1.0 G1

Here are a few of the iterations and advances in the Android operating system with each tasty update.

Android 1.0
  • GPS and Bluetooth (but not stereo Bluetooth)
  • Multitasking
  • Tight integration with Google services like Gmail, Google Maps (with Street View), and Google Calendar
  • Apps: Amazon MP3 Store; YouTube
  • Android Market (about 35 apps at launch)
  • No Microsoft Exchange Server; no camcorder

As the first smartphone to run Android 1.0, the T-Mobile handset didn't win any awards for its sexiness. On the other hand, it offered a touch display, full sliding QWERTY keyboard, and a trackball.

The new Android OS would hit its stride in the coming years.


Photo by: Corinne Schulze/CNET

1.5 Cupcake

Android 1.5 Cupcake
  • Universal search box (search had been limited to the Web)
  • Revamped Android Market: Browsing categories (Apps, Games, Downloads) and filters (Top Free, Top Paid, Just In)
  • Camera: Toggle between camera and video modes; integrated photo gallery and camera with bulk photo deleting
  • SDK expands support for gestures, voice-to-text
Photo by: James Martin/CNET

2.0 Eclair

Android 2.0 Eclair

  • Multiple user accounts
  • Exchange support; universal email inbox
  • Quick Contact pop-up widget to launch communications with friends in the address book
  • Search saved SMS and MMS messages
  • Camera improvements include support for flash and digital zoom
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • Keyboard improvements: Adaptive dictionary that includes contact names in suggestions
Photo by: James Martin/CNET

2.2 Froyo

Android 2.2 Froyo

  • Speedier OS
  • USB tethering and hotspot support
  • Android Market update: Batch and automatic updates; installing apps to the SD card
  • Adobe Flash 10.1
  • File uploading in the browser
  • Improved Microsoft Exchange support: Security policies, global address lookup, calendar sync, remote wipe
  • Bluetooth support for voice dialing and contact sharing
Photo by: James Martin/CNET

2.3 Gingerbread

Android 2.3 Gingerbread

  • Redesigned copy/paste
  • WebM video compression support
  • NFC (near-field communication) support
  • Switch to front-facing camera from camera app
  • Virtual keyboard shortcuts
Photo by: Corinne Sculze/CNET

3.0 Honeycomb

With the introduction of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Google had been urging Android 3.0 tablet makers to market tablets as laptop replacements or powerful in-betweener devices, not just as larger versions of existing Android smartphones.

  • 3D graphics support
  • Side-by-side browser tabs; private browsing
  • Dual-pane modes for address book, email
  • Redesigned UI includes program thumbnails
  • Video chatting with Google Talk
  • Full-screen-mode photo gallery
  • Bluetooth tethering
Photo by: Motorola

4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Android 4.0

  • Support for virtual buttons & touch-sensitive buttons
  • Create folders by dragging apps on top of each other
  • Gmail gets new design, offline search, swiping between conversations
  • New Chrome browser syncs with your bookmarks, saves pages offline
  • Recent applications icon
  • Improved voice integration and copy and paste
  • Face Unlock security feature
  • Data Usage tracking
  • Shut down apps that are using background data
  • Native camera features include zero shutter lag, continuous focus, zoom while recording, taking a still photo while recording, panorama photos, time lapse settings, 1080p recording
  • Face detection in the cameraIntegrated photo editor
  • New gallery layout, organized by location and person
  • Quick message sends canned response text message when you decline a call
  • Android Beam, an NFC feature for exchanging information between two phones by tapping them
Photo by: James Martin/CNET

4.1 Jelly Bean

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

  • Faster, smoother performance with "Project Butter"
  • Expandable notifications with greater interaction
  • Google Now
  • Default Chrome browser
  • Resizable app widgets
  • Android Beam support
  • New filmstrip view of recent shots in the camera app
  • Higher-resolution contact photos
  • Expanded language support, especially for Arabic and Hebrew
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET

4.4 KitKat

Android 4.4 KitKat

  • Major design interface update, especially for new Nexus devices
  • Translucent status bar in the OS and in apps
  • New "immersive mode" where apps can hide navigation and status bars
  • The size of the operating system shrunk so it can run on lower-end devices with small amounts of RAM and internal storage
  • Wireless printing using Google Cloud Print


The Nexus 5, developed by LG Electronics, was unveiled on September 30, 2013, as the launch device for KitKat.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

5.0 Lollipop

In October 2014, Google officially announced that Android L would be known as Android 5.0 Lollipop.

  • Completely redesigned UI called Material
  • Notifications on the lock screen and new pop-up alerts
  • Priority mode silences less important notifications
  • Multiple user accounts for both phones and tablets
  • New recent apps menu called Overview
  • Guest mode
  • Screen pinning
  • Battery Saver mode
  • Default device encryption
  • Smart lock unlocks devices with Bluetooth device or NFC tag
Photo by: HTC

6.0 Marshmallow

In September 2015, Google unveiled Android 6.0 Marshmallow alongside the LG Nexus 5X, the Huawei-producedNexus 6P, and the Pixel C tablet launch devices.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

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