For most of us, a cell phone is just something we expect to work. Not a lot of people have the time or desire to keep track of which OS their phone is running — so long as it does what’s expected of it. If you’re considering selling your phone, however, you’ll need to know which OS is installed. Here’s a quick guide to the release history and code names for the Android OS.
Cupcake and Donut
One thing you’ll quickly realize about Android version names is that each release highlights a different sweet treat. Android version 1.0 was released in September, 2008 and was available exclusively on the HTC Dream phone. It received its first major update in April 2009 with the release of version 1.5 (Cupcake), which was followed in September of that year by Android 1.6 (Donut).
Éclair, Froyo and Gingerbread
The second era of Android version history began in October 2009. Version 2.0 (Eclair) featured improved options for customization, live wallpapers and other notable features. Voice typing came with the release of Froyo (Android 2.2) in May 2010. Gingerbread (Android 2.3) introduced sophisticated sensors to support a wider range of gaming options when it arrived in December of that year.
Honeycomb — 3.0 in the history of Android OS versions — is a tablet-optimized platform first released on the Motorola Xoom in February, 2011. It included a number of features for multitasking, web browsing and connectivity. Honeycomb 3.1, which provided support for additional external devices as well as other improvements, was released in May of that year. A final version, Honeycomb 3.2, followed in July.
Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean and Kit Kat
The fourth generation in Android’s OS version history began with the release of Ice Cream Sandwich in October 2011. This release included a major overhaul of the software’s design and functionality, making it smarter and more attractive. Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, an incremental upgrade, was released in July 2012.
Android 4.4 — Kit Kat — was released in October 2013. Many phones in use today still run on Android 4.4 or a semi-customized OS based on it. Kit Kat, which featured a refined design and optimized performance, was developed to run on a greater range of devices than previous releases in Android’s version history.
The current generation of the Android OS began with the release of version 5.0 — Lollipop — in October 2013. The most recent update, version 5.1, was released in March 2015. To confirm which OS you have on your device, go to Apps > Settings > About phone/About tablet.
Currently, the mobile tech world is preparing for the release of Android Marshmallow, version 6.0 of the OS. Will the new design continue to rack up accolades or will it be thoroughly roasted by users and critics alike? Only time will tell if this release is as sweet as prior iterations.