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Back to Basics: Android versions explained

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Android Authority Back to Basics

Welcome friends to the “Back to Basics” series, where we run a fine toothed comb over each and every aspect of Android so that you can make an educated decision on which Android device is for you. This week’s edition is all about Android versions, and we’ll be releasing a new edition to the series every week, so stay tuned.

But enough chit chat, it’s time to dive into the incredible world that is Android.


I’ll try and cut the history lesson short, so here it goes. The first phone running Android was the HTC Dream in 2008, and ever since then, Android has grown astronomically. You’ll often see the words “Jelly Bean”, “Ice Cream Sandwich” and “Gingerbread”, written on Android Authority. No, we don’t have candy fetishes (alright, maybe some of us do), instead this is the naming scheme given to Android versions.

Android versions are named in alphabetical order, after a particular sweet or dessert, so that would be Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and the latest version, Jelly Bean.

Android Versions

We’ll skip the earlier versions in this series, as not only are they old and outdated, meaning you’d be hard pressed to find a device still running them, but also because if you’re looking for a device to buy, you shouldn’t buy a device running those versions, no matter how good the price is.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread

Released in December 2010, Android 2.3 Gingerbread brought with it many changes which made Android a much better operating system. The highlights include support for multiple cameras (like front facing cameras for example), simplicity and speed improvements, a better keyboard, support for Near Field Communications, and battery improvements.

You’ll find Gingerbread running on older devices, as well as some budget devices, and while it is still a very solid operating system, you’d be recommended to get a device running a higher version of Android, if possible.

Samsung Nexus S

Samsung Nexus S – The first phone to run Android 2.3 Gingerbread

Popular devices running Gingerbread: Samsung Nexus S (upgradable to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean), Samsung Galaxy S2 (upgradable to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean), HTC Sensation (upgradable to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich) and the Motorola Droid Razr (upgradable to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean).

Android 3.0 Honeycomb

Released in February 2011, Honeycomb was the first Android version to be optimized for tablets. It was also the first (and only) version of Android to only support tablets. It came with features like a new user interface (UI) design dubbed “Holo”, which has carried on through Android to the latest versions of Jelly Bean. A redesigned keyboard, simplified multitasking, multiple tabs in the web browser, and resizable widgets were some other major additions to Honeycomb.


The Motorola Xoom

Since only tablets can run Honeycomb, there were very …read more

Via: Android Authority