What’s Android and its history ? – Cupcake to Nougat

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From ordering your dinner meal to tracking your train. From sending photos/ videos/ voice mails to schedule manager. From money transfer to recharge your cell. Playing games, reading news updates, tweeting and much more! Life has been comprised completely in one phone and everything happening with just a touch. It’s not so wonderful? The World is contracting with the growth of mobile phone technology. As the number of users is increasing day by day, facilities are also increasing. Starting with simple regular handsets which were used just for making phone calls, mobiles have changed our lives and have become part of it. Now they are not used just for making calls but they have innumerable uses and can be used as a Camera, Music player, Tablet PC, T.V., Web browser etc. And with the new technologies, new software and operating systems are required.

 

Operating Systems have developed a lot in last 15 years. Starting from black and white phones to recent smartphones or mini computers, mobile OS has come far away. Especially for smartphones, Mobile OS has greatly evolved from Palm OS in 1996 to Windows pocket PC in 2000 then to Blackberry OS and Android. Android is a software bunch comprising not only the operating system but also middleware and key applications. Android Inc was founded in Palo Alto of California, U.S. by Andy Rubin[co-founder of danger ], rich miner[co-founder of wildfire communication Inc.], nick sears[once VP at T- mobile], and Chris white[headed design and interface development at web TV] in 2003. Later Android Inc. was acquired by Google in 2005. After original release, there have been a number of updates in the original version of Android. It is an open source software platform and operating system for mobile devices, based on the Linux kernel. It allows writing managed code in the Java language and has its own virtual machine i.e. DVM (Dalvik Virtual Machine), which is used for executing the android application. Android applications can be downloaded from the Google Play store, which features over 2.7 million apps as of February 2017. Android has been the best-selling OS on tablets since 2013 and runs on the vast majority of smartphones. In September 2015, Android had 1.4 billion monthly active users, and it has the largest installed base of any operating system.

 

Founders of Android Inc. described the Android project as “tremendous potential in developing smarter mobile devices that are more aware of its owner’s location and preferences”. The early intentions of the company were to develop an advanced operating system for digital cameras. Though, when it was realized that the market for the devices was not large enough, the company diverted its efforts toward producing a smartphone operating system that would rival Symbian and Microsoft Windows Mobile. Despite the past accomplishments of the founders and early employees, Android Inc. operated secretly, revealing only that it was working on software for mobile phones. In July 2005, Google acquired Android Inc. for at least $50 million. Its key employees, including Rubin, Miner and White, joined Google as part of the acquisition. Not much was known about Android at the time, with Rubin having only stated that they were “making software for mobile phones”. At Google, the team led by Rubin developed a mobile device platform powered by the Linux kernel. Google marketed the platform to handset makers and carriers on the promise of providing a flexible, upgradeable system. Google had “lined up a series of hardware components and software partners and signaled to carriers that it was open to various degrees of cooperation”.

 

On November 5, 2007, the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of technology companies including Google, device manufacturers such as HTC, Motorola and Samsung, wireless carriers such as Sprint and T-Mobile, and chipset makers such as Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, unveiled itself, with a goal to develop “the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices”. The first commercially available smartphone running Android was the HTC Dream, also known as T-Mobile G1, announced on September 23, 2008.

 

Since 2008, Android has seen numerous updates which have incrementally improved the operating system, adding new features and fixing bugs in previous releases. Each major release is named in alphabetical order after a dessert or sugary treat, with the first few Android versions being called “Cupcake”, “Donut”, “Eclair”, and “Froyo”, respectively. During its announcement of Android KitKat in 2013, Google explained that “Since these devices make our lives so sweet, each Android version is named after a dessert”, although a Google spokesperson told CNN in an interview that “It’s kind of like an internal team thing, and we prefer to be a little bit — how should I say — a bit inscrutable in the matter, I’ll say”.

 

In 2010, Google launched its Nexus series of devices, a lineup in which Google partnered with different device manufacturers to produce new devices and introduce new Android versions. The series was described as having “played a pivotal role in Android’s history by introducing new software iterations and hardware standards across the board”.

 

In June 2014, Google announced Android One, a set of “hardware reference models” that would “allow [device makers] to easily create high-quality phones at low costs”, designed for consumers in developing countries. In September, Google announced the first set of Android One phones for release in India. However, Recode reported in June 2015 that the project was “a disappointment”, citing “reluctant consumers and manufacturing partners” and “misfires from the search company that has never quite cracked hardware”.

 

Google introduced the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones in October 2016, marketed as being the first phones made by Google and exclusively featured certain software features, such as the Google Assistant, before the wider rollout. The Pixel phones replaced the Nexus series, and Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of hardware, confirmed in March 2017 that a sequel to the Pixel is coming later in 2017.

 

Here’s list of all android versions released till date along with their version code & release date.

Android (Alpha) 1.0 – September 23, 2008

Beta (Internally known as “Petit Four”) 1.1 – February 9, 2009

Cupcake 1.5 – April 27, 2009

Donut 1.6 – September 15, 2009

Eclair 2.0 – 2.1 – October 26, 2009

Froyo 2.2 – 2.2.3 – May 20, 2010

Gingerbread 2.3 – 2.3.7 – December 6, 2010

Honeycomb 3.0 – 3.2.6 – February 22, 2011

Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 – 4.0.4 – October 18, 2011

Jelly Bean 4.1 – 4.3.1 – July 9, 2012

KitKat 4.4 – 4.4.4 – October 31, 2013

Lollipop 5.0 – 5.1.1 – November 12, 2014

Marshmallow 6.0 – 6.0.1 – October 5, 2015

Nougat 7.0 – 7.1.2 – August 22, 2016