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Android Evolution over the years. What has changed since 2008?

Android Operating System

Android was officially released on September 23, 2008, with the launch of the HTC Dream (also known as the T-Mobile G1) as the first device to run the Android operating system. This marked the beginning of Android's journey as an open-source mobile operating system developed by Google and contributed to by various partners and developers.

Android Evolution and the Role of Open Handset Alliance

Before the Android operating system, it resulted from the Open Handset Alliance (OHA). The Open Handset Alliance (OHA) is a consortium of companies that came together to develop open standards for mobile devices and promote the Android operating system. It was officially announced by Google on November 5, 2007, along with the unveiling of the Android platform.

The Open Handset Alliance's primary goal was to create a collaborative ecosystem to accelerate the development of open and innovative mobile technologies. Members of the alliance included mobile device manufacturers, software companies, semiconductor companies, and telecommunications carriers.

Over the years, the Open Handset Alliance played a crucial role in the growth and success of the Android platform. OHA membership evolved as the Android ecosystem expanded, and a diverse range of companies joined the alliance. However, it's important to note that the Open Handset Alliance's significance waned as Android became more established and its activities became more integrated into the broader Android development and distribution processes.

Android Evolution over the years

Since its initial release, numerous updates and enhancements have marked the evolution of the Android operating system and new features. Here's an overview of the key stages in the evolution of Android:

Android 1.0 (2008): The first version of Android was released on September 23, 2008, on the HTC Dream (also known as the T-Mobile G1). It introduced features like notifications, widgets, and the integration of Google services.

Android 1.5 Cupcake (2009): This update brought features like an on-screen keyboard, video recording, and support for third-party widgets.

Android 1.6 Donut (2009): Donut introduced features like improved search functionality, support for different screen sizes and resolutions, and the ability to access and control the camera's flash.

Android 2.0/2.1 Éclair (2009): Éclair brought features like an improved user interface, HTML5 support, voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, and adding multiple Google accounts.

Android 2.2 Froyo (2010): Froyo introduced significant speed improvements, support for portable hotspot functionality, and the ability to install apps on external storage.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread (2010): Gingerbread brought a refined user interface, support for near-field communication (NFC), improved copy-and-paste functionality, and better power management.

Android 3.0/3.1/3.2 Honeycomb (2011): Honeycomb was designed specifically for tablets and introduced a revamped user interface, support for multi-core processors, and new system bar and action bar components.

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (2011): This version aimed to unify the user experience between smartphones and tablets, introducing features like virtual navigation buttons, resizable widgets, and improved multitasking.

Android 4.1/4.2/4.3 Jelly Bean (2012): Jelly Bean brought smoother animations, enhanced notifications, Google Now (a predictive assistant), and support for Bluetooth low energy.

Android 4.4 KitKat (2013): KitKat focused on optimizing performance for lower-end devices, introducing a new phone app, immersive mode, and improvements to the Android runtime (ART).

Android 5.0/5.1 Lollipop (2014): Lollipop introduced the Material Design visual language, providing a consistent and visually appealing interface. It also brought improved performance, battery life, and enhanced notifications.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow (2015): Marshmallow introduced granular app permissions, Doze mode for improved battery life, Google Now on Tap, and a new system-wide search feature.

Android 7.0/7.1 Nougat (2016): Nougat brought split-screen multitasking, improved notifications, a more efficient Java runtime (OpenJDK), and Daydream VR support.

Android 8.0/8.1 Oreo (2017): Oreo introduced notification channels, picture-in-picture mode, adaptive icons, and improvements to battery life through background app limitations.

Android 9 Pie (2018): Pie focused on AI-driven features like Adaptive Battery, Adaptive Brightness, and Gesture Navigation. It also introduced a Digital Wellbeing suite to help users manage their smartphone usage.

Android 10 (2019): Android 10 featured a system-wide dark mode, enhanced privacy controls, improved gesture navigation, and a focus on foldable devices.

Android 11 (2020): Android 11 emphasized conversation notifications, improved media controls, one-time permissions, and enhanced 5G support.

Android 12 (2021): Android 12 introduced a major design overhaul with Material You, offering more personalised theming, enhanced privacy indicators, and improvements in performance and security.

Android 13 (2022): Android 13 brought several new features around privacy, notification permissions, and certain productivity features like themed icons together with some new standards updates on HDR video, Bluetooth LE (That’s Low Energy), audio and MIDI 2.0 over USB Android Evolution and Desert code name usage

Android versions have traditionally been associated with dessert names in alphabetical order. Google introduced this naming convention to make software updates more interesting and memorable for users. Each new version of Android is named after a sweet or dessert, and the names follow alphabetical order with each new release.

Notably, Google has occasionally deviated from the dessert theme for specific releases. For example, Android 10 was named "Android 10" to avoid potential confusion with dessert names that might not be familiar in all cultures. Similarly, subsequent versions like Android 11 and Android 12 also used numerical naming.

To check the latest Android release and update your device, click here.


SmartViser Susie Siouti Chief Commercial Officer

Susie Siouti is the Chief Commercial Officer for SmartViser, helping organisations in the Telecommunications industry offer superior end-user quality of experience and service by introducing innovative test automation products. Susie has 20 years of experience in the Telecoms industry and, in that time, has led teams across the world, mainly in Testing and Compliance.

An MBA from Henley Business School brings diverse skills and expertise, including business acumen, strategic thinking, financial management, sales and marketing expertise, leadership, and innovation.

Susie joined SmartViser in 2016 and is part of the internal steering committee responsible for developing and implementing the company's commercial strategy and encouraging a customer-centric culture. The main mission is to help organisations create value by offering better quality products and services by improving operational efficiency and innovation.


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