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From Cupcake to Marshmallow: Sweet Evolution of Android

September 03, 2015 Written by Maria Shestakova, Digital Marketer
Android is the most popular mobile platform out there, making life sweeter for over a billion smartphone and tablet users. It has come a long way from a no-namer mere 12 years ago to world’s most powerful operating system and most anticipated ‘dessert’ today. Since the Android Marshmallow 6.0 release is coming this fall we decided to recall the history of sweet OS and show you what makes Android such a delicious choice.

Android OS History: Quick Bites

The epic journey started in 2003, when Andy Rubin and his team founded Android Inc. At that time, nobody paid much attention to yet another development company who aimed to develop ‘software for mobile devices’. Yet, the start-up came up with a revolutionary open source platform based on Linux, which offered developers a set of easy-to-use tools, and freedom to exploit and develop it. Google co-founders realized the potential early on, and bought Android Inc in 2005. Taking the competitive market, divided at that time by Microsoft and Apple, the international community was equally skeptical and curious about the move. Yet, another 2 years passed, and Google’s intentions became clear, as they offered developers $10 mln for best apps to encourage Android application development. Google wasn’t after another iPhone, they were creating an open software system that would be independent from any hardware. On November 5th , 2007, Google unveiled Android, and the day has officially become Android’s birthday. The rest is history.
  • Android 1.5 – Cupcake, born on April 27, 2009, was the first to get the sweet naming tradition started. It was upgraded to the 2.6.27 Linux kernel, which improved stability and security features. Smart virtual keyboard, Picasa image uploading, stereo Bluetooth and hands-free calls, and voice search were among the most anticipated features of that early release.
  • Android 1.6 – Donut, released on September 15, 2009, boasted new features such as adjustable home screen, along with ability to arrange apps and widgets in folders, battery usage indicator, and better text-to-speech options.
  • Android 2.0 – Éclair, which saw the world on October 26, 2009, offered Quick Contact feature, keyboard improvements, Voice Typing and Voice Actions options.
  • Year 2010 gave birth to 2 Android versions: Android 2.2 – Froyo, on May 20, and Android 2.3 – Gingerbread, on December 6. Froyo got known for multiple keyboard language, portable Wi-fi spot, and larger RAM support. Gingerbread’s new sensors put stress on gaming capabilities: “touch, tap, tilt, and play away”, says the official Android page.
  • Android 3.0 – Honeycomb, released on February 22, 2011, was designed for tablet use only and featured optimized tablet UI, redesigned widgets, customizable home screen, action bar, browser enhancements, and hardware acceleration for 2D graphics.
In May 2011, Android already enjoyed 53% of the total market share, surpassing its powerful rivals, Microsoft and Apple.
  • Android 4.0 - Ice Cream Sandwich, “Beyond Smart” system shakes the market on October 18, 2011. It offers better, more universal, interface, faster web browsing, speech transcription, and data use monitoring. And, sure enough, everyone remembers photo taking triggered by a smile, and Roboto, the new font.
  • Android 4.1 - Jelly Bean, presented on July 9, 2012, was famous for Project Butter – enormous amount of work done to produce the fastest system version. Google Now, voice search, expandable notifications, predictive keyboard were among top Jellybean features. The release almost corresponds with Google Play store passing one-million mark for Android apps published.
  • Android 4.4 – KitKat, a sweet version from October 31, 2013, enjoyed Bluetooth MAP support and wireless printing, touch screen optimization for better multitasking. “Smart, simple, and truly yours”, it made users’ hearts melt.
A survey conducted in May-June 2013 proved Android’s enormous popularity, stating that 71% of developers now opted for Android mobile app development.
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop, was introduced to public on November 12, 2014, and had a lot of new features to offer, including device sharing, material design, and battery saver.

5 tasty reasons to anticipate Android Marshmallow

The official Android 6.0 Marshmallow release is scheduled for some time "later this fall". Yet, three Developer Previews give us some hints as to what to expect. Below are major of them:
  • 1. Permission controls (granular app permissions)
First, permissions are simplified significantly. Second, users can now grant one-time permissions for each individual case. Requests will be sent the first time a user tries a feature, not when an app is installed, and can later be modified in Settings. This eliminates the need to accept permissions that don't make sense to a regular user, which is a remarkable step forward indeed, since it gives Android fans greater control over their own data.
  • 2. Visual Voicemail
It's exactly what it sounds like. A voicemail will be enriched with a visual interface, replacing audio-based one of current Android smartphones. This seemingly minor upgrade requires a lot of effort to implement, since cooperation from all mobile carriers is needed, and might make scalability slow and painful.
  • 3. Android Pay
Google keeps up with Apple pay with its brand-new introduction, which makes payment processes smooth and pleasant. Android Pay mainly focuses on keeping all iterations simple and secure, with almost 700,000 US stores already accepting payments. The new platform requires KitKat OS or higher and NFC capabilities to run well. It is currently supported by main banking systems and major mobile operators like T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T.
  • 4. Doze – A New Word in Battery Life Saving
Doze is a new function that improves battery lifetime. It will use motion detectors to recognize when a device wasn’t used for some time, ex. sleeping time, left lying on a stable surface, etc., and minimize background processes accordingly. The new feature is promised to grant Android users with double standby time capabilities. Yet, even battery-saving mode, Android will still be enabled to start alarms or push priority notifications.
  • 5. Updates to Fingerprint API
Regulations for fingerprint scanners on various Android smartphones will be updated and standardized. The new feature will allow users to unlock their devices, as well as to authorize real-life or in-app purchases. True, so far this only matters if your device harware boasts a fingerprint scanner pre-installed, but since the official Android 6.0 release supporting it, we can expect a boost in this smartphone segment. As we see, Marshmallow 6.0 will come at the height of almost eight years of evolution. Each version steadily built off the previous, addressing various flaws and shaping system’s design as we know it today. It might have some of the biggest changes since its original launch, offering the newest sweet recipe of success. Time will show.  

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