The History Of The Android Phone & Operating System

When Android was unveiled in 2007, developers rejoiced at a chance to work with an open source mobile operating system. In 2008, consumers joined when they were granted access to the first commercially available phone to run the Android OS. Since its initial release there have been various updates that provided more features, functionality, and app availability.

The first Android version (1.0) was designed to be released on the HTC Dream however it was never used in any commercially available device. In October 2008, Android version 1.1 was finally released on the HTC Dream and was an improved version of 1.0. Many more Google features were made on this version including Maps, Talk, Search, and Calendar.

The next version of Android was 1.5, otherwise known as “Cupcake” by Google, was the beginning of their dessert based line-up of updates. Cupcake was the first major update to Android and was available in April of 2009. Some of the significant updates with this version included improved Bluetooth capabilities, the ability to watch and record videos, image/video uploading with Picasa and YouTube, and more widget and folder customization. The on-screen keyword with text-prediction also came with Cupcake.

android phone

Version 1.6, or “Donut,” came later in September 2009. Donut included improvements to the voice search functionality, Google navigation, multi-touch gesture support, VPN support, and a new camera and camcorder; along with the improved camera and camcorder was a better photo gallery interface.

A month later came version 2.0, which was quickly updated in January 2010 to version 2.1 (or “Éclair”). Éclair had a notably improved user experience compared to previous dessert additions. These included improvements to speed, the virtual keyboard, apps, Bluetooth, and the camera. Live wallpapers were also made available.

In November of 2010, “FroYo” (version 2.2) was released. FroYo allowed users to tether to up to 8 hot spots or via USB. There were also more updates to the camera, multi-lingual keyboard support, Microsoft’s Exchange, and speed which greatly improved performance and playability of Android games.

The next update was version 2.3 (“Gingerbread”) and was released in December 2010. Some of the enhancements in this update included improved speed, copy/paste capability, better power management, and the ability to manually stop apps. In addition, there was also now a new download manager, internet phone calling, front/rear cameras, and a new and simpler interface.

Version 3.0, codenamed “Honeycomb,” was designed for tablets and released in February 2011. Honeycomb provided better user interface for larger screens including a new system bar, customizable homescreens, and an action bar. Other updates included support for physical keyboards, Bluetooth tethering, multi-core processor support, and updated apps with larger screens in mind.  Version 3.1 was still named “Honeycomb,” and it was released in June 2011. Updates included support for more accessories beyond the keyboard, support for gamepads, better Wi-Fi, and more standard apps.

Next came 3.2, still using the name “Honeycomb,” and it was released in July 2011. This version continued to improve upon updates from versions 3.0 and 3.1. Other updates included compatibility zoom for apps that are fix-sixed, the ability to handle different screen sizes, and direct application access to SD card file system.

In October of 2011 came version 4.0, or “Ice Cream Sandwich.” This update merged designs to the phone-based generation with the tab-centered designs of the Honeycomb era. Many updates that came with Ice Cream Sandwich included resizable widgets, lock-screen capability, network data control, Quick Response with calls, a “favorites” tray, recent apps selection, and a better UI. Users also gained improved email, full-desktop versions of websites while browsing, improved camera/camcorder, a unified calendar, and Wi-Fi-Direct support.

“Jellybean,” or version 4.1, was released in July 2012. Again, there were more interface enhancements such as improved touch response, actionable notifications, adaptive keyboard, and improved voice search. Other updates included braille input and output via USB, Google Wallet, USB audio, and photo sharing.

The latest version of Android is 4.2, and is still named “Jellybean.” Version 4.2 was released in October 2012. This version provided further improvements to 4.1 including the ability to make 360 degree images, multiple users for tablets, keyboard gesture typing, a “Daydream” feature to display information when a device is idle/locked, and beam photos/videos.

The next Android update is anticipated for later in 2013 and this time we will be enjoying a taste of “Key Lime Pie.”

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About the Author: Shameem

I am Shameem, Software Engineer, Web Addicted, Living in Chennai, India.


  1. Hi Shameem,

    I’ve been using Android since Android 2.2. However, recently I had to give up on Android and move ahead with windows phone because of the pretty serious issues.

    It was very sluggish and lagging. On the other hand, windows phone is providing wonderful experience.

  2. Hi Shameem,
    You really dug deep to the roots and early days of this mighty Operating system. I also have followed them thus far keenly, and I must commend them as the best out there.
    Nice article anyway. 😉

  3. This is indeed a great and important article, i once wondered what the other versions of Android were called and this post has made it easy for me to learn. I wonder what Android version 5.0 will be called.

  4. Nice post David! We can see that all the Android OS versions are named on eatables and actually tasty eatables 🙂

    Really a lot of development is seen in Android and its under development continuously even as we speak!

  5. Its really interesting to read the history of Android phone.

    Many of us are not aware of these stuffs, but just we are using this latest technology.

    I wish everyone should read this basic information of Andriod and use it effectively.

    informative post by the guest blogger for the Andriod lovers, thanks for publishing it Shameem 🙂

  6. Android is the best operating system every way far better than IOS

    (My personal point of vue)

    there are such things mentioned in this post that I get to know for the first time

    thanks for sharing have a nice day!

  7. Usually it happens that we always have a read like current gadgets, new updated versions of android OS and so on but we never get a chance or we hardly put an effort to read on wiki about the history of a thing which is currently going under such recursive and awesome updates.
    It was a FEEL-GOOD factor and an EASY-READ of your article which made me enjoyed it very much.

    Thanks a lot for brushing the history. 🙂


  8. Android Operating System is single handly responsible for debacle of Nokia and Blackberry…The future versions of Android O.S would be interesting to see as Google’s product always has some uniqueness and new innovations in them….isn’t it?


  9. Great article shameem! It covered entire history of Android. I think it is the best OS currently available from my point of view ! Using it from past many days

  10. No doubt Android is best OS for smartphones and tablets these days, but normally most people know about popular Android versions only. They hardly remember versions like Éclair , Froyo etc. You have organized all here which is very knowledgeable thing.

  11. Nice Article Shameem, Thank for explaining brief history of Android Operating System and its great journey of Android Cupcake to Jelly Bean.

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