The origins of Android may be traced back to 2003, when Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears, and Chris White created Android Inc. Android Inc.’s first objective was to create an operating system for digital cameras. Recognizing the promise of the smartphone sector, they changed their attention to developing a mobile operating system.
Google purchased Android Inc. in 2005, which marked the beginning of Android’s relationship with Google. Android began development of an open-source mobile operating system based on the Linux kernel under Google’s control. Each major iteration of the Android operating system is named after a dessert or sweet treat in alphabetical sequence by Google.
Android 1.0, the initial commercial version of Android, was launched in September 2008. It was primarily intended for touchscreen cellphones, and it had a minimal set of features like email support, online surfing, and interaction with Google services.
Although early versions of Android garnered acceptance, it wasn’t until the introduction of Android 2.0 Eclair in 2009 that the platform achieved substantial traction. Eclair included various new features, such as a redesigned user interface, compatibility for multiple screen sizes, increased camera capability, and improved performance.
Subsequent Android versions included additional features and improvements:
- Android 2.2 Froyo (2010) included Adobe Flash compatibility, USB tethering, and enhanced speed via the JIT compiler.
- Android 2.3 Gingerbread (2010) included a revised user interface, improved copy-paste capability, and NFC connectivity.
- Android 3.0 Honeycomb (2011) was created with tablets in mind, with a tablet-optimized UI and compatibility for higher screen sizes.
- Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (2011) consolidated the user interface for smartphones and tablets while also introducing new features such as Face Unlock and data use tracking.
As Android’s popularity expanded, it surpassed competitors like iOS and BlackBerry OS to become the world’s dominant mobile operating system. Because Android is open-source, numerous device makers have adopted and customized it for their smartphones, resulting in a diverse range of Android devices on the market.
Android offered new features and enhancements with each succeeding release:
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (2012) introduced Project Butter, expanded notifications, and Google Now, which improved performance.
- Android 4.4 KitKat (2013) prioritized efficiency for low-memory smartphones, offered a new dialer interface and incorporated Google Hangouts for chat and video calls.
The Material Design language was introduced with Android 5.0 Lollipop (2014), as were better notifications and features like multi-user support and device sharing. Granular app permissions management, Doze mode for enhanced battery life, and native support for fingerprint identification were all added in Android 6.0 Marshmallow (2015). Multi-window support, easy app switching with the Overview button, and improved Doze mode were all added in Android 7.0 Nougat (2016).
The following releases included Android 8.0 Oreo (2017), Android 9 Pie (2018), Android 10 (2019), Android 11 (2020), and Android 12 (2021) gained additional features, optimizations, and security upgrades with each iteration.
Android is now the most popular mobile operating system in the world, powering billions of smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices. Its open-source nature, vast app ecosystem, and flexibility have aided in its widespread adoption and continued development by Google and the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).