Firstly to say Happy Birthday to Android, Android is the operating system closest to the big smartphone market. This operating system has reached millions of users thanks to devices always connected to every market. It was September 23, 2008, when it came out for the first time on the HTC G1 DREAM device series, the first Android version, 1.0. Still, there were no nomenclatures inspired by sweets and desserts, but for the year of release, it was a real revolution. This version, featured an Android Market, support for Youtube and widgets on the home screen as well as complete email management and support for Google Maps.
The first version of Android, the standard available on the HTC G1 Dream, was very different from what we are accustomed to today, but already included some of the features that made it possible to distinguish any smartphone from an Android.In fact, we find the first version of the Android Market, a full web experience thanks to the integrated browser, YouTube support, home screen widgets, full email management, Google Maps support, and an extremely convenient and functional notification center, at least for the reference period! The device that best represents this period is undoubtedly the only one that was available or the already mentioned HTC G1 Dream.
After just under six months, the first major update comes with the operating system version 1.1. In fact, this is not a very rich update of new features, but only improvements and patches to the first version. Despite this, we look the important addition that saves message attachments to device memory.
Android 1.5, in addition to several new features, introduces the sweeping nomenclature that will accompany Android to this day. We could consider it as the first and true major update of the operating system, which is enriched with many features that make it more and more “smart” and less “phone.”
Supports on keyboards on screen, the ability to record video with the camera included in the device and play them, the copy-paste function within the web browser, the date and time displayed in the call log events, the ability to upload videos to YouTube, capacity to set automatic display rotation and new animations dedicated to screen transition effects.
Probably this is the least long-lasting Android version since its successor will be released after just 41 days, yet Android 1.6 Donut is one of the most important releases for the development of Google’s home operating system. It comes support for a large number of different resolutions, which will increase the compatibility with an ever-increasing number of devices.
The other major innovations are an update to the Android Market, full integration of the gallery and camera, and finally the search box’s upgrades, now searching for content within the smartphone.Even in this case, the most representative terminal is an HTC, more precisely HTC Magic, with its unmistakable design and central trackball.
With Android 2.0 Eclair (and later 2.1) comes the first digit change for Android, along with a new browser improved and more powerful than previous editions. Support is also available to the different layers on Google Maps, and Facebook integrates for the first time directly in the smartphone, thanks to the synchronization of contacts. There is no lack of native Microsoft Exchange support, voice dictation, a widget dedicated to fast video upload on YouTube, a new lock screen (yes, that with the wheel!) And voice dictation functionality.
The smartphone that best represents this period is Motorola Milestone, one of the few terminals on which Android 2.0 was available (most jumped this release) and which was a turning point for Motorola thanks to a special design and hardware complete in every respect.
Android 2.2 Froyo brings with it many new features in various operating system environments. The changes are noticeable both above and below the hood, starting with the graphics restyle that covered the overall aesthetic appearance of the system, the new 5-panel home, and the remarkable performance improvements thanks to optimizations also introduced about speed opening applications. The web browser is further improved and comes the official support of the Adobe Flash plugin, the true battle horse in the fight between the mobile operating systems of the time.
Among other things, we have support for USB and Wi-Fi tethering, the ability to change the keyboard language on the fly, support for push notifications, a new version of the Android Market, upload of various sites, a refurbished gallery and, ultimately, Dulcis the ability to install applications on SD memory, an extremely useful item for many of the smartphones of the time had just a few MB of internal memory.
As mentioned earlier, Froyo has brought many new features, not just related to the operating system itself, but also thanks to the release of the first Nexus family device. It is by itself that Nexus One is the terminal that mainly characterizes this period.
Initially introduced as a minor update, Gingerbread has evolved over some updates during its (almost) year of life. The many innovations include better energy management, front camera support, enhanced resolution and screen support, a new, simpler, more effective interface, support for a growing number of sensors, new download manager, and more yet. Android 2.3 Gingerbread has matured everything that was introduced with previous operating system editions.
The terminal that best represents the Gingerbread era is without a doubt the Samsung Galaxy S2. Powerful and versatile, the new top of the range Samsung is the first Android smartphone to leave a deep mark in the mass audience, and best represents the capabilities of the Google operating system.
We come to talk about a special moment in Android history. Android 3.0 Honeycomb will be the first and only version of the operating system (excluding its updates) not to be released on smartphones since it is a SO designed exclusively for tablets. Google is embarking on a road where the smartphone and tablet world have a common root, but two different operating systems and so completely overrides the Android interface to fit it into large screens.
Underneath the bonnet, we find many interesting changes that will not die with Honeycomb, and we talk about multi-core processor support, USB OTG support, hardware acceleration in every part of the operating system, new multitasking menus, external keyboard support.Obviously, the most representative device can only be Motorola’s Xoom, the first Motorola tablet trying to impress the audience with an HD display device, 1GB of RAM and the brand new Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor.
With Ice Cream Sandwich, Google recovers many of the ideas introduced with Honeycomb and puts you back to what is one of the most important Android updates. Abandoned the Dual SO Way, Android 4.0 is available for both smartphones and tablets and introduces the new Holo interface that will accompany Android for many years to come. Ice Cream Sandwich makes more modern and clean the operating system lines and introduces a new app drawer that divides applications and widgets, new notifications management, copy-paste enhancements, hardware acceleration on smartphones, Face Unlock, the new multitasking and many features dedicated to the camera.
The new operating system is introduced on Galaxy Nexus, Samsung’s second Nexus, and the first to get closer to a non-exclusive audience, as Android 4.0 was beginning to feature many of the features often added by the customized manufacturer interfaces.
Android Jelly Bean is probably one of the best performing incarnations of the Google operating system, second only to KitKat. One of the most interesting aspects of Jelly Bean is the fact that Google used the same name for three different editions, 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3. The main novelty of these releases is undoubtedly Project Butter, introduced to eliminate any lags in the interface and offer a constant 60fps user experience in every operating system context. There is also news about notifications that are now expandable and allow you to see more details in this way. The interface is not twisted, but we have continuous tweaks that make it more mature, to the point that it is standardized, eliminating every slight difference between smartphones and tablets.
Given the length of time Android Jelly Bean remains the reference release, it is difficult to designate just one smartphone as representative of this period. So we find two “4” as the main icons of the era Jelly Bean: Nexus 4 and Samsung Galaxy S4. The first one definitively cleared Android Stock also to the general public, thanks to a strong, powerful hardware offered at an affordable price, while the latter was the highest point in the massive Android experience, consolidating more and more the success of Samsung all inside the Android world.
Initially known as Key Lime Pie, Android KitKat has been hit right away by choosing a name that is not just a simple generic sweet but a very precise product. Kit Kat is the latest edition of the 4.X era and represents the most mature, refined and stable version of Android. The interface is renewed in favor of simpler color schemes, but it is not a complete breakthrough, it is not yet the time. Many transparency effects come in, and an Immersive mode is introduced that allows full-screen applications to be used even on terminals without physical keys.
Significant enhancements are made to the performance of low-level devices, WebView now relies on Chromium, you can record your smartphone screens, edit the default messaging app and make many dedicated APIs available to the development of new messaging clients. The novelties continue, but it’s important to note that Android KitKat introduces a major step backward in managing external storage, limiting many access possibilities that make it much less useful than the past. This restriction will be deleted with Lollipop.
Another major event featuring version 4.4 KitKat concerns the definitive abandonment of Adobe’s Flash plugin, introduced with Android 2.2 Froyo. It ends with the ability to access Flash content, increasingly resourceful, in favor of the new HTML5 standard.
The most representative terminal of this period can only be Nexus 5, the second Nexus to adopt top-of-the-range hardware and an extremely aggressive price. Initially criticized for the under-camera camera and a non-calibrated display in the best of ways, Nexus 5 remained at the heart of many fans who longed for a long-awaited successor.
Android 5.0 Lollipop is currently the most widely distributed Android distribution. The novelties introduced in this release have completely overwhelmed the design of the operating system that Google has made, marking a big change in trend both in SO and in applications running around. Material Design comes with its guidelines, bringing a series of translucency, transition effects and more uniform colors across the Android world. Android Lollipop also marks the death of compiler Dalvik, which is now completely replaced by ART on any terminal.
The notifications menu and the unlock screen have also been completely renovated. We find a new system of priorities that allows for more flexible alerts management and native support for 64-bit processors, in addition to the complete renewal of the multitasking menu, both in terms of appearance and concept itself. The novelties continue with the introduction of the flashlight shortcut, Smart Lock functionality, and the ability to transfer data from one smartphone to another using the NFC chip during the initial configuration.
Obviously, there are also many other novelties, but it’s important to remember that Android 5.0 brings a lot of problems, especially in the early months of life. Only Android 5.1 will be able to resolve problems temporarily, showing clearly how this release is a moment of transition to something bigger and more complete.
The change of trend in the operating system is accompanied by a policy change from Google that, with its Nexus 6, officially joins the phablet world. Although it has caused many controversies among users, Nexus 6 certainly represents this transition time of Android.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow has been the real ripening of Lollipop. With Marshmallow comes support for fingerprint readers, Google Now on Tap, many optimizations to the operating system and RAM management, new permissions management.
It provided support for native USB Type C, Android Pay, Micro SD used as memory internal, ability to enable DND from Quick Settings, Wi-Fi hotspot with 5 GHz bandwidth, data usage API, SAP Bluetooth, hotspot 2.0, supported duplex printing, Bluetooth support 4.2, custom tabs in Chrome, predictive text enhancement , MIDI support, wifi and Bluetooth scanning, enterprise data recovery and more.
The latest version of the Android system, Nougat (Torrone) brings a set of new Vulkan graphics APIs, new graphics in the notification bar with quick toggles visible immediately. New multitasking menu, native dual-window support on smartphones and multi-window on the tablet. Support for multiple rooms at the same time.
Function Seamless update that allows the device to automatically install system updates, great new graphics for the system settings, a renovation and development of permits and notifications, VR support and DayDream for the contents 360 and many other small changes that make nougat a most significant passage, in graphic terms and not only, compared to Lollipop -> Marshmallow.
This is the first version that tries to unlock the core of the operating system from hardware and make the system more modular, thanks to Project Treble. Available only for new devices with Android Oreo and Google Pixel, it aims to ensure up-to-date updates without switching from the device chipset manufacturer.
Then comes the Picture-in-Picture (PiP), a different font management, notification channels, Autofill, LDAC codec, Wi-Fi Aware and various improvements Oreo also introduces Android GO, an ecosystem version dedicated to the devices low bandwidth that reduces Android hardware requirements by disabling or limiting some features to ensure more fluid operation.
Also See: It’s Official! Android 8.0 ‘Oreo’ Is Finally Here – The Nexus Family Updates
Finally, the Android 9.0 will come next year with the codename rumored to be ‘P’. It can be pickle or pie or something like that. We are sure that it will improve the voice control as well as focus on artificial intelligence.
Also See: Android 9.0 Code name Leaked – Starts With the Alphabet ‘P’
What will be the future of Android? No one can tell. We just have to wait and see.