Evolution of Android: Versions from 1.0 to 12 | Tech-Knowledge
Updated: Sep 20
What is Android:
Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance. It is open to everyone: developers, designers, and device makers. That means more people can experiment, imagine and create things that the world has never seen. However, the Android operating system is available for tab and TVs as well.
According to the official Android website, Android is "The platform that’s changing what mobile can do." And yes, it really is. Android operating system began with the release of the
Android 1.0 beta version in November 2007. Android has been the best-selling OS worldwide on smartphones since 2011. As of May 2021, it has over three billion monthly active users, the largest installed base of any operating system. What a long, strange trip it's been. From its initial release till today, Android has metamorphosed its systems from all directions either visually, functionally, or securely.
Since 2008, each Android version has been developed under a codename that is based on a dessert item. These versions have been released in alphabetical order: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop, Marshmallow, Nougat, Oreo, and Pie. And later it was termed as 10, 11 and 12.
Here is a brief description of all Android versions released to date, February 2022.
Code / Marketing Name
September 23, 2008
February 9, 2009
April 27, 2009
September 15, 2009
October 26, 2009
January 12, 2010
May 20, 2010
November 21, 2010
December 6, 2010
September 21, 2011
3.0 (Only for Tab)
February 22, 2011
Ice Cream Sandwich
October 19, 2011
July 9, 2012
November 13, 2012
July 24, 2013
October 31, 2013
November 3, 2014
March 9, 2015
October 5, 2015
August 22, 2016
October 4, 2016
August 21, 2017
December 5, 2017
August 6, 2018
September 3, 2019
Red Velvet Cake
September 8, 2020
October 4, 2021
Android 1.0: Apple Pie
The first official version of Android was released on 5th November 2007 which was named Android 1.0 Beta. November 5 is considered Androids birthday. However, the official version was released on 23 September 2008 for users. It was released only on the HTC Dream phone. This version has all the basic features of a phone along with a few Google applications.
Features of Android 1.0:
Google Maps with Latitude and Street View to view maps and satellite images.
YouTube video players.
For more details follow Android Wiki.
Android 1.1: Banana Bread
Android 1.1 is a version that was released on 9 February 2009. This version was also first released in the HTC Dream phone. The update resolved bugs, changed the API and added a number of other features.
Features of Android 1.1:
Longer in-call screen timeout default when using the speakerphone, plus ability to show/hide dial pad
Ability to save attachments in messages
Android 1.5: CUPCAKE
With early 2009’s Android 1.5 Cupcake release, the tradition of Android version names was born. The update included several new features and UI amendments. Google supports this cupcake version till June 2017. Cupcake introduced numerous refinements to the Android interface, including the first on-screen keyboard – something that would be necessary as phones moved away from the once-ubiquitous physical keyboard model.
Features of Android 1.5:
Support for Widgets - miniature application views that can be embedded in other applications and receive periodic updates.
Video recording and playback in MPEG-4 and 3GP formats.
Auto-pairing and stereo support for Bluetooth added (A2DP and AVRCP profiles).
User pictures are shown for Favourites in Contacts.
Specific date/time stamp shown for events in the call log, and one-touch access to a contact card from call log event.
Animated screen transitions.
Android 1.6: DONUT
Android 1.6 Donut is a version of Android that was released on 15 September 2009. This version included numerous new features.
Features of Android 1.6:
Voice and text entry search enhanced to include bookmark history, contacts, and the web.
Easier searching and ability to view app screenshots in Android Market.
Gallery, camera and camcorder more fully integrated, with faster camera access.
Support for WVGA screen resolutions.
Speed improvements in searching and camera applications.
ANDROID VERSIONS 2.0 TO 2.1: ECLAIR
Android 2.0, Eclair, emerged just six weeks after Donut, in October 2009. Eclair was the first Android release to enter mainstream consciousness. However, it was updated to Android 2.1 Eclair in January 2010. It was released with the Nexus One, the first Nexus phone.
Features of Android 2.0 and 2.1:
Numerous new camera features, including flash support, scene mode, white balance, colour effects, macro focus, picture size, and storage location.
Addition of Auto-brightness.
Improved typing speed on a virtual keyboard by using multitouch data.
Live Wallpapers, which allowed home screen backgrounds to be animated.
Addition of Pinch-to-Zoom.
ANDROID VERSION 2.2: FROYO
Just four months after Android 2.1 arrived, Google launched Android 2.2, Froyo which means Frozen Yogurt. This was released on May 20, 2010, and revolved largely the performance improvements.
Features of Android 2.2:
USB tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot functionality.
Option to disable data access over the mobile network.
Support for high-PPI displays (up to 320 PPI), such as four-inch 720p screens.
Quick switching between multiple keyboard languages and their dictionaries
ANDROID VERSION 2.3: GINGERBREAD
Android 2.3 Gingerbread is a version of Android that was released on 6 December 2010. The latest version of Android 2.3 was released on September 21 2011 as Android 2.3.7. Many Samsung and Sony phones launched with this software version.
Features of Android 2.3:
Support for extra-large screen sizes and resolutions (WXGA and higher).
Support for Near Field Communication (NFC), allows the user to read an NFC tag embedded in a poster, sticker, or advertisement.
New audio effects such as reverb, equalization, headphone virtualization, and bass boost.
Support for multiple cameras on the device, including a front-facing camera, if available.
Improved power management with a more active role in managing apps that are keeping the device awake for too long.
ANDROID 3.0 TO 3.2: HONEYCOMB
Android 3.0 Honeycomb is a version of Android that was released on 22 February 2011. The first device featuring this version, the Motorola Xoom tablet. The latest version of this series is 3.2 which was released on 15 July 2011. The weird part is Android 3.0 came into the world as a tablet-only release.
Features of Android 3.0 and 3.2:
Optimized tablet support with a new virtual and “holographic” user interface.
Redesigned keyboard, making typing fast, efficient and accurate on larger screen sizes.
Quick access to camera exposure, focus, flash, zoom, front-facing camera, time-lapse, and more.
Increased ability of apps to access files on the SD card, e.g. for synchronization.
ANDROID VERSION 4.0: ICE CREAM SANDWICH
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is a version of Android that was previewed at the May 2011 Google I/O event and officially launched at the Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich release event on 19 October 2011. Android 4.0 also made swiping a more integral method of getting around the operating system, with the then-revolutionary-feeling ability to swipe away things like notifications and recent apps. It started the slow process of bringing a standardized design framework – known as ‘Holo’ – all throughout the operating system and into Android’s app ecosystem.
Features of Android 4.0:
Easier-to-create folders, with a drag-and-drop style.
Improved visual voicemail with the ability to speed up or slow down voicemail messages.
Ability to swipe left or right to switch between Gmail conversations.
Face Unlock, is a feature that allows users to unlock handsets using facial recognition software.
Availability of Wi-Fi Direct.
1080p video recording for stock Android devices.
ANDROID VERSIONS 4.1 TO 4.3: JELLY BEAN
Android 4.0 Jelly Bean version officially launched on 9 July 2012. The releases added plenty of poise and polish to the operating system and went a long way in making Android more inviting for the average user. The first devices to run Android 4.2 were LG's Nexus 4 and Samsung's Nexus 10, which were released on 13 November 2012. Android 4.3 was launched on July 24, 2013, during an event in San Francisco called "Breakfast with Sundar Pichai". It has the slogan "An even sweeter Jelly Bean".
Features of Android 4.1 and 4.3:
With Jelly Bean, blind users can use 'Gesture Mode' to reliably navigate the UI using touch and swipe gestures in combination with speech output.
Support for USB audio docks.
Instantly pair your phone or tablet to Bluetooth® devices like headsets or speakers that support the Simple Secure Pairing standard by just tapping them together.
Face Unlock has become faster and more accurate, and startup is smoother.
Jelly Bean makes it easier to personalize your home screen. As you place widgets on the screen, everything else automatically moves to make room.
Altogether a new Google experience on Android includes Google Search, Google Now, Google Play and an update on all Google's Apps.
Keyboard with gesture typing.
Bluetooth Smart (low energy) support.
ANDROID VERSION 4.4: KITKAT
October 2013’s KitKat release marked the end of Android’s dark era, as the blacks of Gingerbread and the blues of Honeycomb finally made their way out of the operating system. Lighter backgrounds and more neutral highlights took their place, with a transparent status bar and white icons giving the OS a more contemporary appearance. Android 4.4 latest release on July 7 2014 as Android 4.4.4. Most reviewers said that "Android 4.4 refines a polished platform even further and shows a real commitment to getting the basics right".
Android 4.4 also saw the first version of ‘OK, Google’ support.
Features of Android 4.4:
Android 4.4 was designed to require less RAM than before, in order to help its performance on phones with less than 1 Gigabyte of RAM.
Phone App Refresh.
When music is playing and the device is locked, the lock screen will show full-screen artwork and allow you to skip tracks.
ANDROID VERSIONS 5.0 AND 5.1: LOLLIPOP
Google essentially reinvented Android – again – with its Android 5.0 Lollipop released on November 12 2014. Lollipop launched the Material Design standard, which brought a whole new look that extended across all of Android, its apps and even other Google products. Android 5.1 was released on April 21 2015 as Android 5.1.1.
Features of Android 5.0 and 5.1:
Mainly all of the third-party apps are still supporting Android 5.0 lollipop, which makes Android 5.0 lollipop generally mostly supported.
Native multi-SIM support.
HD voice calling.
Ability to join Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networks from the quick settings menu.
ANDROID VERSION 6.0: MARSHMALLOW
Finally, the trend started for Google to release one major Android version per year and that version always received its own whole number. Marshmallow, which was released in the 3rd quarter of 2015 as Android 6. The latest release on October 3 2017 was Android 6.0.1.
Features of Android 6.0:
Apps will only prompt for permission when they want to do something with the permission. Permissions have been simplified and users can turn permissions on and off in the settings menu.
Doze mode where Android devices can recognize when they have not been interacted with in a while and reduce background processes accordingly.
Standardized fingerprint support.
Introduction of Android Pay.
Support for USB-C connectors.
Auto backup and restore for apps.
ANDROID VERSIONS 7.0 AND 7.1: NOUGAT
Google’s 2016 Android version was named Nougat which was released under version number 7.0. Later that year in October this version was modified to Andriod 7.1. The key enhancement of Nougat was the launch of the Google Assistant – which came alongside the announcement of Google’s first fully self-made phone, the Pixel, about two months after Nougat’s debut. The Assistant would go on to become a critical component of Android and most other Google products and is arguably the company’s foremost effort today.
Features of Android 7.0 and 7.1:
Data Saver feature.
shortcut for snapping between apps.
ANDROID VERSION 8.0 AND 8.1: OREO
Android "Oreo" is the eighth major version of the Android operating system. It was released on August 21, 2017. It contains a number of major features which are listed below. Android was released on December 15, 2017. Android Oreo also introduces two major platform features: Android Go – a software distribution of the operating system for low-end devices – and support for implementing a hardware abstraction layer.
Features of Android 8.0 and 8.1:
Picture-in-picture support for video.
Performance improvements and battery usage optimization.
Support for auto fillers.
System-level integration with VoIP apps.
ANDROID VERSION 9: PIE
Android Pie which is also known as Android 9 is the ninth major version of the Android operating system. It was first announced by Google on March 7, 2018, but was released on July 25, 2018. Pie’s most transformative change was its hybrid gesture/button navigation system, which traded Android’s traditional "Back", "Home", and "Overview" keys for a large, multifunctional Home button and a small Back button that appeared alongside it as needed.
Features of Android 9.0:
A "screenshot" button has been added to the power options.
New transitions for switching between apps, or activities within apps.
Richer messaging notifications, where a full conversation can be had within a notification, full-scale images.
New user interface for the quick settings menu.
An Adaptive Battery feature that maximizes battery power by prioritizing the apps you're most likely to use next.
Improved Adaptive Brightness feature which modifies screen brightness based on your own personal preferences.
New Back Button Icon in the navigation bar.
ANDROID VERSION 10: QUEEN CAKE
Android 10 is the 10th major release and seventeenth version of Android, released on September 3, 2019. Most noticeably, the first Android version to shed its letter and be known simply by a number, with no dessert theme. However, there was a code name for Android 10 named "Queen Cake".
Features of Android 10.0:
Gesture Interface added in this release.
Introduced swipe-driven approach to system navigation.
Update the device tracking functions.
Introduced dark theme.
Introduces a new Live Caption feature that allows you to generate on-the-fly visual captions for any media playing on your phone
ANDROID VERSION 11: RED VELVET CAKE
Android 11, launched in early September 2020, is a substantial Android update both under the hood and on the surface. The version’s most significant changes revolve around privacy. The update builds upon the expanded permissions system introduced in Android 10 and adds the ability for users to grant apps certain permissions – those related to location access, camera access, and microphone access – only on a limited, single-use basis. Although this version was marketed as Android 11 without a name for the desert, there was a code name for Android 11 which is named "Red Velvet Cake".
Features of Android 11.0:
This version introduced the background location permission even deeper into the system and made it more difficult for apps to request.
Android 11 removes an app’s ability to see what other apps are installed on your phone.
It refines the system notification area to emphasize and simplify conversation-related alerts.
It introduces a new streamlined media player that contains controls for all audio and video-playing apps in a single space
ANDROID VERSION 12: SNOW CONE
Google officially launched the last version of Android 4 in October 2021 and started rolling the software out to its own Pixel devices soon after – alongside the launch of its new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones. Android 12 is the 19th version of Android and is named "Snow Cone". However, the name or code name is not used globally. Android 12 rethinks the design of Android, by introducing Material You - A new design language that changes the way android looks significantly by using more modern and rounded shapes and colours.
Android 12 is the first software version to integrate an updated and completely overhauled take on that standard – something known as Material You. Material You brings a dramatically different look and feel to the entire Android experience, and it isn’t limited only to system-level elements, either. Eventually, Android 12’s design principles will stretch into both apps on your phone and Google services on the web.
Features of Android 12.0:
Material You and wallpaper-based theming (Accent colours picked from your wallpaper - optional).
New Extra Dim Mode (Reduces screen brightness).
Unified the WIFI and Mobile Data quick settings to bring up a mini-settings panel with both options.
Scrolling Screenshots in supported apps.
Hold the power button for the assistant gestures.
Adaptive Charging added.
Giving access to an approximate location instead of an accurate location.
Universal device search
And then, before we know it, we’ll have our eyes on the next major Android version – 2022’s Android 13.
1. Android Adviser
3. Android Wiki