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Written By: 

Vishal Soni

Android is a commonly used mobile operating system (OS) in smartphones. It is a very handy user interface based on a modified version of Linux kernel. Android has a history of evolution that can be traced to 2003 but it took concrete shape in 2005 thanks to google.

Founders and Developers of Android Operating System

Fig.1: Founders and Developers of Android Operating System – Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears, and Chris White

In October 2003, Android was developed by Andy Rubin, Nick Sears, Rich Miner, and Chris White who founded Android Palo Alto, California. Firstly, Andy Rubin developed Android OS for digital cameras but he realized that the market for digital camera operating systems perhaps was not all that big. In 2005, Android was bought by Google and Andy Rubin along with other co-founders continued working under new owners. In 29 June 2007,iPhone was released by Apple Inc with iOS, which was the first OS in the mobile market. So, Android faced new challenges to beat iOS but during this time Google was still working on Android secretly. In 2008, Google launched Android version 1.0,followed by 1.1, 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.2, 2.3, 3.0, 4.0, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 5.0, 6.0, 7.0, 8.0, and 9.0. The 9.0 version was launched in 2018. More advanced versions will continue to be evolved in the future. Android names started after 1.5 versions and in an an official statement after 4.4 version, Google said, “Since these devices make our lives so sweet, each Android version is named after a dessert.”That’s why all Android versions were named after desserts.

Android Versions released till 2019 up to Android 9.0

Fig. 2: All Android Versions till 2019

Android 1.0 (No name)and1.1 (Petit Four)

Android version 1.0 and 1.1 were also known as alpha and beta versions. Android 1.0 was released on 23 September 2008 and after that, it was updated to1.1 on 9 February 2009. The first phone that was launched with Android 1.0 wasT-Mobile G1 (HTC Dream) in September 2008. This version marked the beginning of Android and it came with a physical keyboard, notification in status bar,camera support, Android market for application;web browser, grouping of icons in one folder, email support, media player, add widgets to home screen,YouTube, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Google apps like Gmail, Google Maps, Google Search,  Google Talk, Google Sync, etc.

Android 1.0 and 1.1 Logo and Appearance

Fig:3: Logo of Android 1.0 and 1.1 and their Look and Feel on a QWERT Smartphone

In February 2009, Android 1.0 version was updated to Android 1.1 and some of the modifications included the provision of attaching a document in messages, longer on-call screen timeout when the phone was put on speaker and detailed view of maps. However, Android was still evolving.

Android 1.5 Cupcake

On 27 April 2009, Android update 1.5 Cupcake was released and the tradition of naming Android version was born. It was the first Android version to have an on-screen keyboard instead of a physical keyboard attached to the mobile earlier; this marked a big revolution. It also supported third-party widgets. While widgets were supported in earlier version too but the third-party developers were not able to put widgets in those versions. Google opened the widgets SDK to third-party developers with the Android 1.5 Cupcake. Before Cupcake, Android features enabled users to only capture pictures but did not support the recording of videos. So, with Cupcake they could record videos in MPEG-4 and 3GPapart from more features like copy-paste in the browser, auto rotation, direct video uploading on youtube and Picasa.

Android 1.5 Logo and Appearance

Fig. 4: Logo of Android 1.5 and its Look and Feel on a Smartphone

Android 1.6 Donut

Android Donut was released on15 September 2009 with an updated version. In this version, Android included CDMA network support such as Verizon, Sprint and a number of big networks in Asia that brought together multitudes of people along with the ability ofthe OS to operate on a variety of screen sizes and resolutions. The donut was the first version that included Quick Search Box that allowed users to accomplish a lot of functions like web-search, store contacts, local files and more directly from home screen.It revolutionized the Android market with the provision of top free and paid apps as part of third-party app catalogue.

Android 1.6 Logo and Appearance

Fig. 5Logo of Android 1.6 and its Look and Feel on a Smartphone

Android 2.0 Eclair

On 26 October 2009,Android 2.0 Eclair was released with Motorola Droid phone that brought some massive changes to the operating system. Android 2.0 was the first device that featured Google Maps navigation. Turn-by-turn directions using Google Maps data included several features found in car navigation such as 3D view, voice guidance and traffic information that too without any charges. This version added HTML5 support to browser,ability to play videos and added screen lock to swipe to unlock. The comma key on the soft keyboard was replaced with a microphone with a simple tap so that users could transcribe anything from their voice and it also supported multiple accounts.

Android 2.0 Logo and Appearance

Fig. 6: Logo of Android 2.0 and its Look and Feel on a Smartphone

Android 2.2 Froyo

On 20 May 2010,Android 2.2 Froyo was released in Nexus One, which was the first Nexus phone to be released and also the first phone to get the Android Froyo update. This update took Android voice capabilities to the next level with Voice Action, which allowed users to perform functions such as searching, getting directions, making notes, setting alarms and more with only sound. They provided five home screen panels instead of three, apart from hotspot. It provided users pin unlock feature, which was perfect for those who didn’t like pattern lock screen.

Android 2.2 Logo and Appearance

Fig. 7: Logo of Android 2.2 and its Look and Feel on a Smartphone

Android 2.3 Gingerbread

On 6 December 2010,Google released Nexus S with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which wasco-developed with Samsung.It was designed with the facility of graphics-intensive 3D games that took gaming to new heights. In this version, the new feature was NFC(Near Field Communication). NFC  is used to transmit information between devices just by bringing them close together and it also includes front facing camera so that people can take selfies. It featured some more sensors like gyroscope, barometers, gravimeters, etc. This version improved the keyboard which offered new interface for keys and added battery management so that users could see the performance of their device.

Android 2.3 Logo and Appearance

Fig. 8: Logo of Android 2.3 and its Look and Feel on a Smartphone

Android 3.0 Honeycomb

Android 3.0 Honeycomb was released on 22 February 2011 in Motorola Xoom. It was later updated to3.1 and 3.2. This version,basically designed for tablet,enhanced the facility of reading books, watching videos, exploring maps and doing many more things. In this version,Physical Home, Back and Menu buttons were removed and replaced with softkeys that were used in navigation. It also featured quick setting and OTG connection so that users could use a USB drive.

Logo of Android 2.3 and its Look and Feel on a Smartphone

Fig. 9: Logo of Android 3.0 and its Look and Feel on a tablet

Android 4.0 IceCreamSandwich

Android 4.0 IceCream Sandwich was released on 19 October 2011 with Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It contained many of Honeycomb’s features such asvirtual keys for Home, Back and Menu buttons as well as new features such as face unlock, swipe away recent apps, notifications, and 1080p video recording, etc. This version introduced app folders, and Data Usage control which enabled users to manage network data to keep costs under control and also added Android beam that allowed two phones to instantly share content via NFC by simply touching them together.

Android 4.0 Logo and Appearance

Fig. 10: Logo of Android 4.0 and its Look and Feel on a Smartphone

Android 4.1 JellyBean

On 27 June 2017, Android 4.1 JellyBean was released and it featured Google Now that allowed people to get information. Google Now gave weather information to know the time to commute before leaving home. This version added notification expanding feature and direct action from notifications. In this version, people could create or switch to multiple accounts with each account having its own customized home screen.

Android 4.1 Logo and Appearance

Fig. 11: Logo of Android 4.1 and its Look and Feel on a Smartphone

Android 4.4 KitKat

Android 4.4 KitKat was released on 25 June 2014 with Nexus 5 that featured the “OkGoogle” feature so that people could access Google Now without touching the phone with their hands. This hands-free activation worked only when screen was on. People were able to send text, get directions or even play a song. It also added full-screen apps, new hangouts app and new phone dialer. This version was designed to support lower RAM like 512 RAM devices.

Android 4.4 Logo and Appearance

Fig. 12: Logo of Android 4.4 and its Look and Feel on a Smartphone

Android 5.0 Lollipop

On 25 June 2014, Android 5.0 Lollypop was released with Nexus 6. This version included “Material Design”. So,Android gotan entirely new user interface based on shadows and motion. Material Design unites the classic principle of good design with the innovation of what’s possible through technology. The Lollipop version supported all screen sizesin both phones and tablets, TV, and Android Wear Watch. It also added direct notifications feature from lock screen so that users could view notification on lock screen and respond to the messages directly from home screen.

Android 5.0 Logo and Appearance

Fig. 13: Logo of Android 5.0 and its Look and Feel on different mobile devices

Android 6.0 Marshmallow

On 28 May 2015, the Android version 6.0 Marshmallow was released with Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X smartphones, along with its Pixel C tablet. It included features such as a new vertically scrolling app drawer along with Google Now on top,making Google Now accessible by just tapping and holding home key whether in app or website. It added fingerprint biometric unlocking of smartphone, USB Type-C support and Android Pay, etc. It also added permission feature so that users could decide what they want to share with this app.

Android 6.0 Logo and Appearance

Fig. 14: Logo of Android 7.0 and its Look and Feel on a Smartphone

Android 7.0 Nougat

Android 7.0 Nought was released on 22 August 2016 with Pixel and Pixel XL, along with the LG V20. This version included multitasking enabling people to use split-screen mode that allowed use of two apps at the same screen and quick switching between apps. This version also changed behind the screen like switching JIT compiler to speed up apps, supported the Vulkan API for faster 3D rendering and enabled OEMs to support its Day dream Virtual Reality platform.

Android 7.0 Logo and Appearance

Fig. 15: Logo of Android 7.0 and its Look and Feel on a Smartphone

Android 8.0 Oreo

Android8.0 Oreostable version was released on 21 August 2017. This version allowed short notifications based on importance and ability of snooze notification. It also included visual changes such as settings menu, along with native support for picture-in-picture mode, auto fill APIs for management to fill data and password and it replaced all blob-shaped emojis with Gradient Outlines.

Android 8.0 Logo and Appearance

Fig. 16: Logo of Android 8.0 and its Look and Feel on a Smartphone

Android 9.0 Pie

On 6 August 2018,Android 9.0 Piewas released. It does not have three button setup at the bottom buthas only single pill-shaped button and gestures for controlling things like swiping left-right to switch between recently opened apps, etc. This version is designed to extend the battery, including prediction of app that can beused in the device by machine learning. It has a feature named Shush that automatically puts your device at Do Not Disturb mode when you turn your phone screen-down on a flat surface.

Android 9.0 Logo and Appearance

Fig.17: Logo of Android 9.0 and its Look and Feel on a Smartphone

All these updates are till 2018-end.The Android will keep on undergoing updationto simplify the things for users to have a better experience of digital devices.