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Android version history

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Global Android version distribution since December 2009. As of June 2016, Android Lollipop (5.0 – 5.1) is the single most widely used Android version, operating on 35.4% of all Android devices accessing Google Play. The second is Android KitKat (4.4), with a share of 31.6%.

The version history of the Android mobile operating system began with the release of the Android alpha in November 2007. The first commercial version, Android 1.0, was released in September 2008. Android is continually developed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), and has seen a number of updates to its base operating system since the initial release.

Versions 1.0 and 1.1 were not released under specific code names, but since April 2009's Android 1.5 "Cupcake", Android versions have had confectionery-themed code names. Each is in alphabetical order, with the most recent being Android 6.0.1 "Marshmallow", released in December 2015. As of June 2016, the upcoming Android release is Android 7.0 "Nougat".[1]

Code name Version number Initial release date API level
N/A 1.0 September 23, 2008 1
1.1 February 9, 2009 2
Cupcake 1.5 April 27, 2009 3
Donut 1.6 September 15, 2009 4
Eclair 2.0 – 2.1 October 26, 2009 5 – 7
Froyo 2.2 – 2.2.3 May 20, 2010 8
Gingerbread 2.3 – 2.3.7 December 6, 2010 9 – 10
Honeycomb[a] 3.0 – 3.2.6 February 22, 2011 11 – 13
Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 – 4.0.4 October 18, 2011 14 – 15
Jelly Bean 4.1 – 4.3.1 July 9, 2012 16 – 18
KitKat 4.4 – 4.4.4 October 31, 2013 19 – 20
Lollipop 5.0 – 5.1.1 November 12, 2014 21 – 22
Marshmallow 6.0 – 6.0.1 October 5, 2015 23
Nougat 7.0 August or September 2016 24

Pre-commercial release versions

The development of Android started in 2003 by Android, Inc., which was purchased by Google in 2005.[2]

Alpha

There were at least two internal releases of the software inside Google and the OHA before the beta version was released in November 2007. For the milestones in internal releases, names of fictional robots were chosen, with various releases code-named "Astro Boy","Bender" and "R2-D2".[3][4][5]

Dan Morrill created some of the first mascot logos, but the current green Android logo was designed by Irina Blok.[6] The project manager, Ryan Gibson, conceived the confectionery-themed naming scheme that has been used for the majority of the public releases, starting with Android 1.5 "Cupcake".

Beta

The beta was released on November 5, 2007,[7][8] while the software development kit (SDK) was released on November 12, 2007.[9] The November 5 date is popularly celebrated as Android's "birthday".[10] Public beta versions of the SDK were released in the following order:[11]

  • November 12, 2007: m3-rc20a (milestone 3, release code 20a)[12]
  • November 16, 2007: m3-rc22a (milestone 3, release code 22a)[13]
  • December 14, 2007: m3-rc37a (milestone 3, release code 37a)[14]
  • February 13, 2008: m5-rc14 (milestone 5, release code 14)[15]
  • March 3, 2008: m5-rc15 (milestone 5, release code 15)[11]
  • August 18, 2008: 0.9[16][17]
  • September 23, 2008: 1.0-r1[18][19]

Version history by API level

The following tables show the release dates and key features of all Android operating system updates to date, listed chronologically by their official application programming interface (API) levels.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow (API level 23)

Android 6.0 "Marshmallow" was unveiled under the codename "Android M" during Google I/O on May 28, 2015, for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 phones, Nexus 9 tablet, and Nexus Player set-top box, under the build number MPZ44Q.[189] The third developer preview (MPA44G) was released on August 17, 2015 for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player devices,[190] and was updated to MPA44I that brought fixes related to Android for Work profiles.[191]
Version Release date Features Image(s)
6.0 October 5, 2015[192]
  • Google "Now on Tap" feature[193]
  • Introduction of Doze mode, which reduces CPU speed while the screen is off in order to save battery life[194]
  • App Standby feature
  • Alphabetically accessible vertical application drawer[195]
  • Application search bar and favorites
  • Native fingerprint reader support
  • Direct Share feature for target-specific sharing between apps[196]
  • Renamed "Priority" mode to "Do Not Disturb" mode
  • App Linking for faster instinctive opening of links with corresponding applications[197][198]
  • Larger Application folders with multiple pages
  • Post-install/run-time permission requests
  • USB Type-C support
  • Demo Mode feature for screenshot-capture usage[199]
  • Automatic full data backup and restore for apps[200]
  • 4K display mode for apps[201]
  • Adoptable External storage to behave like Internal Storage[202]
  • MIDI support for musical instruments[203]
  • Experimental multi-window feature[204][205]
  • App permissions now granted individually at run-time, not all-or-nothing at install time.[206]
6.0.1 December 7, 2015[207]
  • 184 new emojis, changes to 48 existing emojis, and other emoji-related tweaks[208]
  • Descriptions for USB connection options
  • New navigation bar layout for the Google Pixel C
  • Double-tap power button to open camera

Android 7.0 Nougat (API level 24)

Android 7.0 Nougat (API level 24)
Android "Nougat" (codenamed N in-development) is the upcoming major 7.0 release of the Android operating system. It was first released as a developer preview on March 9, 2016, with factory images for current Nexus devices, as well as with the new "Android Beta Program" which allows supported devices to be upgraded directly to the Android Nougat beta via over-the-air update. Google outlines the schedule on their website, being a 4–5 week interval between developer previews, and indicates final release in August or September. The final preview build was released on 19 July 2016, with the build number NPD90G.
Version Release date Features Image(s)
7.0 August or September 2016
  • Multi-window support, which supports floating apps on a desktop layout
  • Redesigned notification shade, featuring instant access to certain settings
  • Replaced notification cards with notification sheets
  • Another system partition, which gets updated when not in use, allowing for seamless system updates
  • Vulkan 3D rendering API
  • New Data Saver mode, which can force apps to reduce bandwidth usage
  • Redesigned Overview screen
  • New JIT Compiler, making for 75 percent faster app installations and a 50 percent reduction in compiled code size
  • Picture-in-picture support for Android TV
  • Settings app navigation drawer

Hardware requirements

The main hardware platform for Android is the ARM architecture (ARMv7 and ARMv8-A architectures), with x86[d] and MIPS[e] architectures also officially supported in later versions of Android. Since Android 5.0 "Lollipop", 64-bit variants of all platforms are supported in addition to the 32-bit variants.[211] Unofficial Android-x86 project used to provide support for the x86 and MIPS architectures ahead of the official support.[212][213] Since 2012, Android devices with Intel processors began to appear, including phones[214] and tablets. While gaining support for 64-bit platforms, Android was first made to run on 64-bit x86 and then on ARM64.[citation needed]

Requirements for the minimum amount of RAM for devices running Android 5.1 range from 512 MB of RAM for normal-density screens, to about 1.8 GB for high-density screens.[215] The recommendation for Android 4.4 is to have at least 512 MB of RAM,[216] while for "low RAM" devices 340 MB is the required minimum amount that does not include memory dedicated to various hardware components such as the baseband processor.[132] Android 4.4 requires a 32-bit ARMv7, MIPS or x86 architecture processor (latter two through unofficial ports),[212][217] together with an OpenGL ES 2.0 compatible graphics processing unit (GPU).[218] Android supports OpenGL ES 1.1, 2.0, 3.0 and 3.1. Some applications may explicitly require a certain version of the OpenGL ES, and suitable GPU hardware is required to run such applications.[218]

Android used to require an autofocus camera, which was relaxed to a fixed-focus camera[219] if present at all, since the camera was dropped as a requirement entirely (except for smartphones) when Android started to be used on set-top boxes.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Honeycomb is the first version to support tablets, but it can be used only on tablets and the full source code has not been released. All later versions of Android support both tablets and smartphones.
  2. ^ The 2.3.6 update had the side-effect of impairing the Wi-Fi hotspot functionality of many Canadian Nexus S phones. Google acknowledged this problem and fixed it in late September.[63][64]
  3. ^ For Canadian consumers, 4.0.2 reportedly created a bug on the Galaxy Nexus that crashed the application market when users attempted to view details of any Android application. It also inadvertently reduced the NFC capabilities of the Nexus phone.[89][90]
  4. ^ Lowest supported x86 generation is the P6 microarchitecture, also called i686.[209]
  5. ^ Supported is revision 1 of MIPS32[210] and revision 6 for 64-bit MIPS64[209]

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