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Types of Android

List of Android Software Versions

The version history of the Android mobile operating system began with the public release of the Android beta on November 5, 2007. The first commercial version, Android 1.0, was released on September 23, 2008. Android is continually developed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance, and it has seen a number of updates to its base operating system since the initial release.

Versions 1.0 and 1.1 were not released under specific code names, although Android 1.1 was unofficially known as Petit Four. Android code names are confectionery-themed and have been in alphabetical order since 2009’s Android 1.5 Cupcake. The most recent version of Android is Android 9 Pie, which was released in August 2018.

Android is the most used OS in the world. Android powers about 75% of all smartphones and tablets. Here is the Statistics of Android Software which you need to know.

 

Google’s Android division certainly has a sense of humour: It named all of its version codenames after desserts (just as Intel names all of its CPUs after rivers). To celebrate a new version, a giant mock-up of the dessert that matches the codename is usually delivered to the Google Campus and put on display.

List of Android Software Versions

  • Android Cupcake
  • Android Donut
  • Android Eclair
  • Android Froyo
  • Android Gingerbread
  • Android Honeycomb
  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Android Jelly Bean
  • Android KitKat
  • Android Lollipop
  • Android Marshmallow
  • Android Nougat
  • Android Oreo
  • Android Pie

Android 1.0 (API 1)

Android 1.0, the first commercial version of the software, was released on September 23, 2008. The first commercially available Android device was the HTC Dream. Android 1.0 incorporated the following features:
Version Release date Features
1.0 September 23, 2008
  • Android Market allowed application downloads and updates through the Market application
  • Web browser to show, zoom and pan full HTML and XHTML web pages – multiple pages show as windows (“cards”)
  • Camera support – however, this version lacked the option to change the camera’s resolution, white balance, quality, etc.
  • Folders allowing the grouping of a number of application icons into a single folder icon on the Home screen
  • Access to web email servers, supporting POP3, IMAP4, and SMTP
  • Gmail synchronization with the Gmail application
  • Google Contacts synchronization with the People application
  • Google Calendar synchronization with the Calendar application
  • Google Maps with Street View to view maps and satellite imagery, as well as find local business and obtain driving directions using GPS
  • Google Sync, allowing management of over-the-air synchronization of Gmail, People, and Calendar
  • Google Search, allowing users to search the Internet and phone applications, contacts, calendar, etc.
  • Google Talk instant messaging
  • Instant messaging, text messaging, and MMS
  • Media Player, enabling management, importing, and playback of media files – however, this version lacked video and stereo Bluetooth support
  • Notifications appear in the Status bar, with options to set ringtone, LED or vibration alerts
  • Voice Dialer allows dialing and placing of phone calls without typing a name or number
  • Wallpaper allows the user to set the background image or photo behind the Home screen icons and widgets
  • YouTube video player
  • Other applications include: Alarm Clock, Calculator, Dialer (Phone), Home screen (Launcher), Pictures (Gallery), and Settings
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support

Android 1.1 (API 2)

On February 9, 2009, the Android 1.1 update was released, initially for the HTC Dream only. Android 1.1 was known as “Petit Four” internally, though this name was not used officially. The update resolved bugs, changed the Android API and added a number of features:
Version Release date Features
1.1 February 9, 2009
  • Details and reviews available when a user searches for businesses on Maps
  • Longer in-call screen timeout default when using the speakerphone, plus ability to show/hide dialpad
  • Ability to save attachments in messages
  • Support added for the marquee in system layouts

With every release of its new version, Google puts up a giant statue of the delicacy associated with the code name on its campus. What better way to celebrate the arrival of those luring Android versions, equally tempting as the desserts they stand for.

Every Android version after 1.5 has been evolved with definite code names that have been chosen in an alphabetical manner. And no official explanation has ever been given for this particular naming convention, although it has garnered much media attention.

Android Cupcake

Android Version 1.5

Android 1.5 Cupcake(API 3)

On April 27, 2009, the Android 1.5 update was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.27. This was the first release to officially use a codename based on a dessert item (“Cupcake”), a theme which would be used for all releases henceforth. The update included several new features and UI amendments:
Version Release date Features
1.5 April 27, 2009
  • Support for third-party virtual keyboards with text prediction and user dictionary for custom words
  • Support for Widgets – miniature application views that can be embedded in other applications (such as the Home screen) and receive periodic updates
  • Video recording and playback in MPEG-4 and 3GP formats
  • Auto-pairing and stereo support for Bluetooth (A2DP and AVRCP profiles)
  • Copy and paste features in web browser
  • User pictures shown for Favorites in Contacts
  • Specific date/time stamp shown for events in call log, and one-touch access to a contact card from call log event
  • Animated screen transitions
  • Auto-rotation option
  • New stock boot animation
  • Ability to upload videos to YouTube
  • Ability to upload photos to Picasa

Although not the very first version from Google after buying the company Android, Version 1.5 is considered as the first prominent version that highlighted the true power of its platform.

With this version, in fact, Google kicked off the trend of naming its versions after yummy desserts. The many novel features associated with the Cupcake version include third-party keyboard and direct upload to YouTube.

Android Donut

Android Version 1.6

Android 1.6 Donut(API 4)

On September 15, 2009, Android 1.6 – dubbed Donut – was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.29. Included in the update were numerous new features:
Version Release date Features
1.6 September 15, 2009
  • Voice and text entry search enhanced to include bookmark history, contacts, and the web
  • Ability for developers to include their content in search results
  • Multi-lingual speech synthesis engine to allow any Android application to “speak” a string of text
  • Easier searching and ability to view app screenshots in Android Market
  • Gallery, camera and camcorder more fully integrated, with faster camera access
  • Ability for users to select multiple photos for deletion
  • Updated technology support for CDMA/EVDO, 802.1x, VPNs, and a text-to-speech engine
  • Support for WVGA screen resolutions
  • Speed improvements in searching and camera applications
  • Expanded Gesture framework and new GestureBuilder development tool

Released in 2009, Android Version 1.6 has been code named as “Donut,” after the tasty ring-shaped delicacy. Its specialties like enhanced user experience, text-to speech support, improved video aspects and refined search integration helped Google to get itself rooted firmly in the highly competitive Smartphone market.

Larger screen-size support and turn-by-turn navigation facilities were the other sweet coatings on the donut version.

Android Eclair

Android Version 2.0

Android 2.0 Eclair(API 5)

On October 26, 2009, the Android 2.0 SDK was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.29 and codenamed Eclair. Changes include the ones listed below.
Version Release date Features
2.0 October 26, 2009
  • Expanded Account sync, allowing users to add multiple accounts to a device for synchronization of email and contacts
  • Microsoft Exchange email support, with combined inbox to browse email from multiple accounts in one page
  • Bluetooth 2.1 support
  • Ability to tap a Contacts photo and select to call, SMS, or email the person
  • Ability to search all saved SMS and MMS messages, with delete oldest messages in a conversation automatically deleted when a defined limit is reached
  • Numerous new camera features, including flash support, digital zoom, scene mode, white balance, color effect and macro focus
  • Improved typing speed on virtual keyboard, with smarter dictionary that learns from word usage and includes contact names as suggestions
  • Refreshed browser UI with bookmark thumbnails, double-tap zoom and support for HTML5
  • Calendar agenda view enhanced, showing attending status for each invitee, and ability to invite new guests to events
  • Optimized hardware speed and revamped UI
  • Support for more screen sizes and resolutions, with better contrast ratio
  • Improved Google Maps 3.1.2
  • MotionEvent class enhanced to track multi-touch events[54]
  • Addition of live wallpapers, allowing the animation of home-screen background images to show movement

Named after those oblong baked pastries with chocolate filling, Android 2.0 was released in October 2009. The bug fix version named as 2.0.1 soon followed a couple of months later in December 2009. Then in January 2010, out came Android 2.1 with added animation features.

However, the three versions are often considered as a single release. Google map navigation is its highlighted feature. Other celebrated features of Version Éclair include flash and digital zoom options for camera, live wallpapers, multi-touch support mechanism and of course, Bluetooth 2.1 support.

Android Froyo

Android Version 2.2

Android 2.2 Froyo(API 8)

On May 20, 2010, the SDK for Android 2.2 (Froyo, short for frozen yogurt) was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.32.
Version Release date Features
2.2 May 20, 2010
  • Speed, memory, and performance optimizations
  • Additional application speed improvements, implemented through JIT compilation
  • Integration of Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine into the Browser application
  • Support for the Android Cloud to Device Messaging (C2DM) service, enabling push notifications
  • Improved Microsoft Exchange support, including security policies, auto-discovery, GAL look-up, calendar synchronization and remote wipe
  • Improved application launcher with shortcuts to Phone and Browser applications
  • USB tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot functionality
  • Option to disable data access over mobile network
  • Updated Market application with batch and automatic update features
  • Quick switching between multiple keyboard languages and their dictionaries
  • Support for Bluetooth-enabled car and desk docks
  • Support for numeric and alphanumeric passwords
  • Support for file upload fields in the Browser application
  • The browser now shows all frames of animated GIFs instead of just the first frame only
  • Support for installing applications to the expandable memory
  • Adobe Flash support
  • Support for high-PPI display (up to 320 PPI), such as four-inch 720p screens
  • Gallery allows users to view picture stacks using a zoom gesture
2.2.1 January 18, 2011
  • Bugfixes, security updates and performance improvements
2.2.2 January 22, 2011
  • Minor bugfixes, including SMS routing issues that affected the Nexus One
2.2.3 November 21, 2011
  • Two security updates

The next one in the queue, Android 2.2 is about sheer speed and nothing else. Short for Frozen Yoghurt, Google got this version’s speed technically enhanced. Yet another unique characteristic feature was its uniquely redesigned home screen. It ensured better functionality for the device, with the entire process streamlined.

Android Gingerbread

Android Version 2.3

Android 2.3 Gingerbread(API 9)

On December 6, 2010, the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) SDK was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.35. Changes included:
Version Release date Features
2.3 December 6, 2010
  • Updated user interface design with increased simplicity and speed
  • Support for extra-large screen sizes and resolutions (WXGA and higher)
  • Native support for SIP VoIP internet telephony
  • Faster, more intuitive text input in virtual keyboard, with improved accuracy, better suggested text and voice input mode
  • Enhanced copy/paste functionality, allowing users to select a word by press-hold, copy, and paste
  • Support for Near Field Communication (NFC), allowing 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
  • New Download Manager, giving users easy access to any file downloaded from the browser, email, or another application
  • Support for multiple cameras on the device, including a front-facing camera, if available
  • Support for WebM/VP8 video playback, and AAC audio encoding
  • Improved power management with a more active role in managing applications that are keeping the device awake for too long
  • Enhanced support for native code development
  • Switched from YAFFS to ext4 on newer devices
  • Audio, graphical, and input enhancements for game developers
  • Concurrent garbage collection for increased performance
  • Native support for more sensors (such as gyroscopes and barometers)
  • First Android version to feature an Easter egg. It was an image of the Bugdroid standing next to a zombie gingerbread man, with many more zombies in the background.
2.3.1 December 2010
  • Improvements and bugfixes for the Nexus S
2.3.2 January 2011
  • Improvements and bugfixes for the Nexus S

Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread(API 10)

Version Release date Features
2.3.3 February 9, 2011
  • Several improvements and API fixes
2.3.4 April 28, 2011
  • Support for voice or video chat using Google Talk
  • Open Accessory Library support. Open Accessory was introduced in 3.1 (Honeycomb) but the Open Accessory Library grants 2.3.4 added support when connecting to a USB peripheral with compatible software and a compatible application on the device
  • Switched the default encryption for SSL from AES256-SHA to RC4-MD5.
2.3.5 July 25, 2011
  • Improved network performance for the Nexus S 4G, among other fixes and improvements
  • Fixed Bluetooth bug on Samsung Galaxy S
  • Improved Gmail application
  • Shadow animations for list scrolling
  • Camera software enhancements
  • Improved battery efficiency
2.3.6 September 2, 2011
  • Fixed a voice search bug
2.3.7 September 21, 2011
  • Google Wallet support for the Nexus S 4G

Named after the popular ginger-flavored cookies, Android version 2.3 looked new and fresh in various ways. A few of its unique features included several cameras, SIP internet calling, download manager, a few sensors like a barometer, gravimeter etc.

Android Honeycomb

Android Version 3.0

Android 3.0 Honeycomb(API 11)

On February 22, 2011, the Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) SDK – the first tablet-only Android update – was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.36. The first device featuring this version, the Motorola Xoom tablet, was released on February 24, 2011. The update’s features included:
Version Release date Features
3.0 February 22, 2011
  • Optimized tablet support with a new “holographic” user interface (removed again the following year with version 4.2
  • New easter egg, an image of a Tron-themed bumblebee
  • Added System Bar, featuring quick access to notifications, status, and soft navigation buttons, available at the bottom of the screen
  • Added Action Bar, giving access to contextual options, navigation, widgets, or other types of content at the top of the screen
  • Simplified multitasking – tapping Recent Applications in the System Bar allows users to see snapshots of the tasks underway and quickly jump from one application to another
  • Redesigned keyboard, making typing fast, efficient and accurate on larger screen sizes
  • Simplified, more intuitive copy/paste interface
  • Multiple browser tabs replacing browser windows, plus form auto-fill and a new “incognito” mode allowing anonymous browsing
  • Quick access to camera exposure, focus, flash, zoom, front-facing camera, time-lapse, and other camera features
  • Ability to view albums and other collections in full-screen mode in Gallery, with easy access to thumbnails for other photos
  • New two-pane Contacts UI and Fast Scroll to let users easily organize and locate contacts
  • New two-pane Email UI to make viewing and organizing messages more efficient, allowing users to select one or more messages
  • Hardware acceleration
  • Support for multi-core processors
  • Ability to encrypt all user data
  • HTTPS stack improved with Server Name Indication (SNI)
  • Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE; kernel module)
  • Disallows applications from having write access to secondary storage (memory cards on devices with internal primary storage) outside of designated, application-specific directories. Full access to primary internal storage is still allowed through a separate application-level permission.

Android 3.1 Honeycomb(API 12)

Version Release date Features
3.1 May 10, 2011
  • UI refinements
  • Connectivity for USB accessories (USB On-The-Go).
  • Expanded Recent Applications list
  • Resizable Home screen widgets
  • Support for external keyboards and pointing devices
  • Support for joysticks and gamepads
  • Support for FLAC audio playback
  • High-performance Wi-Fi lock, maintaining high-performance Wi-Fi connections when device screen is off
  • Support for HTTP proxy for each connected Wi-Fi access point

Android 3.2 Honeycomb(API 13)

Version Release date Features
3.2 July 15, 2011
  • Improved hardware support, including optimizations for a wider range of tablets
  • Increased ability of applications to access files on the SD card, e.g. for synchronization
  • Compatibility display mode for applications that have not been optimized for tablet screen resolutions
  • New display support functions, giving developers more control over display appearance on different Android devices
3.2.1 September 20, 2011
  • Bugfixes and minor security, stability and Wi-Fi improvements
  • Update to Android Market with automatic updates and easier-to-read Terms and Conditions text
  • Update to Google Books
  • Improved Adobe Flash support in browser
  • Improved Chinese handwriting prediction
3.2.2 August 30, 2011
  • Bugfixes and other minor improvements for the Motorola Xoom 4G
3.2.3 August 30, 2011
  • Bugfixes and other minor improvements for the Motorola Xoom and Motorola Xoom 4G
3.2.4 December 2011
  • Pay As You Go for 3G and 4G tablets
3.2.5 January 2012
  • Bugfixes and other minor improvements for the Motorola Xoom and Motorola Xoom 4G
3.2.6 February 2012
  • Fixed data connectivity issues when coming out of airplane mode on the US 4G Motorola Xoom

Google introduced Android 3.0 in February 2011 and called it, Honeycomb. Made for tablets, versions 3.1 and 3.2 followed in rapid succession. Gingerbread was, in fact, Android’s very first tablet-only update.

Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Android Version 4.0

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich(API 14)

The SDK for Android 4.0.1 (Ice Cream Sandwich), based on Linux kernel 3.0.1, was publicly released on October 19, 2011. Google’s Gabe Cohen stated that Android 4.0 was “theoretically compatible” with any Android 2.3.x device in production at that time. The source code for Android 4.0 became available on November 14, 2011. Ice Cream Sandwich was the last version to officially support Adobe Systems’ Flash player. The update introduced numerous new features:
Version Release date Features
4.0 October 18, 2011
  • Major refinements to the “Holo” interface with new Roboto font family
  • Soft buttons from Android 3.x are now available for use on phones
  • Separation of widgets in a new tab, listed in a similar manner to applications
  • Easier-to-create folders, with a drag-and-drop style
  • Improved visual voicemail with the ability to speed up or slow down voicemail messages
  • Pinch-to-zoom functionality in the calendar
  • Integrated screenshot capture (accomplished by holding down the Power and Volume-Down buttons)
  • Improved error correction on the keyboard
  • Ability to access applications directly from lock screen
  • Improved copy and paste functionality
  • Better voice integration and continuous, real-time speech to text dictation
  • Face Unlock, a feature that allows users to unlock handsets using facial recognition software
  • Automatic syncing of browser with users’ Chrome bookmarks
  • Data Usage section in settings that lets users set warnings when they approach a certain usage limit, and disable data use when the limit is exceeded
  • Ability to shut down applications from the recent apps list with a swipe[101]
  • Improved camera application with zero shutter lag, time lapse settings, panorama mode, and the ability to zoom while recording
  • Built-in photo editor
  • New gallery layout, organized by location and person
  • Refreshed “People” application with social network integration, status updates and hi-res images
  • Android Beam, a near-field communication feature allowing the rapid short-range exchange of web bookmarks, contact info, directions, YouTube videos and other data
  • Support for the WebP image format
  • Hardware acceleration of the UI
  • Wi-Fi Direct
  • 1080p video recording for stock Android devices
  • Android VPN Framework (AVF), and TUN (but not TAP) kernel module. Prior to 4.0, VPN software required rooted Android.
4.0.1 October 21, 2011
  • Fixed minor bugs for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
4.0.2 November 28, 2011
  • Fixed minor bugs on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, the US launch of which was later delayed until December 2011

Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich(API 15)

Version Release date Features
4.0.3 December 16, 2011
  • Numerous bugfixes and optimizations
  • Improvements to graphics, databases, spell-checking and Bluetooth functionality
  • New APIs for developers, including a social stream API in the Contacts provider
  • Calendar provider enhancements
  • New camera applications enhancing video stabilization and QVGA resolution
  • Accessibility refinements such as improved content access for screen readers
4.0.4 March 29, 2012
  • Stability improvements
  • Better camera performance
  • Smoother screen rotation
  • Improved phone number recognition

Version 4.0 was the outcome of Google’s plan to get the tablet-only platform of Honeycomb synthesized with a mobile platform. Dubbed as Ice-cream Sandwich, enhanced functionality was not the only big change that it brought in. In terms of design too, there were drastic changes.

Introduction of default font was another highlight of Ice-cream Sandwich. From this version onwards, Google effectively brought all its services under the umbrella, ‘Google Play’.

Android Jelly Bean

Android Version 4.1

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean(API 16)

Google announced Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) at the Google I/O conference on June 27, 2012. Based on Linux kernel 3.0.31, Jelly Bean was an incremental update with the primary aim of improving the functionality and performance of the user interface. The performance improvement involved “Project Butter”, which uses touch anticipation, triple buffering, extended vsync timing and a fixed frame rate of 60 fps to create a fluid and “buttery-smooth” UI. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was released to the Android Open Source Project on July 9, 2012, and the Nexus 7 tablet, the first device to run Jelly Bean, was released on July 13, 2012.
Version Release date Features
4.1 July 9, 2012
  • Smoother user interface:
    • Vsync timing across all drawing and animation done by the Android framework, including application rendering, touch events, screen composition and display refresh
    • Triple buffering in the graphics pipeline
    • CPU input boost
    • Synchronizing touch to vsync timing
  • Enhanced accessibility
  • Bi-directional text and other language support
  • User-installable keyboard maps
  • Expandable notifications
  • Ability to turn off notifications on an application-specific basis
  • Shortcuts and widgets can automatically be re-arranged or re-sized to allow new items to fit on home screens
  • Bluetooth data transfer for Android Beam
  • Tablets with smaller screens now use an expanded version of the interface layout and home screen used by phones.
  • Improved camera application
  • Multichannel audio
  • The Fraunhofer FDK AAC codec becomes standard in Android, adding AAC 5.1 channel encoding/decoding
  • USB audio (for external sound DACs)
  • Audio chaining (also known as gapless playback)
  • Ability for other launchers to add widgets from the application drawer without requiring root access
4.1.1 July 11, 2012
  • Fixed a bug on the Nexus 7 regarding the inability to change screen orientation in any application
4.1.2 October 9, 2012
  • Lock/home screen rotation support
  • One-finger gestures to expand/collapse notifications
  • Bugfixes and performance enhancements
Android 4.2 Jelly Bean(API 17)
Google was expected to announce Jelly Bean 4.2 at an event in New York City on October 29, 2012, but the event was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy Instead of rescheduling the live event, Google announced the new version with a press release, under the slogan “A new flavor of Jelly Bean”. Jelly Bean 4.2 was based on Linux kernel 3.4.0, and debuted on Google’s Nexus 4 and Nexus 10, which were released on November 13, 2012.
Version Release date Features
4.2 November 13, 2012
  • Lock screen improvements, including widget support (removed again in 2014) and the ability to swipe directly to camera
  • Notification power controls (“Quick Settings”)
  • “Daydream” screensavers, showing information when idle or docked (later renamed to “screen saver” following the launch of the unrelated Google DaydreamVR platform in 2016)
  • Multiple user accounts (tablets only)
  • Rewritten Bluetooth stack, switching from Bluez to Broadcom open source BlueDroid, allowing improved support for multiple displays and wireless display (Miracast)
  • Native right-to-left, always-on VPN and application verification. A new NFC stack was added at the same time.
  • Accessibility improvements: triple-tap to magnify the entire screen, pan and zoom with two fingers. Speech output and Gesture Mode navigation for blind users
  • New clock application with built-in world clock, stop watch and timer
  • All devices now use the same interface layout, previously adapted from phones on 4.1 for smaller tablets (with centered software buttons, the system bar at the top of the screen, and a home screen with a dock and centered application menu), regardless of screen size
  • Increased number of extended notifications and Actionable Notifications for more applications, allowing users to respond to certain notifications within the notification bar and without launching the application directly
  • SELinux
  • Premium SMS confirmation
  • Group Messaging
4.2.1 November 27, 2012
  • Fixed a bug in the People application where December was not displayed on the date selector when adding an event to a contact
  • Added Bluetooth gamepads and joysticks as supported HID (Human interface device)
4.2.2 February 11, 2013
  • Fixed Bluetooth audio streaming bugs
  • Long-pressing the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth icons in Quick Settings now toggles the on/off state
  • New download notifications, which now shows the percentage and estimated time remaining for active application downloads
  • New sounds for wireless charging and low battery
  • New Gallery application animation allows faster loading
  • USB debug whitelist
  • Bugfixes and performance enhancements

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean(API 18)

Google released Jelly Bean 4.3 under the slogan “An even sweeter Jelly Bean” on July 24, 2013, during an event in San Francisco called “Breakfast with Sundar Pichai”. Most Nexus devices received the update within a week, although the second-generation Nexus 7 tablet was the first device to officially ship with it. A minor bugfix update was released on August 22, 2013.
Version Release date Features
4.3 July 24, 2013
  • Bluetooth low energy support
  • Bluetooth Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) 1.3 support
  • OpenGL ES 3.0 support, allowing for improved game graphics
  • Restricted access mode for new user profiles
  • Filesystem write performance improvement by running fstrim command while device is idle
  • Dial pad auto-complete in the Phone application
  • Volume for incoming calls (ringtone) and notification alerts is no longer adjustable separately
  • Improvements to Photo Sphere
  • Reworked camera UI, previously introduced on Google Play edition phones
  • Addition of “App Ops”, a fine-grained application permissions control system (hidden by default)
  • SELinux enabled by default
  • 4K resolution support
  • Numerous security updates, performance enhancements, and bugfixes
  • System-level support for geofencing and Wi-Fi scanning APIs
  • Background Wi-Fi location still runs even when Wi-Fi is turned off
  • Developer logging and analyzing enhancements
  • Added support for five more languages
  • Changed digital rights management (DRM) APIs
  • Right-to-left (RTL) languages now supported
  • Clock in the status bar disappears if clock is selected as lockscreen widget
  • Native emoji support
4.3.1 October 3, 2013
  • Bugfixes and small tweaks for the Nexus 7 LTE

Although primarily meant to enhance functionality and improve user interface, “Google Now” was indeed the most innovative aspect of Version 4.1. Nicknamed as Jelly Bean, here was something that could correctly guess what you are up to search, before you actually go looking for it.

Apart from the predictive feature, highly interactive notifications too made Jelly Bean stand out from the rest. Version 4.1 was also noted for its unique in- built speech-to-text engine, popularly referred to as ‘voice typing’. The outcome has been an overall performance enhancement that assured an absolutely buttery smooth user interface.

Android KitKat

Android Version 4.4

Android 4.4 KitKat(API 19)

Google announced Android 4.4 KitKat on September 3, 2013. Although initially under the “Key Lime Pie” (“KLP”) codename, the name was changed because “very few people actually know the taste of a key lime pie.”[144] Some technology bloggers also expected the “Key Lime Pie” release to be Android 5.[145] KitKat debuted on Google’s Nexus 5 on October 31, 2013, and was optimized to run on a greater range of devices than earlier Android versions, having 512 MB of RAM as a recommended minimum; those improvements were known as “Project Svelte” internally at Google.[146] The required minimum amount of RAM available to Android is 340 MB, and all devices with less than 512 MB of RAM must report themselves as “low RAM” devices.
Version Release date Features
4.4 October 31, 2013
  • Refreshed interface with white elements instead of blue
  • Clock no longer shows bold hours; all digits are thin. The H, M, and S markings for the stopwatch and timer have been removed, leaving just the numbers.
  • Ability for applications to trigger translucency in the navigation and status bars
  • Ability for applications to use “immersive mode” to keep the navigation and status bars hidden while maintaining user interaction
  • Action overflow menu buttons are always visible, even on devices with a “Menu” key, which was officially deprecated by Android 4.0.
  • Restriction for applications when accessing external storage, except for their own directories
  • Optimizations for performance on devices with lower specifications, including zRAM support and “low RAM” device API
  • Wireless printing capability
  • NFC host card emulation, enabling a device to replace smart cards
  • WebViews now based on Chromium engine (feature parity with Chrome for Android 30)
  • Expanded functionality for notification listener services
  • Public API for developing and managing text messaging clients
  • Storage Access Framework, an API allowing apps to retrieve files in a consistent manner. As part of the framework, a new system file picker allows users to access files from various sources (including those exposed by apps, such as online storage services).
  • New framework for UI transitions
  • Sensor batching, step detector and counter APIs
  • Settings application now makes it possible to select default text messaging and home (launcher) application
  • Audio tunneling, audio monitoring and loudness enhancer
  • Built-in screen recording feature (primarily for developers, as usage of ADB is required)
  • Native infrared blaster API
  • Verified boot
  • Enforcing SELinux
  • Expanded accessibility APIs and system-level closed captioning settings
  • Android Runtime (ART) introduced as a new experimental application runtime environment, not enabled by default, as a replacement for the Dalvik virtual machine
  • Bluetooth Message Access Profile (MAP) support
  • Disabled access to battery statistics by third-party applications
  • Settings application no longer uses a multi-pane layout on devices with larger screens
  • Wi-Fi and mobile data activity (TX/RX) indicators are moved to quick settings
  • Disables text wrapping in the WebView browser component
4.4.1 December 5, 2013
  • Better application compatibility for the experimental Android Runtime (ART)
  • Camera application now loads Google+ Photos instead of Gallery when swiping away from the camera view
  • Miscellaneous improvements and bugfixes
4.4.2 December 9, 2013
  • Further security enhancements and bugfixes
  • Removal of the “App Ops” application permissions control system, introduced in Android 4.3
4.4.3 June 2, 2014
  • Refreshed Dialer app interface
  • Updated the Chromium-based WebView to version 33 (screencasting to DevTools, HTML5 Canvas hardware acceleration performance improvements, vibration API, HTML5 form validation, HTML5 datalist)
  • Miscellaneous improvements and bugfixes
4.4.4 June 19, 2014
  • CVE-2014-0224 fixed, eliminating an OpenSSL man-in-the-middle vulnerability

Android 4.4W KitKat, with wearable extensions(API 20)

On June 24, 2014, a version of Android KitKat exclusive to Android Wear devices was released.
Version Release date Features
4.4W June 25, 2014
  • The initial release of Android Wear platform for smartwatches: the same as Android 4.4 “KitKat”, but with wearable extensions added
4.4W.1 September 6, 2014
  • UI updates for Google Maps navigation and alarms
4.4W.2 October 21, 2014
  • Offline music playback
  • GPS support

Google officially unveiled Android version 4.4, which is named as Kitkat, in 2013. Nestle offered full support and even kicked off a special ad campaign on its release.

However, the code name that Google had initially associated with Android 4.4 was “Key Lime Pie”. The name was later changed to Kitkat as they thought key lime pie was not a very popular dessert.

Google wanted a dessert name that is known by all, and hence partnered with Nestle for the code name Kitkat. Version 4.4 debuted on Nexus 5, and can effectively run on quite many devices compared to earlier Android versions.

‘Google Now’ feature, introduced initially in Jelly Bean was taken even ahead with the introduction of Kitkat. Earlier, you had to touch the gadget to open up the smart artificial intelligence (AI) assistant. Now with Jelly Bean, all you got to do to initiate the search is to utter the required phrase to the gadget.

Another advantage of Version 4.4 was that now the operating system could run even on devices with lower RAM. 512 MB RAM was the recommended minimum. The introduction of Emoji on Google’s keyboards was yet another unique aspect of Kitkat.

Android Lollipop

Android Version 5.0

Android 5.0 Lollipop(API 21)

Android 5.0 “Lollipop” was unveiled under the codename “Android L” on June 25, 2014, during Google I/O. It became available as official over-the-air (OTA) updates on November 12, 2014, for select devices that run distributions of Android serviced by Google, including Nexus and Google Play edition devices. Its source code was made available on November 3, 2014.Lollipop features a redesigned user interface built around a responsive design language referred to as “material design”. Other changes include improvements to the notifications, which can be accessed from the lockscreen and displayed within applications as top-of-the-screen banners. Furthermore, Google made internal changes to the platform, with the Android Runtime (ART) officially replacing Dalvik for improved application performance, and with changes intended to improve and optimize battery usage, known internally as Project Volta.
Version Release date Features
5.0 November 12, 2014
  • Android Runtime (ART) with ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation and improved garbage collection (GC), replacing Dalvik that combines bytecode interpretation with trace-based just-in-time (JIT) compilation
  • Support for 64-bit CPUs
  • OpenGL ES 3.1 and Android Extension Pack (AEP) on supported GPU configurations
  • Recent activities screen with tasks instead of applications, up to a configured maximum of tasks per application
  • Vector drawables, which scale without losing definition
  • Support for print previews
  • Material design, bringing a restyled user interface
  • Refreshed lock screen, no longer supporting widgets
  • Refreshed notification tray and quick settings pull-down
  • Project Volta, for battery life improvements
  • Searches can be performed within the system settings for quicker access to particular settings
  • Lock screen provides shortcuts to application and notification settings
  • Guest logins and multiple user accounts are available on more devices, such as phones.
  • Audio input and output through USB devices
  • Third-party applications regain the ability to read and modify data located anywhere on external storage, such as on SD cards.
  • Pinning of an application’s screen for restricted user activity.
  • Recently used applications are remembered even after restarting the device.
  • WebViews receive updates independently through Google Play for security reasons, instead of relying on system-wide vendor updates
  • Addition of 15 new languages: Basque, Bengali, Burmese, Chinese (Hong Kong), Galician, Icelandic, Kannada, Kyrgyz, Macedonian, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Sinhala, Tamil and Telugu
  • Tap and Go allows users to quickly migrate to a new Android device, using NFC and Bluetooth to transfer Google Account details, configuration settings, user data and installed applications
  • A flashlight-style application is included, working on supported devices with a camera flash.
  • User-customizable priorities for application notifications.
  • Smart lock feature
  • SELinux in enforcing mode for all domains
  • Updated emoji
  • Improved accessibility support (e.g. switch access support)
  • Block-based over-the-air (OTA) updates for new devices
5.0.1 December 2, 2014
  • A few bugfixes, including resolving issues with video playback and password failures handling
5.0.2 December 19, 2014
  • Fixes a bug with TRIM support (introduced in Version 4.3), which prevented devices from running on-charger cleanups of file system allocations if the device was turned off at midnight, or if it was charged only when in use.
  • Changes how alarms wake the CPU, and how alarms compete for system resources.

Android 5.1 Lollipop(API 22)

Version Release date Features
5.1 March 9, 2015
  • Improvements and bug-fixes to the Overview screen
  • Ability to join Wi-Fi networks and control paired Bluetooth devices from quick settings
  • Official support for multiple SIM cards
  • Device protection: if a device is lost or stolen it will remain locked until the owner signs into their Google account, even if the device is reset to factory settings.
  • High-definition voice calls, available between compatible 4G LTE devices running Android 5.1
  • Improvements to the notification priority system, to more closely replicate the silent mode that was removed in Android 5.0.
5.1.1 April 21, 2015
  • Various bugfixes
  • Native WiFi calling support

With Version 5.0, popularly referred to as Lollipop, Android could simply spread across a wide range of devices from smart phones to televisions and even to smart watches. Lollipop came out with a brand new runtime. Battery saving feature ensures excellent battery life on these various devices. It saves your phone from damage even while its battery is running low.

Android Marshmallow

Android Version 6.0

Android 6.0 Marshmallow(API 23)

Android 6.0 “Marshmallow” was unveiled under the codename “Android M” during Google I/O on May 28, 2015, for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 phones, Nexus 9 tablet, and Nexus Player set-top box, under the build number MPZ44Q. The third developer preview (MPA44G) was released on August 17, 2015 for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player devices,[204] and was updated to MPA44I that brought fixes related to Android for Work profiles.
Version Release date Features
6.0 October 5, 2015
  • Contextual search from keywords within apps.
  • Introduction of Doze mode, which reduces CPU speed while the screen is off in order to save battery life
  • App Standby feature
  • Alphabetically accessible vertical application drawer
  • Application search bar and favorites
  • Native fingerprint reader support
  • Direct Share feature for target-specific sharing between apps
  • Renamed “Priority” mode to “Do Not Disturb” mode
  • App Linking for faster instinctive opening of links with corresponding applications
  • Larger Application folders with multiple pages
  • Post-install/run-time permission requests
  • USB-C support
  • Demo Mode feature for screenshot-capture usage
  • Automatic full data backup and restore for apps
  • 4K display mode for apps
  • Adoptable External storage to behave like Internal Storage (However, this causes more actual problems than the hypothetical ones it was probably designed to solve.)
  • MIDI support for musical instruments
  • Experimental multi-window feature
  • Support for actions by third-party apps in the text selection menu
  • App permissions now granted individually at run-time, not all-or-nothing at install time.
  • Miracast support dropped
6.0.1 December 7, 2015
  • Unicode 7.0 & 8.0 emoji support.
  • Descriptions for USB connection options
  • Double-tap power button to open camera

Android 6.0, named Marshmallow, has been released under the code name Android M. It has ushered in a fistful of welcome changes that are sure to make a major impact. Doze mode that cuts down the power consumption drastically when the device is idle, opt-in app permission, fully supported USB C, inbuilt fingerprint sensor support system is but a few of them.

Android Nougat

Android Version 7.0

Android 7.0 Nougat(API 24)

Android “Nougat” (codenamed N in-development) is the major 7.0 release of the Android operating system. It was first released as a developer preview on March 9, 2016, with factory images for current Nexus devices, as well as with the new “Android Beta Program” which allows supported devices to be upgraded directly to the Android Nougat beta via over-the-air update. Final release was on August 22, 2016. The final preview build was released on July 18, 2016, with the build number NPD90G.
Version Release date Features
7.0 August 22, 2016
  • Unicode 9.0 emoji and skin tone modifier support (and exposes a subset of ICU4J APIs).
  • Ability to display color calibration
  • Ability to screen zoom
  • Ability to switch apps by double tapping in overview button
  • Added Emergency information part
  • Added the “Clear All” button in Overview screen
  • Another system partition, which gets updated when not in use, allowing for seamless system updates
  • Daydream virtual reality platform (VR interface)
  • Improved Doze functionality, which aims to prolong battery life
  • Improvements to file browser
  • More Quick Settings options
  • Multi-window support, which supports floating apps on a desktop layout
  • New Data Saver mode, which can force apps to reduce bandwidth usage
  • New JIT Compiler, making for 75 percent faster app installations and a 50 percent reduction in compiled code size
  • Just in Time (JIT) compiler with code profiling to ART, which lets it constantly improve the performance of Android apps as they run
  • Picture-in-picture support for Android TV
  • Redesigned notification shade, featuring instant access to certain settings
  • Redesigned Overview screen
  • Replaced notification cards with notification sheets
  • Settings app navigation drawer
  • Vulkan 3D rendering API
  • Multiple Device Locales

Android 7.1 Nougat(API 25)

On October 19, 2016, Google released Android 7.1.1 as a developer preview for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P and the Pixel C. A second preview became available on November 22, 2016, before the final version was released to the public on December 5, 2016.
Version Release date Features
7.1 October 4, 2016
  • Rearranged notification shade
  • Touch/display performance improvements
  • Moves (Fingerprint swipe down gesture – opt-in)
  • Opt-in with new hardware required:
    • Seamless A/B system updates
    • Daydream VR mode
  • Developer features:
    • Shortcut manager APIs
    • Circular app icons support
    • Keyboard image insertion
    • Fingerprint sensor gesture to open/close notification shade
    • Manual storage manager Intent for apps
    • Improved VR thread scheduling
    • Enhanced wallpaper metadata
    • Multi-endpoint call support
    • Support for various MNO requirements
      • PCDMA voice privacy property
      • Source type support for Visual Voicemail
      • Carrier config options for managing video telephony
  • Manual storage manager – identifies files and apps using storage
7.1.1 December 5, 2016
  • New set of emojis adding different skin and haircut to existing ones
  • Send GIFs directly from the default keyboard
  • App shortcuts: Launch actions on apps by long pressing the app icon
  • Developer Options: Show CPU Usage feature removed
7.1.2 April 4, 2017
  • Battery usage alerts

Android Oreo

Android Version 8.0

Android 8.0 Oreo(API 26)

Android Oreo is the 8th major release of the Android operating system. It was first released as a developer preview on March 21, 2017, with factory images for current Nexus and Pixel devices. The final developer preview was released on July 24, 2017, with the stable version released in August 2017.
Version Release date Features
8.0 August 21, 2017
  • Project Treble, the biggest change to the foundations of Android to date: a modular architecture that makes it easier and faster for hardware makers to deliver Android updates
  • Picture-in-picture support
  • Support for Unicode 10.0 emoji and replacement of all blob-shaped emojis by round ones with gradient and outline
  • Redesigned Quick Settings and Settings with white background and respectively black and Accent font color
  • Restructured Settings by regrouping in sections similar entries
  • Adaptive icons
  • Notification improvements
    • Notification channels
    • Notification dots (badges)
    • Notification snoozing
    • Notification shade multi-colors (for music album art, messengers etc)
  • System-wide Autofill framework
  • Sony LDAC codec support
  • App-specific unknown sources
  • Multi-display support
  • 2 times faster boot time
  • Apps background execution and location limits
  • Google Play Protect
  • Downloadable fonts
  • Integrated printing support
  • Color management (deep color and wide color gamut)
  • Wi-Fi Assistant

Android 8.1 Oreo(API 27)

Android Oreo is the 8th major release of the Android operating system. It was first released as a developer preview on October 25, 2017, with factory images for current Nexus and Pixel devices. A second developer preview was made available on November 27, 2017 for Nexus and Pixel devices, before the stable version was released on December 5, 2017.
Version Release date Features
8.1 December 5, 2017
  • Neural networks API
  • Shared memory API
  • WallpaperColors API
  • Bluetooth battery level for connected devices, accessible in Quick Settings
  • Android Oreo Go Edition, an optional lightweight distribution of Android for low-end devices with less than 1 GB of RAM[disputed – discuss]
  • Autofill framework updates
  • Programmatic Safe Browsing actions
  • Navigation buttons dim when not in use
  • Visual changes to ‘Power Off’ and ‘Restart’ including a new screen and floating toolbar
  • Toast messages are now white in color with same existing transparency
  • Automatic light and dark themes
  • New Easter Egg in the form of an official Oreo cookie picture
  • Hamburger emoji amended to move position of the cheese slice

Android Pie

Android Version 9.0

Android 9.0 Pie(API 28)

Android Pie is the ninth major version of the Android operating system. It was first announced by Google on March 7, 2018, and the first developer preview was released on the same day. Second preview, considered beta quality, was released on May 8, 2018. The final beta of Android P (fifth preview, also considered as a “Release Candidate”) was released on July 25, 2018. The first official release was released on August 6, 2018.
Version Release date Features
9.0 August 6, 2018
  • New user interface for the quick settings menu
  • The clock has moved to the left of the notification bar.
  • The “dock” now has a semi-transparent background.
  • Battery saver no longer shows an orange overlay on the notification and status bars.
  • A “screenshot” button has been added to the power options.
  • A new “Lockdown” mode which disables biometric authentication once activated
  • Rounded corners across the UI
  • 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, and smart replies akin to Google’s new app, Reply
  • Support for display cutouts
  • Redesigned volume slider
  • Battery percentage now shown in Always-On Display
  • Lock screen security changes include the possible return of an improved NFC Unlock.
  • Experimental features (which are currently hidden within a menu called Feature Flags) such as a redesigned About Phone page in settings, and automatic Bluetooth enabling while driving
  • DNS over TLS
  • A new optional gesture-based system interface, allowing users to navigate the OS using swipes more often than the traditional UI
  • Redesigned multitask app switcher with Google search bar and app drawer built in.
  • Android Dashboard, which tells the user how much time you’re spending on your device and in apps, and allows the user to set time limits on apps
  • “Shush”, an enhanced version of Do Not Disturb mode activated by placing the phone face down, which mutes standard notifications
  • “Adaptive Battery” prediction, which makes use of Doze to hibernate user apps the OS determines the user will not use
  • Auto Brightness feature modifies screen brightness based on user habits
  • Wind Down option lets Android users set a specific bed time that enables Do Not Disturb and turns the entire phone’s interface gray to discourage further use at night
  • Vulkan 1.1 support

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