Android is a mobile operating system; it is based on modified Linux kernel and alternative open source software. Android is developed by a consortium of developers known as the (OHA)Open Handset Alliance, with the main contributor being Google.
It was originally founded and developed by Andy Rubin, Rich Miner and Nick Sears under the name “Android, Inc”.
Android Inc. was to develop “smarter mobile devices that are more aware of its owner’s location and preferences.” Andy Rubin further stated, “If people are smart, that information starts getting aggregated into consumer products.” The year was 2003 and the location was Palo Alto, California. This was the year Android was born.
In July 2005 Google acquired Android Inc. for $50 million and Its key employees, including Rubin, Miner and White, joined Google as part of the acquisition.
The First Distribution of Android
On November 5, 2007, a press release from the Open Handset Alliance set the stage for the future of the Android platform. At that time, more than 2 billion mobile phones were used worldwide.
Google has released ten major versions of their Android operating system, each one coming with its own respective improvements to quality. Every new release of Android is named after a dessert, in alphabetical order.
Android 1.0 (Astro), Android 1.1 (Beta)
Astro is a first beta version started, released on November 2007, and released to the public in September of 2008 on the HTC Dream. Astro Android OS included many of the apps that Android users now know and love. These include Android Market, a web browser, e-mail/Gmail, Google Maps, Messaging, Media Player, YouTube, and various others.
Cupcake, released April 30, 2009, was the next major version of Android to hit the commercial markets. Cupcake included many new features to users and developers. The major changes were support for virtual keyboards, support for widgets on the home screen, animations added in various places, and auto-pairing and stereo support for Bluetooth-capable devices.
Donut, released on September 15, 2009. With Donut came an updated Linux kernel from 2.6.27 to 2.6.29, as well as some new features and supported devices. Major features included voice and text search of contacts, web, bookmarks, support for WVGA screens, and improvements to camera functionality and speed.
Eclair was released October 26, 2009, which continued to be built on the Linux kernel version 2.6.29. With SDK version 2.0 came many new features. Big changes were made to the way that Android looked and felt on capable devices, including significant speed improvements in many different applications.
Froyo, released on May 20, 2010, released with Linux kernel 2.6.32. Google’s Nexus One was the first device on the market to show off Froyo and its new capabilities. Very significant features were added to Froyo, including Adobe Flash support, Android Cloud to Device Messaging, Wi-Fi hotspot functionality.
Gingerbread, released on the December 6, 2010 and was based on the Linux kernel 2.6.35. Google’s Nexus S was introduced to show off Gingerbread. Features of Gingerbread include support for WXGA and other extra-large screen sizes, improvements to the virtual keyboard, support for more internal sensors (namely gyroscopes and barometers), support for multiple and front-facing cameras, and the ability to read Near Field Communication (NFC) tags.
In February of 2011, Honeycomb, the first tablet-only Android version, was released on the Motorola Xoom. Because Honeycomb was created specifically for tablet devices, Android was tweaked to allow for a more enjoyable experience with larger screen real estate. This included a redesign of the onscreen keyboard, a system bar to allow for quick access to notifications and navigation, multiple browser tabs to allow for easier use of the web, and support for multi-core processors.
Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0.x)
Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) was released on October 19, 2011 and was based on the Linux kernel 3.0.1. Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus was the device released with ICS as it hit public markets. ICS was packed with a multitude of features and improvements to the Android user interface (UI). Some features include a customizable launcher, a tabbed web browser, a built-in photo editor, hardware acceleration of the UI
Jelly Bean (4.1.x, 4.2, 4.3)
Jelly Bean was released on July 9, 2012 and is based on the Linux kernel 3.1.10. Asus’ Nexus 7 tablet device was the flagship user of Jelly Bean. Jelly Bean released a number of improvements and performance upgrades to the UI and audio within Android. Version 4.2, released on November 13, 2012 and based on Linux kernel 3.4.0. Version 4.3 was released on July 24, 2013, and added OpenGL ES 3.0 support for better game graphics, security enhancements.
KitKat, was released on September 3, 2013. Its features included performance optimizations for devices with less RAM, expanded accessibility APIs, wireless printing capability, and a new experimental runtime virtual machine, called ART.
Android 5 was “Lollipop,” and it improved the aesthetic of the interface, and it introduced the material design.
Released on 2015, Android 6.0 Marshmallow used the sweet treat favored by campers over a fire as its main symbol.
It included features such a new vertically scrolling app drawer, along with Google Now on Tap, native support for fingerprint biometric unlocking of a smartphone,USB Type-C support, the introduction of Android Pay, and much more.
Released on 2016. Before Nougat was revealed “Android N” was referred to internally by Google as “New York Cheesecake”. Just some of Nougat’s many new features included better multi-tasking functions for the growing number of smartphones that have bigger displays, such as split-screen mode, along with quick switching between apps.
Released on March 2017, Google officially announced and released the first developer preview for Android O, also known as Android 8.0.
It contains a number of major features, including notification grouping, picture-in-picture support for video, performance improvements and battery usage optimization, and support for Bluetooth 5, system-level integration with VoIP apps.
Released publicly on August 6, 2018, Android Pie, then referred to as “Android P”. Android Pie utilizes a refresh of Google’s “material design” language, unofficially referred to as “Material Design 2.0”. The revamp provides more variance in aesthetics, encouraging the creation of custom “themes” for the base guidelines and components rather than a standardized appearance.
Android 10 (Q)
Google released the first beta of Android 10 under the preliminary name “Android Q” on March 13, 2019, exclusively on their Pixel phones, including the first-generation Pixel and Pixel XL devices where support was extended due to popular demand.
Android 10 introduces a revamped full-screen gesture system, with gestures such as swiping from either side edge of the display to go back, swiping up to go to the home screen, swiping up and holding to access Overview, swiping diagonally from a bottom corner of the screen to activate the Google Assistant, and swiping along the gesture bar at the bottom of the screen to switch apps.