Android under Google’s ownership
In 2005, Google acquired Android Inc. for around 50 million dollars and the Google Mobile Division was born. The world watched this event with skepticism and curiosity that we can now define as almost historic. How could the company venture into a market already well established by Microsoft, with Windows Mobile, and especially the new Apple iPhone?
Two years later, Google came up with an incredible strategic move where they offered 10 million USD to developers who would make the best Android apps from the first public version of the Android SDK. At this point, Google’s intentions became a lot clearer: they didn’t just want to build another iPhone, but a device with a flexible and adaptable system different to the Apple OS. It would be a software ecosystem as independent as possible from hardware and open to the world of developers, and by doing so, truly embracing the ambitions of Rubin.
In September 2008, T-Mobile announced the T-Mobile G1, the first smartphone based on Android. About a month later, Google released the Android 1.0 source code under the Apache license. It then became available to anyone, and it’s because of this that we are able to flash custom ROMs on our Android devices today.
The rest of the story is already better known, so I won’t bore you with other dates and events. Instead I’m going to let you retrace the history of the Android updates. Each new release represents a significant evolutionary step and are now points of reference for the smartphone market.
In case you never really caught on, each version was in alphabetical order and named after a candy or dessert.
Android 1.5 – Cupcake: April 27, 2009
Improvement of the camera (start and acquisition).
Increase in GPS position speed detection
Automatic loading of videos on YouTube, and Picasa.
Android 1.6 – Donut: September 15, 2009
The box for quick search and voice search
Indicator for battery usage
Grouping of the camera and gallery apps and shooting mode addition
Android 2.0 – Eclair: October 26, 2009
Multiple accounts for email and contact synchronization.
Bluetooth 2.1 support
New user interface for the browser and HTML5 support.
New functions for the calendar app
Android 2.2 – Froyo: May 20, 2010
Support for creating hotspots (sharing a connection via WIFI)
Adobe Flash 10.1
“Widget guide” addition that helps you learn the features Android
Android 2.3 – Gingerbread: December 6, 2010
Interface revised for easier and faster user experience
New keyboard for faster text input
Selecting text features, copy/paste
Integrated Internet calls
Android 3.0 – Honeycomb: February 22, 2011
Tablet version, interface optimized for larger screens
Improved multitasking, notification management, customization and widgets on the home screen
Added tethering via Bluetooth
Built-in support for easy transfer of media files to your PC
Android 4.0 – Ice Cream Sandwich: October 18, 2011
New font (Roboto)
Possibility of triggering a picture with a smile
Adding functionality such as managing folders, bookmarks and capture screenshots
Swipe addition to hide notifications, close web pages and more
Support for Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth HDP and Android Beam
Android 4.1 – Jelly Bean: July 9, 2012
Faster, smoother, more responsive to inputs
Google Now, voice dictation offline
Improved Android Beam
Updates to the app improved and faster
Android 4.4 – KitKat: October 31, 2013
Support for Bluetooth MAP
New framework for transitions in the user interface
Support for wireless printing
Optimization of memory and touch screen for faster multitasking
Android 5.0 Lollipop: November 12, 2014
The latest official Android version is Android Lollipop, released November 12, 2014 alongside the Nexus 6 and the Nexus 9. Android Lollipop introduced a huge user interface makeover which has been dubbed Material Design. As opposed to KitKat, the design changes have been evenly distributed throughout the phone’s system.
In addition to a brand new look, Lollipop introduced many new and exciting features, like Tap & Go (easy data transfer to your new phone via NFC), floating notifications, built-in battery saver, encryption, multiple user profiles and a smarter Google Now.
Android 5.0 Lollipop review
Device sharing: multiple users and profiles on smartphones
Android Smart Lock
ART instead of Dalvik runtime
What will Android M finally be called?
Android M was unveiled at Google I/O 2015 in late May. The developer preview was also made available at the event and the first update to it has just been released. This year, the developer preview has three planned updates before it appears in a final version later in the year. You can follow our guide on how to install Android M developer preview 2 on your Nexus. Android M has already shown us some great glimpses of the future:
Granular app permissions
Google Now on Tap
Doze and USB Type-C
Home screen rotation
What do you think of the evolution of Android? Where do you think it will bring us next?