its users the ability to search for contacts, apps and cess internet faster. Android 1.6 SDK included expanded Gesture framework and new Gesture Builder development tool.
5. Android 2.0/2.1 Éclair
- Release Date: October 26, 2009
- Launch Device: Motorola Droid
In Éclair, Google included support for HTML5 and added one of the best features i.e. free turn-by-turn navigation. There was also improvement brought in typing speed and auto-correction by improving OS’s keyboard. The other new features included support for Bluetooth v2.1, new browser interface, new calendar features, Live Wallpapers, enhanced built-in camera functions and so on.
6. Android 2.2 FroYo
- Release Date: May 20, 2010
- Launch Device: HTC Nexus One
Nexus line of Smartphones was introduced with the release of FroYo. Nexus devices were co-created by Google to deliver the utmost clean Android experience. In this iteration, USB tethering, Adobe Falsh support and mobile hotspot was added along with the facility of updating apps directly from Android Market (now Google Play) automatically. Camera features were enhanced by adding digital zoom, scene mode, color effect and macro effect.
In this iteration overall performance of the OS was improved by revamping UI and optimized hardware speed.
7. Android 2.3 Gingerbread
- Release Date: December 6, 2010
- Launch Device: Samsung Nexus S
The second Nexus device brought next iteration of Android OS i.e. Android 2.3 Gingerbread again named after a sweet. The second Nexus device was manufactured by Samsung. In this iteration the major features which were added involved support for NFC, UI refinements for simplicity & speed, new keyboard for faster text input, internet calling and one-touch word selection & copy/paste.
Support for front facing cameras and sophisticated resolution screens were also established in addition to above mentioned enhancements.
8. Android 3.0 Honeycomb
- Release Date: February 22, 2011
- Launch Device: Motorola Xoom
Honeycomb was the first Android OS version which was specifically designed for tablets. Lack for hardware buttons were adjusted with virtual on-screen buttons. The same feature was carried over to the next version of Android OS.
Other than virtual buttons built-in apps were also improved for large screen; especially Gmail app and multi-tabbed web browser. Multi-tasking feature was also introduced with Honeycomb version. Previous to Honeycomb Android supported quick app switching but with this iteration users were allowed to bring active apps in front with the help of single push of button after which user can directly jump to the desired app.
Support for multi-core processors along with hardware acceleration was added to get better performance response. In the last update 2.3.7 Google Wallet support was added to Gingerbread devices.
9. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
- Release Date: October 19, 2011
- Launch Device: Samsung Galaxy Nexus
The latest iteration released by Google is Android 4.0 ICS which completely revamped phone interface. Numerous features which were previously introduced with Honeycomb were added to this iteration. In the same line hardware buttons were completely removed and same on-screen buttons were added just like Honeycomb.
The new features included
- New typeface called Roboto
- New Face unlock feature
- Android Beam – A secure NFC powered content sharing platform
- Re-arrangeable folders, Favorites Tray, Screenshots
- Swipe to dismiss notifications, tasks and browser tabs
- W-Fi Direct
- Manage apps running in background
- Revamped Gmail interface.
Besides this the new Google Music app replaced Android built-in music player. Currently only few devices are running on ICS and soon the update will be rolled out for other ICS supporting devices.
The next version is expected to be named as Jelly Bean but that can only be confirmed when Google releases some news related to next version. So this is the Android version history. We will be updating more when new versions will be released.
10. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
- Announced Date: June 27, 2012
- Launch Device: Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Asus Nexus 7
The latest addition to Android versions history is Jelly Bean. Recently in Google I/O 2012 conference Jelly Bean was officially announced. Although this version is still in development and still to be confirmed that which all handsets will be getting this update. Galaxy Nexus running on Jelly Bean was provided to those who attended the conference in San Francisco. As per the changelog following major improvements have been brought in this iteration:
- User interface has been made faster and smoother under Project Butter.
- Notification center has been improved with expandable and actionable notifications
- Offline voice recognition and typing facility.
- Better Google Voice Search.
- Support for external Braille input in enhanced Accessibility options.
- Android Beam with enhanced option to transfer photos and videos.
- Google Now
- App encryption and Smart App updates
We will be updating more on Jelly Bean through its detailed preview report so stay tuned with us.