For the Android version of this encyclopedia, see Android CDE
Following are the versions of Google's Android operating system, which comes with a variety of Google applications. Unlike the iPhone, each Android device manufacturer can overlay its own user interface features, which means the same version of the OS may not function identically in different devices. In addition, OS versions are rolled out at different times, and not all Android devices qualify to receive new updates. To save battery, a Doze mode limits background activity on a per-app basis, and Do Not Disturb can be set to avoid calls while allowing repeat callers to get through.
Android 12 - 2021
Expected in the fall of 2021, Android 12 brings a major visual change with the new "Material You" design, which uses colors from the device's wallpaper. There is more granular control over privacy, sharing Wi-Fi is easier, and a weather widget is added. A common splash screen for all apps is expected, and support for AVIF images is added. Screenshots can be marked up, and settings pages are redesigned. Captured videos can be transcoded to AVC, and MPEG-H is supported (more audio channels). Rumored is the capability of making two apps a single task so they can be managed together as well as gesture recognition that learns the user's behavior to make gestures easier. See Android
Android 11 - 2020
Voice commands greatly expanded, and Android Auto works wireless with the vehicle. Security fixes come directly from Google Play. More smart home control. Messages from multiple sources show up on the lock screen, and Bubbles can appear on top of all other apps. Screen recording is built in, and text and images can be copied and shared between apps more easily. Smart Reply was added.
Android 10 - 2019 (No More Sweet Tooth Names)
Like Facebook Messenger's Chat Heads, Bubbles overlay on the screen when someone is phoning, and Bubbles can be employed in third-party apps. Connecting to a Wi-Fi network by scanning the QR code on a friend's phone. More user control over location information, privacy permissions and notifications. Project Mainline pushes security updates on phones that originally ship with Android 10. Parental permissions enhanced.
Pie 9.0 - 2018
Version 9 improves battery life by learning how apps are used. Pie also predicts what a user does next. Slices display relevant parts of apps, and gestures can be used in addition to buttons. Multiple and external cameras supported, and apps for work can be visually separated. Up to five Bluetooth devices can be connected, and incoming calls can be sent to all of them at different volume. In 2018, Samsung introduced a new user interface for Galaxy S and Note devices running Pie. See One UI
Oreo 8.0 - 2017
Version 8 improves battery life and performance by limiting what apps can do in the background. Users have more control over notifications and autofill, as well as support for high-quality Bluetooth codecs (see LDAC
) and nearby Wi-Fi awareness (see Wi-Fi Aware
Nougat 7.0 - 2016
Compliant apps can be resized and moved around on screen like a desktop computer. Settings menu shows more information at top level, a slider for display resolution and emergency info on lock screen. Virtual Reality mode supported Google's upcoming Daydream VR feature, and Doze mode helps with battery life. An internal architecture creates two stages: one provided by Google across all devices, and a second for vendor-supplied software. In addition, OpenJDK, the official Java open source runtime version, replaced Apache Harmony.
Marshmallow 6.0 - 2015
Major features are Android Pay mobile payment system and standardized fingerprint support, automatic data backup to Google cloud, more context awareness of the user in Google Now and integration of the SD card into internal storage. Instead of agreeing to a slew of permissions before an app is installed, an app can be programmed to ask users for their consent when a resource is actually needed, such as contacts when emailing a photo. Google Now voice search can be accessed from the lock screen, and Doze Mode sleeps the device after no activity for 30 minutes (notifications still come through). See Android Pay
Lollipop 5.0 - December 2014
New Material Design user interface with notifications adhering to the card-based Google Now system. The Java Dalvik runtime replaced by Android Runtime (ART), which provides cross-platform support for ARM, x86 and MIPS CPUs. Enterprise features include separating personal and business apps. Lollipop defaults to encrypting the user's data to prevent theft in the event the device is compromised. User passcode required to unlock device and data. See Google Now
KitKat 4.4 (formerly Key Lime Pie) - October 2013
A slicker, more polished interface and a host of changes, including improvements for instant messaging, photo editing and a more immersive full-screen display. Support for older phones with less than 1GB of RAM memory. "OK Google" added to activate a voice search.
Jelly Bean 4.3 - July 2013
Low-power Bluetooth Smart added with improved support for right-to-left languages (Hebrew, Arabic, etc.). Each tablet user can be restricted for parental control, store demos or other purposes. An autocomplete for the phone dialer offers numeric or name suggestions, and the OpenGL ES 3.0 graphics standard supported for greater game realism. See Bluetooth LE
Jelly Bean 4.2 - November 2012
Support for multiple users on tablets (users have their own home screen and apps), a panoramic photo mode and direct wireless transfer to a TV set via Miracast (support in the TV or set-top box required). Swiping gestures and predictive text added to the keyboard.
Jelly Bean 4.1 - August 2012
Provides user with information automatically throughout the day (see Google Now
). Also included are improved camera features and notifications. An internal "Project Butter" makes Android run a bit smoother, and speech-to-text function (voice typing) works without an Internet connection, although not quite as accurately. An improved voice search, which is the counterpart to Apple's Siri.
Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 - October 2011
Introduced on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus, Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) combines Gingerbread and Honeycomb versions into one. ICS added a raft of new features, including facial recognition unlocking, resizable Widgets, Wi-Fi Direct and touchscreen keys in lieu of hardware Home-Menu-Back buttons. Also NFC data transfer (see Android Beam
Honeycomb 3.0 - February 2011
Introduced on Motorola Xoom, Honeycomb is a tablet-only version that takes advantage of larger screens. Touted as "3D Holographic," it adds top and bottom toolbars, tabbed browsing and other desktop features. When plugged into a computer's USB port, Honeycomb uses Microsoft's Media Transfer Protocol (see MTP
) for file transfer rather than connecting as a USB mass storage device.
Gingerbread 2.3 - December 2010
Introduced on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus S, support added for VoIP, enhanced copy/paste, front-facing camera, AAC audio and near field communication (NFC). Gingerbread supports screens with WXGA and higher resolution.
Froyo 2.2 - May 2010
Support for Bluetooth hands free, push notifications, Wi-Fi hotspot functionality and greater screen resolution. Better Microsoft Exchange and Android Market integration.
Eclair 2.0/2.1 - October 2009
Support for Microsoft Exchange mail. Search expanded to include SMS and MMS messages, and HTML5 support in the browser. More camera features, including flash, zoom and white balance.
Donut 1.6 - September 2009
Search expanded to include bookmarks and history. More camera integration and features.
Cupcake 1.5 - April 2009
Support for Widgets, such as a search box into the app on the home screen, virtual keyboards, MPEG-4 video and YouTube/Picasa uploading.
Version 1.0/1.1 - September 2008
First version released on HTC G1. Includes basic Google programs (search, mail, contacts, calendar, etc.) along with synchronization. In February 2009, Version 1.1 added saving attachments in messages.