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You must have heard words like Jelly Bean, Ice Cream Sandwich, Gingerbread, Honeycomb but not sure what they are used for. Well these are the versions of Android operating system owned by Google Inc. Today android is one of the most popular operating system and every third smartphone is based on Android. It initially was started by Android Inc. with the financial support from Google but later acquired by Google itself in 2005.
If I ask which was the first mobile phone running on Android, very few of us know it, any guesses? ok once more, any guesses which company's mobile phone if you can't name exact model? Ok, let me tell. The first mobile phone running android was HTC Dream which was launched in 2008. Since then android started to gain popularity and in a very short time, it become the most used operating system in the world for mobile phones and tablets. Apart from hundreds of advantages, the Android phone users can enjoy over 700,000 apps available at Google play and counting. You will find apps for each and everything, whether you want to get weather forecast, stock updates, know what your star sign says or required someone to answer questions need answered (recommended apps for voice assistance are Jeannie, Speaktoit assistant, Skyvi etc).
Ok back to the point, so far we have seen many different versions of Android and each version comes with new features and better users experience. I'm not going in depth and will be talking about versions afterwards Android 2.3 Gingerbread as you will rarely (almost nil) find any smartphone running any prior version. Infact you will find very less smartphones/tablets running on Android 2.3 Gingerbread even.
It is always better to use latest version of Android OS so that you could enjoy latest features, advance user interface, security and improved way of communication and sharing. The other reasons to update to latest version, there are many new apps, games and other software as well which support latest version only, so update your device to latest version now (if possible). For those who want to check out different versions based on their released dates, I'm listing them down below with brief description. I will be going from older (Android 2.3 Gingerbread) to latest (Jelly Bean 4.2) version of Android operating system.
Gingerbread (Android 2.3) – The Gingerbread version was launched in December 2010 with a vision to provide better user experience by making it easy to learn, use, navigate. The keyboard is re-designed to boost your typing speed. Apart from it, other features which Android 2.3 Gingerbread carries are improved battery, NFC support and multiple camera support. The features for the developers include performance enhancement for gaming, advance development environment, API etc.
Honeycomb (version 3.0) – The successor of Android 2.3 Gingerbread entered technology world on February 2011 with amazingly designed user interface targeting big screen devices like Tablets. The users can now customise home screen widgets and get notifications. In addition to it, keyboard was redesigned and keys were restructured to maximise typing speed. Other important things to notice is improved camera, improved browser which is very easy to navigate, NFC support and the improved email viewing and organising app. For developers, the honeycomb version includes high performance graphics (2D and 3D ), existing app compatibility and much more. Checkout full details HERE.
Ice Cream Sandwich (version 4.0) – The Ice Cream Sandwich was released on October 2011 and came with improved, simple and unified UI for mobile phones as well tablets. This version was made pretty simple with customisable home screen, resizable widgets, support for WiFi and Bluetooth to connect with peer device and communicate with a faster speed. Some of the well known devices running on Ice Cream Sandwich version are Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X, Google Nexus etc. All these devices can be upgraded to latest version pretty easily if anyone wishes to get the latest one.
Jelly Bean (version 4.2) – This is the latest versions of Android OS available for the smartphones and tablets. Its a successor of Android Jelly Bean 4.1 that comes with even advance features and highly intuitive UI. Android Jelly Bean version 4.2 was release on November 2012 with refreshed UI for users as well as for developers. Other Interesting feature of Jelly Bean 4.2 are lock screen widget, gesture typing and a newly designed keyboard. The smartphones running Android Jelly Bean version 4.2 are Samsung Galaxy S4, LG nexus 4.
Quick recap – Android is the world's powerful and the most used operating system for smartphones and tablets. The latest version of Android operating system available today is Jelly Bean 4.2 which is being used in latest smartphones like Samsung Galaxy S4, LG nexus 4 etc.