Home Android Android versions: A living history from 1.0 to 11

Android versions: A living history from 1.0 to 11

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What a long, strange trip it’s been.

From its inaugural release to today, Android has transformed visually, conceptually and functionally — time and time again. Google’s mobile operating system may have started out scrappy, but holy moly, has it ever evolved.

Here’s a fast-paced tour of Android version highlights from the platform’s birth to present.

Android versions 1.0 to 1.1: The early days

Android made its official public debut in 2008 with Android 1.0 — a release so ancient it didn’t even have a cute codename.

Things were pretty basic back then, but the software did include a suite of early Google apps like Gmail, Maps, Calendar, and YouTube, all of which were integrated into the operating system — a stark contrast to the more easily updatable standalone-app model employed today.

T-Mobile

The Android 1.0 home screen and its rudimentary web browser (not yet called Chrome).

Android version 1.5: Cupcake

With early 2009’s Android 1.5 Cupcake release, the tradition of Android version names was born. Cupcake introduced numerous refinements to the Android interface, including the first on-screen keyboard — something that’d be necessary as phones moved away from the once-ubiquitous physical keyboard model.

Cupcake also brought about the framework for third-party app widgets, which would quickly turn into one of Android’s most distinguishing elements, and it provided the platform’s first-ever option for video recording.

Android version 1.5 CupcakeAndroid Police (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Cupcake was all about the widgets.

Android version 1.6: Donut

Android 1.6, Donut, rolled into the world in the fall of 2009. Donut filled in some important holes in Android’s center, including the ability for the OS to operate on a variety of different screen sizes and resolutions — a factor that’d be critical in the years to come. It also added support for CDMA networks like Verizon, which would play a key role in Android’s imminent explosion.

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