Infographic: From Cupcake To Lollipop, A Brief History of Android And It’s Just Desserts

November 5, 2014 - Written By Peter Holden

So the big news of the last few weeks has been the launch of the Nexus 6 phablet and the Nexus 9 tablet, along with Google’s latest version of the Android operating system being released. In recent days we have also seen factory images of Android 5.0 Lollipop being made available for some of the older Nexus devices. All-in-all, it’s an exciting time to be an Android fan, although that enthusiasm can be somewhat dampened if your current device hasn’t been selected to receive the Lollipop update. Boo-hoo! Looking at Android 5.0 Lollipop, it’s quite easy to forget just how far Android has come as a whole, from the very beginning where Android was conceived. Andy Rubin may have just left Google, but back in October 2003, he co-founded Android Inc. along with Chris White, Rich Milner and Nick Sears. Fast forward almost 2 years later to 2005, and the search giant Google have bought out Android Inc.

The Android operating system was first unveiled on November 5th 2007, and Google also launched the Open Handset Alliance (OHA). And then the stuff that dreams are made of. The very first Android smart phone, the HTC Dream was launched in October 2008. This was the first drop of what would eventually become an absolute deluge of Android handsets. 2009 saw three Android updates, starting with Android 1.5 Cupcake on April 30th, bringing an update of the Android Market. Then on September 15th, version 1.6 Donut was launched, and shortly after that on October 26th, version 2.0 Eclair was announced, and this saw HTML5 browser support added along with the Quick Contact feature. Moving along to 2010, and here we see the release of Android 2.2 Froyo, bringing support for WiFi Hotspots as well as support for devices using higher quantities of RAM. Later that same year, 2.3 Gingerbread was also launched, offering NFC compatibility and internet calls. We also saw the very first Galaxy S handset from Samsung, sparking the beginning of the South Korean company’s dominance of the Android handset landscape.

February 2011 brought Android’s first attempt at a tablet friendly interface with the release of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, it was also the first version of Android to support multi-core processors. Around that time we saw a glut of Tegra 2 powered devices. Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 was released in October of that year, bringing with it the Holo design language and converging with Honeycomb. 2012 was the year of Jelly Bean 4.1-4.3, bringing things such as Project Butter, Google Now as well as increased support for non-english speaking users. Even back then Google had an eye on the emerging markets. It wasn’t until October 31st that we saw the advent of Android version 4.4 KitKat, being demonstrated on the new Nexus 5 handset. It was heady stuff, KitKat brought improvements such as Immersive mode and Wireless printing, Whereas the Nexus 5 brought a 5-inch display, and was LG’s second Nexus handset.

And finally, we get to the latest release, Android version 5.0 Lollipop, and this brings us the Nexus 6 phablet that is manufactured by Motorola, along with the HTC-produced Nexus 9 tablet. Lollipop has brought us features such as Project Volta, which promises substantial savings in battery life. And let’s not forget the three elephants in the room, the Android Wear platform that is being seen on smart watches, Android Auto that is being baked in to the entertainment systems of automobiles. Finally, we have the Nexus Player, which is Google’s latest assault on the living room space. It’s been a busy few years for Google and its Android operating system, there’s plenty more details in the infographic below. So now we’ve learned about Android’s past, where do you see it going in the future? As always, let us know at our Google Plus page.