Android Timeline and Versions

 
 

Android Timeline

The Android OS was first released in September 2008. Google rolls out new versions of Android on a frequent basis, but has no set time for each future version. Some of the in-between versions were never released commercially.

It typically takes manufacturers 6 to 12 months after a specific Android Software Development Kit (SDK) release to deliver products using that version, so the vendor can complete custom additions, interface code and QA the device. Although not supported by manufacturers, it is often possible to install a newer OS version into a 'rooted' device.

Android timeline and versions

Kit Kat

Android Version 4.4

In September 2013, version 4.4 was announced. This release uses the new code-name of Kit Kat.

Areas that are new or improved include:

  • Just say "Ok Google" to start voice operations
  • When playing music or videos, lock screen shows related art
  • Immersive mode hides everything except the active content
  • Faster multitasking
  • Priority contacts listing
  • Hangouts places all messages in one place
  • Printing
Jelly Bean

Android Version 4.3

In July 2013, version 4.3 was announced. This release retains the prior release's code-name of Jelly Bean.

Areas that are new or improved include:

  • Restricted profiles for tablets
  • Improved Bluetooth power efficency
  • Dial pad autocomplete
  • Improved Right-to-Left language support
  • Faster user switching from lock screen
  • 4K Resolution support
Jelly Bean

Android Version 4.2

In October 2012, version 4.2 was announced. This release retains the prior release's code-name of Jelly Bean.

UI changes and enhancements include:

  • Multiple users for tablets

Other areas that are new or improved include:

  • Photo Sphere to take 360 degree images
  • Built-in keyboard gesture typing (like Swype)
  • Daydream to display info while idle or docked
  • Beam photos and vidoes
Jelly Bean

Android Version 4.1

In July 2012, version 4.1 was released. This release is code-named Jelly Bean.

UI changes and enhancements include:

  • Improved touch response and transitions
  • Expandable, actionable notifications
  • Adaptive keyboard and guesses

Other areas that are new or improved include:

  • Instant review of taken photos
  • External braille input and output via USB
  • Improved Voice search
  • NFC based photo sharing
  • USB audio
  • Google Wallet
Ice cream sandwich

Android Version 4.0

In late October 2011, version 4.0 was released. This release is code-named Ice-Cream Sandwich. It merges the 3.x tab centric design and the v2.x phone based design into a single version.

Major UI changes and enhancements include:

  • Refined UI
  • Recent Apps selection
  • Home folders and favorites tray
  • Resizable Widgets
  • Lock screen actions
  • Quick Response for calls
  • Network data control

Other areas that are new or improved include:

  • Social network improvements
  • Unified calendar
  • Camera and Camcorder changes - face detection, image stabilization, snapshots while video recording, new gallery app with photo editor
  • Browser can get full desktop versions of web sites
  • Improved Email
  • NFC based sharing
  • Face Unlock
  • WiFi-Direct support

honeycomb

Android Version 3.2

In July 2011, Android 3.2 was released. This release is also code-named Honeycomb (like versions 3.1 and 3.0). Enhancements over prior versions include:

  • Further enhancements for Tablets
  • Compatibility zoom for fixed-sized applications
  • Direct application access to SD card file system
  • Extended screen API for managing different screen sizes
honeycomb

Android Version 3.1

In June 2011, Android 3.1 was released. This release is also code-named Honeycomb (like version 3.0) and is targeted at devices with larger screens such as tablets. Enhancements include:

  • UI refinements to navigation and animations
  • USB devices and accessories supported, including mice, keyboards, digital cameras and more.
  • Expanded recent apps list
  • Resizeable Home screen widgets
  • Support for joysticks and gamepads
  • Improved Wi-Fi networking stability, including connection while the screen is off
  • Updated set of standard apps, including browser, gallery calendar, contacts and email.
  • Enterprise support features
honeycomb

Android Version 3.0

In February 2011, the 3.0 SDK was released. This release is code-named Honeycomb and is targeted at devices with larger screens such as tablets. Enhancements include:

  • New UI optimized for tablets includes a new system bar, action bar, customizable home screens and recent apps list
  • Redesigned keyboard for faster more accurate entry
  • Improved text selection, copy and paste
  • Synchronize media files via USB without mounting a USB mass-storage device
  • Support for physical keyboards via Bluetooth or USB
  • Bluetooth tethering allows more devices to share the network connection
  • Updated applications for larger screens including browser, camera, gallery, contact and email
  • Multi-core processor support
  • High-performance 2D and 3D graphic support
gingerbread

Android Version 2.3

In December 2010 the 2.3 SDK was released. This release is code-named Gingerbread. There have also been a stream of minor updates and bug fixes to version 2.3 since it's intial release, with the latest as version 2.3.7 in September 2011. Enhancements from the first 2.3 release include:

  • UI refinements for simplicity and speed
  • Faster, more intuitive text input on the virtual keyboard
  • One-touch word selection and copy/paste
  • Improved power management and power usage status
  • Application status and ability to manually stop applications
  • Internet phone calling
  • Near-Field Communication (NFC) support to read NFC tags
  • New download manager
  • Multiple camera support (i.e. front and rear cameras)
  • Support for barometer, gravity, gyroscope, linear acceleration and rotation vector sensors
froyo

Android Version 2.2

In May 2010 the 2.2 SDK was released. This release is code-named Froyo (for Frozen Yogurt). Enhancements include:

  • Camera control improvements with more on-screen buttons
  • Tethering with up to 8 WiFi hotspots or via USB connection
  • Multi-lingual keyboard support allows quick language switching
  • More performance improvements for faster app access and browser speedups
  • Bluetooth improvements including voice dialing, contract sharing, support for bluetooth car and desk docks
  • Numerous enhancements for Microsoft's Exchange, such as remote wipe, calendar support, global address lists and improved security
  • New home screen tips widget
eclair

Android Version 2.0 and 2.1

In October 2009, the 2.0 SDK was released, and updated in January 2010 with version 2.1. Few devices were released with v2.0, but v2.1 has been quite popular. These releases were both code-named Eclair. Enhancements include:

  • Improved UI
  • Contact and Account improvements and synchronization
  • Email support for Exchange, supports multiple account aggregation
  • More camera improvements including flash, digital zoom, white balance, scene modes and macro focus
  • Improved virtual keyboard
  • Browser improvements including key functions of HTML5
  • Improved speed
  • Improvements to Calendar and Google Maps
  • Bluetooth 2.1 support and related Bluetooth features
  • Live wallpapers
donut

Android Version 1.6

The v1.6 Software Development Kit (SDK) was released in September 2009. This release was code-named Donut. Enhancements include:

  • New camera, camcorder and photo gallery interfaces
  • Improved voice search and search experience
  • Support for higher screen resolutions
  • Google turn-by-turn navigation
  • Text to speech engine
  • Multi-touch gesture support
  • VPN (Virtual Private Network) support
cupcake

Android Version 1.5

This was a major release that was first utilized by a number of manufacturers. It was made available in April 2009, and was code-named Cupcake by Google. Enhancements include:

  • Camcorder support to record and watch videos
  • Ability to easily upload images and videos to Picasa and YouTube
  • A number of Bluetooth improvements
  • Widgets and folders can now be placed on the home screen
  • Animation on various screen transitions
  • On-screen keyboard with text-prediction

Android Version 1.1

This minor update was the first release used in a commercial device, the T-mobile G1, in October 2008.

Android Version 1.0

This first release was made in September 2008, but was not used in any commercially available device.