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Evolution of the Android OS

As Android users are increasing at a skyrocketing rate, there is a need for her users to get familiar with her evolution over the time.

The first Android operating system was released by Google on November 5, 2007; this day is considered the official birth of the Android OS. Android OS adopted its names from a variety of desserts or sugary treat names. Different Android OS, their version number, year of release and typical phones are explained below.

ALPHA (1.0)

The Android Alpha was the maiden commercial Android released on September 23, 2008, with the version number 1.0. The first phone with the Alpha OS was HTC Dream which is also known as G-Mobile T1. Google may have adopted this name from the first Greek alphabet Alpha.

BETA (1.1)

This was the second Android to be released after the Alpha OS. It was released on February 9, 2009, with the version number 1.1. Beta is the second Greek alphabet, probably the reason Android adopted it since this stands as their second Android OS or an incomplete software released for test running for potential users.


This was released on April 27, 2009, with the version number 1.5. This name is adopted from a cuplike shaped cake with icing on top.

DONUT (1.6)

This was released on September 15, 2009, with the version number 1.6. This is adapted from a baked dough which has an ellipsoidal shape mixed with various sweeteners, flavours and sometimes filled with cream or custard.

ÉCLAIR (2.0-2.1)

The first version number 2.0 was released on October 26, 2009. Version 2.0.1 and 2.1 was released December 3, 2009, and January 12, 2010, respectively. This Android version adopted its name from the French chocolate which is oblong in shape filled with pastry.

FROYO (2.2-2.2.3)

The first version number 2.2 of Froyo which stands for Frozen Yogurt, 2was released on May 20, 2010. Version 2.2.1, 2.2.2 and 2.2.3 were released on January 18, 2011, January 22, 2011, and November 21, 2011, respectively.

GINGERBREAD (2.3—2.3.7)

The first version number 2.3 was released on December 6, 2010. While version 2.3.1 (December 2010), 2.3.2 (January 2011), 2.3.3 (February 9, 2011), 2.3.4 (April 28, 2011), 2.3.5 (July 25, 2011), 2.3.6 (September 2, 2011), 2.3.7 (September 21, 2011) were released as shown in their respective dates. This Android OS featured on Nexus S which Google jointly developed with Samsung. It was originally available on T-mobile but was later made for Sprint and AT&T.  This Android version adopted her name from a type of cake which has ginger as its major flavour.

HONEYCOMB (3.0—3.2.6)

The maiden version 3.0 of the Honeycomb was released on February 22, 2011, and was first featured on the Motorola Xoom tablet. While version 3.1 (May 10, 2011), 3.2.1 (September 20, 2011), 3.2.2 (August 30, 2011), 3.2.3 (August 2011), 3.2.4 (December 2011), 3.2.5 (January 2012), 3.2.6 (February 2012).


The maiden version 4.0 was released on October 18, 2011. While version 4.0.1 (October 21, 2011), 4.0.1 (October 21, 2011), 4.0.2 (November 28, 2011), 4.0.3 (December 16, 2011), 4.0.4 (March 29, 2012). The Galaxy Nexus was the first mobile phone to feature this Android version. It came with a lot of upgrades amongst which is the face unlocking security feature.

JELLY BEAN (4.1—4.3.1)

This Android OS 4.1 Jelly Bean was released July 9, 2012, and the first device to feature this OS is the Nexus 7 tablet while the 4.1.1 and 4.1.2 were released respectively on July 11, 2012, and October 9, 2012. The 4.2 version was released on November 13, 2013, featuring on Nexus 4 and Nexus 10. Other versions 4.2.1, 4.2.2, 4.3 and 4.3.1 were released on November 27, 2012, February 11, 2013, July 24, 2013, and October 3, 2013, respectively. This Android version adopted its name from a chewy candy with a bean shape which is made of sugar, colouring and flavour.

KITKAT (4.4—4.4.4)

The KitKat Android OS was announced on September 3, 2013, under the codename “Key Lime Pie”, but was later changed to KitKat. Nexus 5 debuted the OS and was released October 31, 2013. Other versions 4.4.1, 4.4.2, 4.4.3 and 4.4.4 were released December 5, 2013, December 9, 2013, June 2, 2014, and June 19, 2014, respectively. This adopted its name from chocolate wafer covered bar confection.

LOLLIPOP (5.0—5.1.1)

The 5.0 Lollipop was unveiled under the codename Android L and was made official November 12, 2014. Other versions 5.0.1, 5.0.2, 5.1 and 5.1.1 were released on December 2, 2014, December 19, 2014, March 9, 2015, and April 21, 2015, respectively.

MARSHMALLOW (6.0—6.0.1)

First unveiled under the codename Android M on May 28, 2015, and was released October 5, 2015. It has just one other version 6.0.1 released December 7, 2015. This Android version adopted its name from a confectionery item made of sugar or corn syrup.

NOUGAT (7.0—7.1.1)

The Android OS Nougat was released August 22, 2016. Other versions 7.1 and 7.1.1 were released on October 4, 2016, and December 5, 2016, respectively. Adopted its name from a confection of honey or sugar and roasted nuts.

There is an upcoming release which is codenamed as Android O. There have been speculations what the name of the Android will be. The Tech Advisor to Google Android OS is of the opinion that the name could be Oreo, Orange or Oatcake. It is evident that these names adopted to suit Android version are handpicked and not a mere accident to show how sweet and sugary every experience of the Android OS will be for its users.

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Kofoworola Omotayo

Kofoworola Omotayo is a freelance writer, a lover of tech and a literature monger. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy and a member of Nigerian Institute of Management. He enjoys approaching issues from logical and empirical perspective. His twitter handle @heir_ptahyor and Gmail: kofoworolaomotayo[@]

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