Our very own Android is now 10 years old!
Since the fateful day of 23rd September 2008, the universal Android has grown to be the most powerful, most used, and the largest OS platform for smartphones. Transforming mobile technology at large, Android OS becomes what no one expected over the 10 years! Yes, despite being the world’s first smartphone operating system, it stunned the mobile users with lots of innovative features then, shaping up their mobile experiences.
Android has always been at the centre of evolution. In simple words, it is truly ‘Unstoppable’! We have not only seen the successive versions popping out year after year, but the number of Active Android devices and Android users have grown too phenomenally because of brilliant improvisations in each version.
The mobile OS market share worldwide declares Android to be the sheer winner with 74.15% share followed by iOS with 23.28% share!
Image Source: statcounter.com
Besides, the name-game for Android is interesting too! From Cupcake, Donut to Oreo and Pie, the sweet legacy continued in the naming of each version that literally made Android distinct from all mobile operating systems, even iOS.
Down the line the story of Android over 10 years (2008-2018)
We have already stepped into 2019 with the Android era completing its 10 years. So, let’s hatch it from the start!
Android 1.0- from where it all started
The T-Mobile G (or HTC Dream) ran as the first Android device in September 2008. Though the first official version did not get a name then and was far less advanced than then popular iPhone 3G, it took marked well the entry of Google in the mobile realm. The Android set was rolled out with basic features like screen touch, speed dial, voice dialling, pull-down notification and Google’s suite of applications like Gmail, Maps, Calendar, YouTube, IM, Talk and even Voice Dialer. Heavily integrated with key utility apps, the first-ever Android phone with QWERTY keyboard (and sadly with no virtual keyboard 🙁 ) did do well with hitting nearly 1 million sales by 2009.
Android 1.5- Cupcake
Image Source: wikimedia.org
From here, started the sweet tradition of naming every Android version with a dessert! Cupcake came in April 2009 with major improvements, including the on-screen keyboard. Video capture was too introduced in this version.
To be specific, the world got a glimpse of what real smartphones are with Cupcake version. Noticeable and revolutionary features of it are:
- Clipboard movements
- Extensible app widgets
- Video capture and playback
- Upload support (for apps like Picasa, YouTube)
Market scenario: Less than 0.1% of active Android devices are now running on Cupcake.
Android 1.6- Donut
Image Source: flickr.com
Donut came up in September 2009 with a drastic advancement and that resulted in millions of people using smartphones. It was regarding the extended support for CDMA networks like Sprint and Verizon. The Quick Search Box was introduced in this version which allowed users to search anything across the web and the device (from files, contacts, apps) by typing on the universal search box in the home screen.
Other noteworthy developments:
- Inclusion of Battery life indicator
- Text-to-speech languages
- Redesigned Android market
- Task manager
Market scenario: Less than 0.1% of active devices are now running on with the version Donut.
Android 2.0- Eclair
Image Source: youtube.com
This version released in October 2009 gave a fair idea of what Android phones will be today! With a completely redesigned interface, Eclair looked like a richer version of smartphones suited for bigger screens with live wallpapers, HTML5 Browser, new phone lock scheme and high-speed Bluetooth transfer. The most significant improvement brought is the Google Maps navigation with voice instructions, 3D view and route detailing. Other features:
- Speech-to-text transcription
- Support for multi-touch gestures
- Email and contacts management with multiple accounts
- Enhanced camera app (with high zoom, colour effects and flash)
- Soft keyboard
Market scenario: Less than 0.1% of active devices is still operative with Eclair.
Android 2.2- Froyo
Image Source: flickr.com
What else came in Android Froyo?
- Redesigned Gallery app
- Flash support in the web browser
- Improved security with the PIN lock screen
- LED flash to shoot in low light
- Multiple languages in keyboard
Market scenario: Less than 0.1% of active devices are presently running with Froyo.
Image Source: talkandroid.com
Nearly 6 months after the release of Froyo, Google unveiled Android 2.3 as Gingerbread in December 2010 with an absolute makeover in the user-interface. So, Android smartphones got the classier look, giving a close fight to then Apple’s iOS version 4.0. From front-facing camera to support for graphics-intensive immersive games, Gingerbread originated many impactful features in the smartphones.
Features at a glance:
- Improvised keyboard
- NFC Integrations (Near-field communication)
- Better battery and apps management
- New Download manager
- Modified on-screen keyboard
- Google Talk
Market Scenario: Still now, 0.2% of devices are running on Android Gingerbread.
Android 3.0- Honeycomb
Image Source: avenue.ng
After too much emphasising on the small-screen devices, finally, Google took to bring a version in February 2011, targeted to improve the functioning of bigger Android devices, i.e. tablets. With notable progress in the tablet market, advanced gaming with 3D graphics and multitasking with apps became common. So, Honeycomb brought features to support all that in tablets.
Other prominent features improvements:
- Removal of any physical buttons for Back, Home or Menu
- Revamped home screen
- Improvised widgets with preview option
- New app layout
Market scenario: Less than 0.1% of active devices are now present with the Honeycomb version.
Android 4.0- Icecream Sandwich
Image Source: engineershotspot.com
Icecream Sandwich was released in October 2011 with the main purpose to make all Honeycomb updates feasible in the smartphones. Additionally, it gave a round of new things to users.
- Face unlock feature
- Mobile payments with NFC
- All-new Android Market, renamed as Google Play Store
- Data usage analysis/tracking
- Advanced NFC function with Android Beam
Market Scenario: 0.3% of devices are now active with Android Icecream Sandwich.
Android 4.1- Jelly Bean
Image Source: cnet.com
The Jelly Bean version, released in July 2012 marked the evolution of smart assistants! Launched as Google Now, it helped users to get any information faster with a swipe such as time, weather forecasts, location, traffic details, local news and so on. The information appeared in ‘cards’ in a series according to their relevance. Apart from this trailblazing improvement, Jelly Bean witnessed:
- Expandable notifications (with actions allowed)
- Resizable widgets
- Keyboard with word predictions, (one-step ahead of autocorrection)
- Refreshed fonts
Remarkably, Jelly Bean was the version of Android with the biggest performance improvement owing to the integration of Project Butter, that made touch experiences feather-like smooth.
Market Scenario: Presently, only 3.0% of mobiles are supported by Android Jelly Bean support.
Image Source: droid-life.com
The KitKat version too unearthed some great smartphone features, along with a brand-new look on September 2013. Besides, “OK, Google”, the voice-powered, intelligent assistant came to the forefront with this version, which was a better and advanced application of Google Now. It allowed users to get actions done like playing a song, searching a contact, sending a text, calling someone or getting directions with the simple search command like, “OK, Google, tell me how to reach Darling Harbour”.
Other things that came with KitKat are:
- New Hangouts app
- New phone dialer
- Full-screen apps
- Redesigned Clock
- Colourful Emojis in keyboard
Market Scenario: 7.6% of smartphones now have KitKat as their OS version.
Android 5.0- Lollipop
Image Source: digitaltrends.com
Lollipop leapt as the freshest Android version ever in November 2014 with a host of many new features that made smartphones what today they are! There was a 180-degree change in the UI with new design language, the Material design that made apps look cooler with vivid colours and featured sleek animations. Notifications too were revamped enabling users to either switch on or off the notifications from apps. Security was raised too by making encryption a default feature in the devices. Besides, a large focus of this version was to extended Android OS to wearables!
Among the other fresh things in Lollipop, some worth mentioning are:
- New battery saving mode
- Screen pinning
- Redefined multitasking
- Faster launch of apps due to new Android Runtime (ART)
Market Scenario: Lollipop currently supports 18.9% of smartphones in the world.
Android 6.0- Marshmallow
Image Source: droidlessons.com
Marshmallow, unleashed in October 2015 brought a new look and feel to the smartphones with the new app menu and white background. It brought Google Assistant on tap of the home button. Smarter app management with memory manager is a key improvement in it that allows checking of an app’s use in intervals of hours.
More advancements that rolled out are:
- Doze: Battery optimisation features
- App Standby
- Run-time permissions
- Android Pay
- USB Type-C support
Market Scenario: A considerable percentage, i.e. 21.3% of active mobile devices have Marshmallow.
Android 7.0- Nougat
Image Source: androidauthority.com
Officially unveiled on August 22nd of 2016, Nougat primarily focused on big screens bringing a host of updates. One is split-screen support for multitasking! Two apps or Chrome tabs can be opened at a time. It is still today the version with the highest usage and tweaked in a lot of things like,
- Customizable Settings
- Enhanced bundled notifications
- Google Assistant (as the complete replacement of Google Now
- Quick app switch
- Data Saver
Market Scenario: 28.2% of smartphones presently run on Nougat, the highest share till date.
Video Source: Android Authority
Android 8.0- Oreo
Image Source: twitter.com
Oreo was the sweetest release ever with a name after the world’s most popular cookie. Multitasking features got a major uplift in this version. The notion of Picture-in-picture came forth in Oreo along with the native split-screen. That means, while running a Youtube video, one can also browse in Chrome. Besides, Oreo provided:
- Autofill features (to faster log into apps)
- Easier gestures with swipes
- Condensed notifications (with the option of pinning them according to relevance)
- Auto-enabled Wi-Fi
- Smart text selector
Market Scenario: 19% of active devices have Android Oreo now in the world.
Android 9.0- Pie
Image Source: androidcentral.com
2018 officially saw the release of Pie on 6th August and that completed a decade of Android! Pie pulled a series of improvements in the visuals. It was kind of a turning point in the story of Android because it welcomed gestural navigation. The most novel introduction in Pie was the “Digital wellbeing’ with a dashboard that allows users to see time spent on different apps, set limits on per day use and optimise each’s runtime.
Few more things that Pie got for users are:
- Improved Apps access with short-cuts
- Screen rotation
- Mute notifications
- Easy screenshot option with the Power button
Market scenario: There’s no major final update regarding the percentage of active devices on Pie, as the latest ranges of smartphones are still being released on Pie.
The release of Android Q is lined up for release this year, with the beta version on board. However, the guessing game is still on for the naming of version 10.0 and we too are waiting in vain for it!
Here ends the sweet success history of Android! Oh, wait! It’s not the actual end for the Android legacy as Google is never stopping it revolutionary attempts to improvise the #1 smartphone OS platform. Like always, we at GetAProgrammer, an enthusiastic and eminent team for mobile app development in Australia will be bringing the tale of the next version and so on for you.
Source of all the versions’ market distribution: