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An Android Time Travel

Gear Up For A Journey Through All Of Android's Greatest Moments

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An Android Time Travel© 2023 Ars Technica

It was the year 2007 when Google announced the official birth of Android. Back then, everyone was like "Eh? What's that? A BlackBerry wannabe?" But Android proved to be a new and worthy contender in the smartphone OS arena since it was introduced. In fact, it didn't stop developing that in its first year, Google put out new Android versions every two months or so.

Updates were not as prevalent back in those days as it is now. Even for other software companies, it takes years before producing a new OS. Windows and Apple produces new versions that still retain the usual elements of their original OS. Otherwise, if they felt like they've messed it up, both Apple and Microsoft would just come out with a new one that would revert back to the elements of their old OS that's not the case with Android. Before they arrived at the modern day OS, users were able to see major changes update after update proving how they really wanted to go out of the box and give everyone the best interface and features.

That's why we'll take a trip down memory lane and see how the well-loved OS came to the grandeur that it is today. Hang on tight and ready your sweet tooth as we look back at all the sugary goodness Android had offered in the past.

Pre-confection days

 1. Milestone 3

There was a time that Android wasn't named after your favorite baked goods or candies, but this was, of course, the development stages which most of you probably didn't even know existed. For starters, there's the Android 0.5 which was labeled as "m3-rc20a" with m3 pertaining to Milestone 3. Since this one was never publicized, this was just available on an emulator.  It was developed using a device built by HTC that was never released as well but was codenamed "Sooner". The first Milestone 3 was only compatible with a 320x240 display that should have a qwerty keypad. A lot was still missing from it but the early version of Google Map was already present. In December 2007, the "m3-rc37a" now can be more accommodating to touch screen phones with a 480x320 display configuration.

 2. Milestone 5

Released in February 2008, Google finally gave Android its own look which no one can no longer tag as a BlackBerry copycat. Although it was still called Android 0.5, Milestone 5 is very distinct than the earlier version. This is where Google started with the pull-down menu from a screen that we can still use in today's smartphone. Looking at the elements of this in an emulator, users can say that this is where modern Android version gets its core features from.

 3. Android 0.9 Beta

Released after a month of Apple's iPhone 3G, Android 0.9 graced emulator screens in August 2008. Multiple home screens were introduced along with more apps, app drawer, and widgets. New apps were also birthed in this version including Calculator, Music, Pictures, Messaging, Camera, and Alarm Clock. For the first time, the home screen is customizable and apps or widgets can finally be dragged to wherever you would like to place it. It was the first version to have a functioning copy+paste support as well as a lock screen.

 4. Android 1.0

Finally debuting on T-Mobile G1 which was also known as the HTC Dream, the Android 1.0 was released on October 2008. This is where the "Android Market Beta" debuted which we now call the Play Store. The Google apps suite was introduced for this version which was Gmail, IM, Market, Settings, Voice Dialer, Mail, and YouTube. Even at this early version, Android already made sure to protect user's privacy by showing required permissions before installing the app.

The birth of the sweets

1. Cupcake (Android 1.5)

A milestone for the Android OS, version 1.5 was codenamed Cupcake. From then on, the succeeding versions was alphabetically named after sweet confections. Cupcake introduced polishing and refinements of what the Beta and 1.0 versions offered but nothing entirely new. Camcorder was added while Google Talk was highlighted and released from the IM cluster. The displays were improved and third-party widgets were finally supported. Cupcake users were also finally given the freedom to upload their videos on YouTube which wasn't available in 1.0. Introduced through HTC Magic, Cupcake finally made users aware that physical keyboard is already irrelevant (something BlackBerry was too stubborn to let go at that time).

2. Donut (Android 1.6)

Though it looks very much similar to Cupcake and what it offers, Donut marks Android's ability to support different screen resolutions and aspect ratios. Users with small or big screens can now used the OS which finally marks how they can be embraced by more people. Android Market was redesigned on this version as many third-party apps were added. Along with these small changes, a better gallery and redesigned camera interface were seen on this version.

3. Eclair (Android 2.0/2.1)

By November 2009, Verizon exclusively distributed the Eclair on the Motorola Droid. Live Wallpapers first made appearance on the Eclair. Display and design was given a huge highlight again in this version. Android 2.0 and 2.1 have visually pleasing lock screen which users enjoyed. Although the updates on this version wasn't huge, it marked the birth of Nexus One as Google wanted a pure device that was made by Android itself.

4. Froyo (Android 2.2)

May 2010 marks the release of Froyo, and cool changes took place all in the name of speed. The most distinct change was the redesigning of the home screen from three panel view to five panels. Animations and 3D features were added which supports tilts of the screen and the apps. Mobile hotspot capability was also brought in the table which was disabled by some service providers as it may incur additional cost. Google also added Password or PIN options other than the previous pattern lock. As expected it was Nexus One which was first to get this update.

5. Gingerbread (Android 2.3)

By December 2010, Google figured it's time to have a great user interface overhaul. After all, Apple just released its iOS 4 and iPhone 4 along with Microsoft joining the mix with their new Windows Phone 7. Everything about the OS was finally modernized in order to be at par with its competition. It was launched through the Nexus S, produced by Samsung. The device was the first Android phone without a hardware D-Pad or trackball, the slightly curved glass, NFC chip, MicroSD Slot, and 16GB onboard memory. It's also the version which first supported your selfie addiction through its multiple camera support.

6. Honeycomb (Android 3.0)

Alarmed with iPad's release, Honeycomb was introduced in February 2011. It was the Android version that ran on 10-inch devices. But due to it being only available for tablets and doesn't support the flexibility of its predecessors, Honeycomb didn't really skyrocketed. Launched through Motorola's Xoom, the version featured refreshingly techy design with dark theme and blue as its main color accent. It also marked the start of independence from physical buttons, as the software supplies all the buttons needed on your touch screen.

7. Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0)

Following the major design changes from Honeycomb, the Ice Cream Sandwich version was released on October 2011 for mobiles through the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. The Roboto typeface was introduced as well as the notification screen's easy swipe to remove notifications individually. For security, Ice Cream Sandwich introduces face unlock through the front-facing camera. Data usage can finally tracked through Android 4.0 to battle all those bill shocks from internet use.

8. Jelly Bean (Android 4.1/4.2/4.3)

In July 2012, Android 4.1 was released with its Project Butter which promises that each animation on your screen runs as smoothly as possible. Released in Nexus 7, it marked the beginning of smaller sized tablets or some called "phablets". The blue color scheme introduced in Honeycomb was toned down and the rest of the design was made to be fairly simple and classy. The introduction of "Google Now" was seen on the Jelly Bean, which they called the future of Google Search. The 4.2 version came on the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 which were both sold through the Play Store. Many changes on the lock screen were seen, along with pagination, widgets and camera on swipe. New icons for the Google Apps were also introduced. Sharing among families were also made easier with multiple user profiles and Gesture mode was added for the convenience of blind users. The 4.3 update was to provide support for wearable accessories or specifically Android Wear which we can only reap the benefits today.

9. KitKat (Android 4.4)

Along with the launch of Nexus 5, Android 4.4 KitKat was released in October 2013. Gone was the dark theme and Android was given a lighter appearance with white background and modernized icons. Transparent notification bar and on-screen buttons were also seen along with the integration of Google Now in the home screen. Now, with the transparent status bar, apps can be viewed in full screen, the Hangouts app was given the SMS feature, clock was redesigns, emojis were finally welcomed through Android OS, and HDR support was also introduced. KitKat basically gave the modern flavor that Android has been looking for after all the changes they've made. Google had arrived to the face that they wanted Android to have.

10. Lollipop (Android 5.0)

The modern look of Android released on November 2014, Lollipop is finally where Android knows who and what it is. It's like it's finally pass the awkward teenage phase and now confident on what look suits it best. Great transitions, smooth animations, and multitasking at its finest were all packed on the Android Lollipop. Cards are all in the design from Google Now, to the Notifications, to the Lock Screen. Project Volta was also launched that will help users conserve battery for longer usage. Now, Android can be on all devices; from phones, tablets, TV, and wearables.

11. Marshmallow (Android 6.0)

Like what is mentioned on Lollipop, Android already arrived at full realization on what it should be like and Marshmallow reiterated that. No more drastic makeovers but more on making sure that users are given the best services were seen on Android M's release last October 2015. Improvements on Google Now is given along with new app permission options, and an official fingerprint sensor support. Doze for battery life improvement was also introduced but definitely no more major overhauls in the horizon.

With all the changes that Android had in the past, it was nice to know how it worked its ass off to be the OS that it is today. As technology continuously progress we can expect Google to further push boundaries and make Android still one of the leading OS for smart devices out in the market. 

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