This October Google officially launched its flagship device Nexus 6 with latest iteration of Android i.e. Android version 5.0 Lollipop. Android phones are dominating smartphone market since 2010 and has been through 9 generations out of which Honeycomb is specifically designed for tablet devices. According to Google around 1 billion devices has been activated till September 2013 and increasing at greater pace. In this post we are going to have a closer look on all the versions of Google’s revolutionary mobile operating system Android:
1. Android 1.5 Cupcake :
It was second major release of Android after Astro but first commercially available version for Android launched on April 9, 2009 with first Android touchscreen only phone named HTC Magic. It includes on-screen widgets, Auto-rotate, mp4 and 3gp support, and most majorly copy-paste feature to use on text files and applications.
2. Android 1.6 Donut :
Introduced on September 9, 2009 this version can be said as a major update to Cupcake. One of the major update is speech to text and text to speech technology introduced in Search option which can be used to search both web and local directory.
3. Android 2.0/2.1 Eclair :
This is one major version of Android because it changed the User Interface of Android to a major extent introducing live/animated wallpapers several changes to drop down notification menu. The first device released with Eclair is Google Nexus One. This build upgraded Blutooth support to 2.1+, enhanced camera app with different modes and improved Google Maps.
4. Android 2.2 Froyo :
Android Frozen Yogurt or Froyo established the OS in the market by giving unmatched speed and graphics to the device. It extended support to USB tethering , WiFi hotspot and Adobe Flash as now it shows all frames of gif images instead of first frame only.
5. Android 2.3 Gingerbread :
It appeared in December, 2010 along with the launching of Samsung Galaxy Nexus S. It has upgraded UI and design for fast and simple experience, changed camera app as user will be able to switch between front and rear camera easily and Near field communication(NFC). New Download Manage gave user access to download any file from the web including videos.
6. Android 3.x Honeycomb :
It is a tablet specific Android version introduced with holographic interface. It completely removed the need of physical buttons and introduces on screen buttons and first appeared on Motorola Xoom tablet in February 2011. It mainly adjusted notification bar according to the tablet and added support for multi-core processors for tablets. Further Updates also added USB support for external storage and Gamepads etc.
7. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich :
A new user interface Holo is introduced by completely revamping the UI of the home screen. It is released in November , 2011 along with Galaxy Nexus. The default launcher is now customiszble and apps icons and widgets can be placed on it by drag and drop action, applications can be directly accessed from the lock screen and more importantly Chrome for Android is introduced in this version.
8. Android 4.1/4.2/4.3 Jellybean :
Introduced in July 2012 most popular version of the Android OS family and currently about 61% of the total devices are running Jellybean. It is significantly lighter and smooth from previous version and applications load pretty fast on this one. Version 4.2 debuted on LG Nexus 4 and Nexus 10. Lock screen improvements, Daydream wallpapers and better NFC support are key features of version 4.2.
9. Android 4.4 KitKat :
On September 13th, 2013 Google unvield the most awaited version as there was many suspicions related to its name being Key-Lime-Pie but Google decided to go with KitKat because of its popularity. Version 4.4 debuted on LG Nexus 5 which is termed as the smartphone of the year and Asus Nexus 7 2013 tablet. It introduced a new runtime ART for better battery and better application support as a replacement for Dalvik. It included a new and improved dialer application and Google Now support on most of the flagship devices.
10. Android 5.0 Lollipop :
Dubbed by Google as their sweetest release yet, Android 5.0 Lollipop first came into light at Google I/O 2014 where developer edition of OS is released. Now it has been officially released along with Nexus 6 manufactured by Motorola and many devices are scheduled for OTA updates. Major features include Material Design which is a layered UI designed for simplicity and fluidity, Project Volta which promises exceptional battery performance, ART as default runtime for applications and better Notification settings.