Android OS Version History and Key Features

In October 2005 Google acquired Android Inc as one of its product. Since then Android has come long way with significant improvements. Let’s trace the history of Android to delve into deep understanding of the product.

android version history

Commercially released on 23 September 2008, first android version to hit the consumer level was 1.0 which was debut on HTC dream.  1.0 introduced the android market, brought the pull down notifications every one of us are familiar with. It has app called Google sync for those who use Google app for calendar, map, documents so on.  It has no copy and paste though at that time.

1.1 was a bug fix with still no facility for copy and paste. It did however bring with it improved apps with local search and business listening.

1.5 is where it starts getting interesting. Widgets made their first appearance in android 1.5 cupcake. It’s also where the unique desert based android naming convention began. Android media playback improved immensely.  Copy and paste made its first appearance in the browser and phone pulled Google account pictures of friends into contact list. There were other improvements too but the most interesting amongst them was the option to select different software keyboard. This lead to the rise of apps like swipe.

On September 15, 2009 Google released the next major iteration of its OS-1.6 Donut .Important feature that Donut brought was support for WVGA resolutions along with some speed improvements in apps like search. It was with Donut that option for voice searching was added. It also introduced turn by turn navigation app that is now serving as a major selling factor for Android Smartphone.

Released just after a month after Donut on 26 October 2009, Android 2.0 and 2.1 both lived under the name Eclair which is a bit strange given the other updates that  have continue to get their own desert based names. Eclair added a much improved keyboard. It bought some much needed improvements to the camera including white balance macro focus and scene modes. HTML 5 support was added to the browser and the live wallpaper features of the android that we all know came aboard too.

Android 2.2 Froyo brought changes and new features. It introduced Adobe flash support and automatic updating to the android market made its appearance. The single biggest improvement though was the addition of USB and wireless tethering.  Wireless tethering allows the users to turn their phones to wireless hotspot.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread was released in beginning of December 2010. It brought some performance gains, via the addition of garbage collection. Near Field Communication was also added, along with the first version of Google wallet.

Android 3.0/3.1/3.2 Honeycomb was launched in February and specifically developed with tablets in mind. The new OS came with new Tablet UI , revamped widgets and better multitasking.

Android 4.0 Ice Cream –Released in October 2011, Ice Cream sandwich has been single biggest update in Android History. The UI and general design of OS got slicker, more minimal. Face lock was added along with it came data usage section.

Android 4.1/4.2/4.3 Jelly Bean was launched in July 9 2012. The interface got smoother, more refined. It brought Google’s Chrome browse, expandable notifications, and most importantly Google Now.

Google has now launched Android Kitkat- Like other updates it has also brought some improvements with it. Dialer has enhanced both in design and functionality. You just need to say “OK” to open the app and search for what you need. Improved printing, NFC payments are some of the highlights of Android Kitkat.

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