The basic building blocks of Android come in many flavors, with each major release receiving a tasty nickname. This is your guide to the different versions of Android.
If you've heard of Android, chances are you've heard all about its various versions. Some call it fragmentation, some say it's the nature of open-source, but in reality it's both a curse and a blessing. Regardless, it's good to have a little context about what all these version numbers and names mean when you see them posted on the Internet.
In March 2016 (March!!!), Google surprised pretty much everyone by releasing the N Developer Preview a full month and a half ahead of the yearly Google I/O developer conference. This gives app developers (and hard-core nerds) the opportunity to taste the next major flavor of Android before it's actually released. On June 30, Google gave us the nickname: Nougat.
Along with some visual changes — like a new launcher and refined notification panel — we saw a couple under the hood changes and new features (as always).
KitKat brought a lighter, flatter and far more colorful look to Android, but many more changes were under the hood. These were the foundation for things like the Google Now launcher, SMS integration with Hangouts, and easier and faster use all around.
The release polished the UI design started in Ice Cream Sandwich, and brought several great new features to the table.
Versions of Android older than 4.0, while still used on very a small number of devices, are considered "legacy" versions and are generally unsupported by Google, manufacturers and app developers. If your phone or tablet is still running one of these, it's absolutely time to update.
Dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich and finally designated Android 4.0, ICS brought many of the design elements of Honeycomb to smartphones, while refining the Honeycomb experience.
The first device to launch with ICS was the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.