Google Android Operatng System Logo - a medium green robotAndroid Versions for Android Virgins

Introduction

Google’s Android Operating System for mobile devices has now evolved through four major versions. This article briefly describes the major features of the principle releases of Android 1-4.

From Android 1.5 onwards, each release has been named.

Android 1.0

Android was born in September 2008 with the release of version 1.0. At that time, Android releases were un-named.

The first Android device was the HTC Dream.

Android 1.5 Cupcake

Android 1.5 Cupcake Logo

Released in April 2009, Cupcake introduced some familiar features to the Android world:-

  • Uploading of videos and photos to YouTube and Picassa respectively
  • MPEG-4 (mp4) recording and playback
  • Widget support
  • Auto screen rotation
  • Animated screen transitions

Android 1.6 Donut

Android 1.6 Cupcake Logo

Version 1.6 was released a year after the first Android release, and included:-

  • Support for 800×480 screen resolution
  • Ability for developers to include their content in search results
  • Android Marketplace inprovements, including app screenshots
  • Performance improvements to searching and camera applications

Android 2.0-2.1 Eclair

Android 2 Eclair Logo

Android 2 was introduced in October 2009 with the release of “Eclair”.

Android 2.2 Froyo

Android 2.2 Froyo Logo

In May 2010, 2.2 was released, codenamed “Froyo”. Features included:-

  • Speed, memory, and performance optimizations
  • Adobe Flash support
  • Wi-fi hotspots support
  • Impoved Microsoft Exchange support
  • Numeric and alphanumeric passwords

Android 2.3x Gingerbread

Android 2.3x Gingerbread Logo

This is currently (May 2012) probably the most common pre-installed OS on Android phones and some tablets.

Introduced in December 2010, this version’s features include:-

  • Updated and improved UI
  • Support for larger screen resolutions (1280×768 and above)
  • Improvements to garbage collection and power management
  • Multiple camera support
  • Native VOIP support

Some of the latest devices which are pre-installed with Gingerbread can now be updated to Ice Cream Sandwich (such as the Samsung Galaxy S2).

Android 3.x – Honeycomb

Android 3.x Honeycomb Logo

Android 3 is exclusively for tablet devices, though some tablets continue to be pre-installed with Android 2.xx releases even after Honeycomb’s introduction in February 2011.

Android 4.0.x – Ice Cream Sandwich

Android 4.x Ice Cream Sandwich Logo

The latest release of the Android Operating System, Ice Cream Sandwich is now pre-installed on the newest Android phones, such as the Galaxy S3.

Android 4 was released in October 2011 and includes:-

  • Enhanced speed and performance
  • Virtual buttons in the UI, in place of capacitive or physical buttons
  • Ability to access apps directly from lock screen
  • New tabbed web browser
  • 1080p video recording
  • UI hardware acceleration