After years of journey, Android is now everywhere. Being open source it’s become popular instantly with the third-party phone makers. Now it is the most popular OS in the smartphone world. Android has outranked approx all other OS including Symbian, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone. Only Apple’s ios are the competitor to android nowadays. The history of Android OS began with official name cupcake 1.5 and the latest release Android Pie 9.0.
The development of Android was started in Palo Alto, California by Android Inc. It was bought by Google in 2005. Andy Rubin, one of the founders of Android was a former employee of Google as the head of the Android division. After 9 years in Google, he left the company to start own hardware start-ups with ‘Essential Products’.
Versions before commercial release
There was two repeatedly developed version released internally by September, 2007. After Alpha version, first public beta was released in November 2007. While all Android releases have its own code names, but in initial release Android 1.0 does not have a name internally or publicly. However, Android 1.1 which was released in Feb 2009, used an internal name called “Petit four”.
The former logo of Android which is a combination of green bug and a robot was made by Irina Blok, who has been a former employer of Google. As Android itself an Open source project Google decided to allow modify and changes of the logo under Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License.
Android 1.5 Cupcake
It is the first official public Android name released on April 27, 2009, henceforth all releases follows ‘dessert’ code name. This updates launched with a bunch of new features including the first auto-rotate option. It is the first platform’s option to record video and playback option in MPEG-4 and 3GP formats. Users now able to upload videos and photos accordingly in YouTube and Picasa. First version which introduced to widgets – miniature app view with the icon which can be embedded in other applications, like placed on Home screen.
Android 1.6 Donut
Within several months new version 1.6, named Donut released on September 15, 2009. The android market which was launched in 2008, changed to Google Play in this update. Screen resolution made one step forward to fit in all size screen resolution and aspect ratios. Search enhancements and a quick search box included into widgets.
Android 2.0 Éclair
Android 2.0 SDK released on October 26, 2009, named Éclair. Éclair was the first android to enter into the mainstream smartphone market, by the ‘Motorola Droid’ which included Android 2.0 out of the box.
This version was making a difference by introducing the new text-to-speech feature. This functionality now changed to the famous ‘OK Google’. Back then, this would start by tapping the microphone icon on the soft keyboard. Live wallpaper in home screen and customizing home screen icons supported from this Android SDK. Google maps navigation system was a big boom back then.
Android 2.2 Froyo
Android 2.3 Gingerbread
On December 6, 2010, Android Gingerbread launched with NFC (Near Field Communication) which let you transmit information when devices are close enough. Battery management improved with tracking down and listing the application which stays awake for too long. Gyroscope and barometer sensors were added. Easter egg started from Gingerbread and follows this trend till now. Support for duel camera for voice or video within Google Talk. Gaming APIs the gave access to developers to make richer, 3d graphics and better audio quality.
Android 3.0 Honeycomb
This version stands apart from the other releases because this API released for tablet screen size devices. On February 2011 Honeycomb introduced through the first Motorola Xoom tablet, enhancing experience of reading books, watching movies.
On-screen navigation buttons introduced along with the new quick settings feature. Also improved UI designs, new Email interface, resizable home screen widgets are some features included in Honeycomb. But it turns out this version is actually not needed in
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Released on October 9, 2011, Android 4.0.1 SDK became a mix of content from both gingerbread and tablet-friendly version Honeycomb. Noticeable update includes favourite app tray on the home screen and first time ‘Face Unlock’ feature. Users now can manage their data usage on both mobile network and over Wi-Fi. NFC got one step further with Android Beam. Share contacts, images, videos with someone else by simply touching the phones together – no need open a menu or app or pair with devices.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
On June 27, 2012, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean released at Google I/O conference. This was basically an incremental update for more fluent User Interface.
Google Now had been introduced in this version along with an actionable notification system. Now
Android 4.4 KitKat
Android KitKat introduced in Google’s Nexus 5 on October 23, 2013. This version was initially named as ‘Key Lime Pie” (“KLP”)’ but later changed to KitKat due to the popularity of Key Lime Pie among people. KitKat was more optimized to support a greater range of smartphones than before versions. Minimum 512 MB RAM recommended to run this version of Android if the smartphones don’t have – they tagged as a ‘lower RAM’ devices. ‘OK Google’ is now easier with the voice command.
On June 2014 a new version of KitKat introduced to the new Android Wear Devices like smartwatches. Though it’s been 5 years since release, Google’s current version platform usage says that 8.6% devices use Android KitKat API 19.
Android 5.0 Lollipop
On June 30, 2014, Google released android version 5.0 with the codename ‘Android L’. A design buff, with the new design language called ‘Material Design’ which improves the UI design quality based on shadows and motion effects. ‘Project Volta’ gave battery life improvements. Now every screen size gets a good responsive quality whether it’s a smartphone or tablet or watch or TVs. Revamped notification bar and lock screen customizable widget allow you to respond to your messages directly from lock screen.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Google Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P got the first pre-installed version of Marshmallow in mid-2015. A bunch of new features added like USB type C support and permission for the application. Google Assistant now available by holding the home button. Doze functionality and app-standby feature added to improve battery optimization. ‘Priority’ mode now renamed with ‘Do Not Disturb’. 22.7% of Android-based smartphones are currently running this version of Android.
Android 7.0 Nougat
Android Nougat (in development name Android ‘N’) released in mid-2016. ‘N’ introduced the new ‘Android Beta Program’ which allows the supported devices to directly update to Android Nougat Beta via OTA (over-the-air) update.
Behind the screen, updates include new JIT (just in time) compiler, to give faster application install and as well as performance in runtime, Vulkan API introduced for stunning 3d graphics quality and Daydream VR Interface.
Fingerprint gesture, ’Clear All’ button, seamless system updates, battery usage alerts and many more features now included. 30.8% Android smartphones currently running on this ‘Nougat’.
Android 8.0 Oreo
8th major update of Android released on December 5, 2017. It is the second time Google choose to make a trademark name for Android (Oreo is owned by Nabisco). Android O mascot statue showed in a press conference in New York City for the first time.
As concern with features, Oreo made a visual change to the settings menu, the autofill framework improves with better management of passwords, data and much more. Dark and light theme now automatic and a visual changes to ‘Restart’ and ’Power Off’ button with a floating navigation bar.
Android 9.0 Pie
Android Pie is the latest major update from Google announced on March 7, 2018. It was officially released on August 6, 2018.
Some cool features added in Android Pie like the new rotate screen button along with the navigation buttons. New look for quick settings and a ‘Lockdown’ mode introduced which disables bio-metric authentication once active. Adaptive battery and brightness feature now save your power consumption
Like the history repeats, Google’s pixel is the first to avail
The future of Android?
Android has come a long way from its very beginning. As the history of Android progresses through the time being it is also expected that we will see more and more new features in the next coming years. As per the market control, Android has taken over the smartphone OS. Apple is far behind Google as the prices do not catch altogether. Market researchers say that Android’s worldwide share in the market is over 85 per cent in 2018. Third party phone makers a this OS because of quick changes and patches of security features is possible by OTA, along with cheap smartphones that can handle the latest OS versions.
Everyone thinks of new Android version names – you have any? Do comment and share your thoughts.