Wassup tech lovers!!!
With google finally revealing its Android M as Marshmallow, it gives me a right opportunity to give you a quick flashback about the history of Android. This being my first post, please don’t be harsh with the comments.
Android Inc. was founded in Palo Alto, California in October 2003 by Andy Rubin (co-founder of Danger), Rich Miner (co-founder of Wildfire Communications, Inc.), Nick Sears (once VP at T-Mobile), and Chris White (headed design and interface development at WebTV) to develop, in Rubin’s words, “smarter mobile devices that are more aware of its owner’s location and preferences”. The early intentions of the company were to develop an advanced operating system for digital cameras. Though, when it was realized that the market for the devices was not large enough, the company diverted its efforts toward producing a smartphone operating system that would rival Symbian and Microsoft Windows Mobile.
In July 2005, Google acquired Android Inc. for at least $50 million, whose key employees, including Rubin, Miner and White, stayed at the company after the acquisition. Not much was known about Android Inc. at the time, but many assumed that Google was planning to enter the mobile phone market with this move.
Google marketed the Android platform to handset makers and carriers on the promise of providing a flexible, upgradable system. Google had lined up a series of hardware component and software partners and signaled to carriers that it was open to various degrees of cooperation on their part.
Speculation about Google’s intention to enter the mobile communications market continued to build through December 2006. An earlier prototype codenamed “Sooner” had a closer resemblance to a BlackBerry phone, with no touchscreen, and a physical, QWERTY keyboard, but was later re-engineered to support a touchscreen, to compete with other announced devices such as the 2006 LG Prada and 2007 Apple iPhone.
On November 5, 2007, the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of technology companies including Google, device manufacturers such as HTC, Sony and Samsung, wireless carriers such as Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile, and chipset makers such as Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, unveiled itself, with a goal to develop open standards for mobile devices. That day, Android was unveiled as its first product, a mobile device platform built on the Linux kernel version 2.6.25. The first commercially available smartphone running Android was the HTC Dream, released on October 22, 2008.
In 2010, Google launched its Nexus series of devices – a line of smartphones and tablets running the Android operating system, and built by manufacturing partners. HTC collaborated with Google to release the first Nexus smartphone, the Nexus One. Google has since updated the series with newer devices, such as the Nexus 6 phone (made by Motorola) and the Nexus 9 tablet (made by HTC). Google releases the Nexus phones and tablets to act as their flagship Android devices, demonstrating Android’s latest software and hardware features. Until January 2015, Google offered several Google Play Edition devices over Google Play such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One M8 etc.
On March 13, 2013, Larry Page announced in a blog post that Andy Rubin had moved from the Android division to take on new projects at Google. He was replaced by Sundar Pichai, who also continues his role as the head of Google’s Chrome division, which develops Chrome OS.
Since 2008, Android has seen numerous updates which have incrementally improved the operating system, adding new features and fixing bugs in previous releases. Each major release is named in alphabetical order after a dessert or sugary treat. The various android version are shown below:
Android 1.0 & 1.1
Android 1.0 was launched on 23 sept 2008 with the HTC dream aka T-Mobile G1 which is also the 1st android device. This early version of Android was full of potential, but it was best suited to early adopters and gadget hounds. Key features it offered were:
- Download and updates via Android Market.
- web browser.
- camera support.
- Gmail, Contacts and Google Agenda synchronization.
- Google maps( so you never get lost again).
5 months later came the android 1.1 update which offered:
- “Show” & “Hide” numeric keyboard, in caller application.
- Ability to save MMS attachments.
- few bug fixes here and there.
The sugary code-names started with Cupcake, the first major update to Android, which came in May 2009. Cupcake was packed with new features, but perhaps the most significant was the virtual keyboard. The key features it offered were:
- Virtual keyboard with text-prediction which meant phones could now be lighter and slimmer because of the non existence of the physical keypad.
- Shortcuts and widgets on the home screen which meant we could now tweak and personalize our mobiles.
- Video recording was added to the camera and the ability to upload videos straight to YouTube.
- Support for Bluetooth A2DP, AVRCP was added that meant we could listen to our favorite music without wires.
- The Web browser got a speed boost and the copy and paste function was added.
In October 2009, we got the Donut, well not the actual Donut but the android 1.6 Donut update. It offered fewer major improvements, as most of the key features were in place. But it brought Android to a new crowd, thanks to the addition of support for CDMA – the technology used by some American mobile networks. Android 1.6 offered:
- Turn by Turn google maps navigation.
- Support for more screen resolutions which opened the door to Android phones of different sizes.
- The universal search function that helped users to pinpoint their apps and contacts on the phone, or jump to searching the Web.
Android 2.0 and 2.1
We didn’t have to wait long before Android 2.0 arrived, just a month after Donut, in November 2009. Eclair reached out to the suits with support for Microsoft Exchange server, which most businesses use for email.
Android 2.1 Eclair arrived in January 2010. It fixed some bugs and allowed app developers to play with more features, but it didn’t add any features for users. eclair offered us:
- Exchange support, so users could finally get their Outlook email. There’s also a unified email inbox. However, it’s still kept with POP and IMAP email in a separate app to Gmail.
- Support for multiple Google accounts lets you stock up on all your Gmail.
- Camera settings including support for a flash, digital zoom, white balance and colour effects.
- Searching within text messages and MMS messages.
- Multi-touch support in the on-screen keyboard helps it figure out what you’re trying to say if you accidentally type two letters at once. The dictionary incorporates your contacts so you get people’s names right, too.
- The Web browser gets a refresh with a new address bar and thumbnails for a sneak peek at your bookmarks.
- live wallpapers were provided and the over all UI got an uplift.
The next update android 2.2 froyo came in May 2010. It introduced Flash, which became one of the defining differences between Android and its main competitor, the iPhone. Froyo offered:
- Flash Player 10.1 came to Android, which filled in the holes in the Web. Videos, photo
- slideshows and streaming audio suddenly became visible on your mobile.
- Your settings joined your contacts and email in backing up to Google’s servers, so theoretically they should be automatically restored if you switch to a new Android phone.
- The device’s flash could now also be used while video recording too.
- The portable Wi-Fi hotspot and USB tethering .
- Speedier Web surfing thanks to tweeks in the browser.
- Better Bluetooth compatibility with docks and in-car speakers, and the addition of voice dialling over Bluetooth.
Gingerbread was baked in December 2010, but its main features didn’t make much of a splash. NFC, for contactless payment, and SIP, for Internet calling, both lay the foundations for future developments.
Android 2.3.3 was a long time coming, but when it did arrive on phones in April 2011, it only added one new feature — the ability for single-core phones to run apps designed for dual-core processors. Android 2.3.4 added yet more bug fixes. Gingerbread gave us the following features:
- User interface elements, such as the notification bar, go from grey to black, in a bid to avoid
- screen burn-in and increase battery life.
- The on-screen keyboard gained a number shortcuts across the top, and a cursor helped to select and copy text.
- NFC theoretically allowed us to wave our phone in front of an NFC-enabled emitter to make things happen, whether it’s buy a train ticket or check out a website.
- Apps were juggled more adeptly in the background, saving battery and processing power.
- Support for a front-facing camera for video calling and your emo self-portrait.
- A download manager so you could keep your eye on everything have downloaded.
Android 3.0 and 3.2
Honeycomb expanded Android to fit the big screens of tablet computers. This version of Android was a separate branch that was only for tablets, and would never come to phones.
Android 3.2 added a bunch of user interface refinements to Honeycomb. Widgets also gained the ability to be dragged bigger or smaller, to suit your screen. Android 3.1 also adds support for plugging USB flash drives into your tablet to transfer files without connecting to a computer, as well as USB keyboards, mice and joysticks. honeycomb offered us the following:
- A blue wire frame design gave Honeycomb a Tron-inspired look.
- Home screens appeared to rotate on a 3D carousel as you swipe through them.
- Widgets were bigger and bolder to suit the tablet-size screen.
- The hardware buttons ( home and back ) had been moved on to the screen as virtual buttons that move with you as you rotate your tablet. Meanwhile, the app menu is re-positioned to the upper right-hand corner. There’s also a new button that fires up a list of currently running apps, visible as thumbnail images.
- Key apps, such as Gmail and YouTube, are heavily redesigned to take advantage of the space available.
- The Web browser introduced tabbed browsing, a feature familiar from desktop browsers such as Chrome. Incognito mode was also added to the browser .
- A larger, multi-touch keyboard lets you hold down multiple keys to temporarily switch between letters and numbers.
(Ice Cream Sandwich)
Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) was announced at the Google I/O conference in May 2011. It came with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus which landed in the market inDecember. ICS was designed to merge Gingerbread (Android for phones) together with Honeycomb (designed for tablets). ICS offered us :
- A speedier, smoother browser.
- A data traffic monitor to help you avoid busting your network data limit.
- More storage space for apps.
- A new user-friendly action bar replacing the Menu button.
- Face recognition for unlocking your phone.
- The ability to decline calls with pre-penned text messages.
- And most fun of all, live video effects for making your mates look grotesquely disfigured.
But one drawback was the fact that ICS lacked support for Adobe Flash, but it’s no longer such an issue since the company has already confirmed that it’s dropping support for it.
Android 4.1 – 4.3
Jelly Bean, announced in June 2012, was not be a big jump in version number, but added a host of important updates to Android. Here are the features that we saw with jelly bean:
- Google Now, an assistant tool that displays relevant information based on your search history and location data.
- A higher frame rate makes swooping through menus and homescreens feel buttery smooth.
- View photos you’ve taken quickly by swiping from the camera to filmstrip view.
- Widgets and apps politely move out of the way when you add new ones.
- Notifications now include more information, such as photos or subject lines in emails.
- Search results can now display answers to questions, rather than simply a list of Google web links.
- A new gestures mode to improve accessibility for blind users, letting you navigate the UI using touch and swipe gestures, in combination with speech output.
The first device to run Jelly Bean was the quad-core, amazingly cheap Google Nexus 7 tablet.
Google announced Android 4.4 KitKat on September 3, 2013. Although initially under the “Key Lime Pie” codename, the name was changed because “very few people actually know the taste of a key lime pie.” KitKat debuted on Google’s Nexus 5 on October 31, 2013, and was optimized to run on a greater range of devices than earlier Android versions, having 512 MB of RAM as a recommended minimum; those improvements were known as “Project Svelte” internally at Google.The required minimum amount of RAM available to Android is 340 MB, and all devices with less than 512 MB of RAM must report themselves as “low RAM” devices.
- KitKat is designed to run on devices with as little as 512 MB of RAM. These memory improvements were expected to lead to smoother multi-tasking as well.
- Smarter Caller ID.The dialer now had a search field that you could use to search for a business’s contact info listed in Google Maps. This would pull up contact info for businesses near your area.
- Android 4.4 came with a new immersive mode that hides everything except the app you’re using. Once you’re done, just swipe the edge of the screen to bring back your status bar and navigation buttons.
- Android 4.4 came with the support for cloud storage solutions such as Google Drive built into the operating system. That ment that you could save and open directly from the cloud, without having to save into your device’s storage first.
- Print documents over WiFi or Bluetooth. Of course, this feature was limited to compatible printers with wireless capabilities, support for Google Cloud Print, as well as any printers that have apps available in the Google Play Store.
- Device’s lock screen will show the full screen album or movie art. The lock screen will also have dedicated controls to allow you to play, pause and seek, all from the lock screen.
- Improved google now.
Android Lollipop 5.0 was supposed to change everything. It was supposed to inspire a revolution, a better—and better looking—Android. Instead it was a little disappointing, starting with a slow rollout, and followed by a parade of bugs.
At least now there’s Android 5.1, and which is so much better—at least, according to the lucky few users who have it on their devices. Google fixed a ton of bugs with the 5.1 update. Here are some of the new features of Lollipop :
- The material design that is much more cleaner and subtle than the previous UI designs.
- Quick settings shortcuts to join Wi-Fi networks or control Bluetooth devices
- Battery consumption improvements (you can track which app is hogging on your battery.
- Notifications now are present on the lock screen.(yes we can hide notifications popping up on the lock screen from particular app)
- The priority mode which gave us better control over the sound profile (we can choose which app to be muted).
- The battery saver mode (even though we had a ton of battery saver apps in the play store) which promises to squeeze 90 extra minutes of juice out of the battery in your device.
- The addition of the guest mode so that your friends and family can also use your device without you getting worried about your personal stuff.
- The new Notifications system which will no longer interrupt you when playing a game or watching a movie. Text messages, phone calls and other notifications will now briefly appear at the top of the screen.
- Improved performance with the switch from Dalvik runtime to ART.
Yes, the android lollipop brought a lot of features to our devices but with the coming of android marshmallow our expectation are even higher. We will write about the android marshmallow in detail in our next post!!
Keep playing with your tech toys!!