The ten Best Variations of Android, Ranked

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Android, first launched in 2008, continues to be a comparatively younger working system. Nevertheless, with some years seeing a number of updates, there have been loads of Android variations to take a look at. Some have been higher than others, so let’s rank the ten best.

The Rating Standards

Finally, any “finest” record goes to return right down to the writer’s choice, and this record might be no totally different.

As a long-time Android person—going all the best way again to Android 1.5—I’ve expertise with almost each model of Android. Android makes issues difficult, although. My expertise with Android on a Pixel might be very totally different than another person’s expertise with the same version on a Samsung phone.

I gained’t be merely rating the variations primarily based on which has one of the best options, as that might skew closely towards the latest variations. Fairly, I’ll be contemplating the influence that every launch had on the platform as a complete.

Will you in all probability agree with my record fully? Nope! Let’s start.

RELATED: What Are Android Skins?

#10: Android 5.0 Lollipop

android lollipop

Let’s begin on the backside of the record with a controversial Android model. Launched in 2014, Android 5.0 Lollipop gave us our first style of “Materials Design.” This marked one more main design revamp for Android, however one which has arguably aged one of the best.

Past aesthetic modifications, there have been some main issues taking place below the floor, too. Android switched from Dalvik to ART (Android Runtime), which improved the efficiency of apps. That’s why most Android apps right this moment help Android 5.0 and above.

Whereas Lollipop appeared nice on the floor, it was affected by bugs. Reminiscence administration was a multitude on many units, inflicting apps to be closed within the background too usually. There have been additionally many annoyances with the brand new notification system.

Lollipop was essential for the way forward for Android, however it had quite a lot of hiccups.

#9: Android 6.0 Marshmallow

android marshmallow
Joe Fedewa

Talking of bugs, let’s discuss in regards to the model that mounted quite a lot of Lollipop’s points. Launched in 2015, Android 6.0 Marshmallow didn’t have the fanfare of different releases, however it was sneakily crucial.

Marshmallow launched a serious change in how Android handles app permissions. Fairly than asking you to grant all permissions on the time of putting in the app, you may grant them as wanted. That implies that you’re solely giving an app entry to, for instance, your information for those who particularly do one thing that requires that permission.

#8: Android 7.0-7.1 Nougat

android nougat

Android 7.0 Nougat was launched in 2016 and it was one other refining replace. By this time, Materials Design was turning into extra polished and fleshed out. Android had a pleasant, constant look.

Nougat lastly introduced split-screen mode to “inventory” Android. Earlier than this, cellphone makers had applied their very own strategies for split-screen mode, however Nougat made it a typical function. This launch additionally made “Doze,” a function meant to avoid wasting battery life, work a little bit higher.

Maybe the largest factor that Nougat introduced was Google Assistant. This was the model of Android that launched on Google’s first Pixel cellphone, and it was tightly built-in with the working system. Google Assistant now comes on all Android units by default.

RELATED: What Is Google Assistant, and What Can It Do?

#7: Android 9 Pie

android pie

When Android 9 Pie was launched in 2018, the reception to it was blended. For the primary time, Android didn’t have a Recents/Overview button. The navigation consisted of a pill-shaped dwelling button for gestures and a small contextual again button.

Whereas the half-baked gestures have been quickly changed with Android 10, another options had a extra lasting influence. Digital Wellbeing, a collection of instruments to assist individuals kind higher utilization habits, was included for the primary time. Machine learning-powered battery saving and display brightness have been additionally launched.

An enormous a part of Android Pie was privateness. Android obtained higher management over when apps may entry your digital camera and microphone. There have been quite a lot of little issues that enormously improved the general privateness and safety of the working system.

RELATED: Google Digital Wellbeing Review: A Strong Nudge Towards Disconnecting

#6: Android 2.0-2.1 Eclair

android eclair
Android Developers

By far the oldest entry on this record, Android 2.0 Eclair was launched in 2009 simply six weeks after Android 1.6. This was a monumental replace for the working system on the time.

Eclair launched many issues that we take as a right right this moment: Voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation in Google Maps, reside wallpapers, speech-to-text, and even pinch-to-zoom. (Sure, Android didn’t have pinch-to-zoom at first.)

In the event you have been an Android person right now, Eclair was the replace. I nonetheless keep in mind when my HTC Eris obtained the replace and I may use the navigation in Google Maps. It was legitimately life-changing. And might you think about utilizing a cellphone with out pinch-to-zoom?

#5: Android 4.1-4.3 Jelly Bean

android jelly bean

Android Jelly Bean contained three updates from 2012 to 2013. Coming from the foremost design overhaul in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean was all about refinement.

One of the crucial notable options in Jelly Bean was the introduction of the Fast Settings panel. This can be a function that has turn into commonplace on virtually all smartphones. It introduced a number of toggles that have been buried within the settings out to a extra handy place.

Jelly Bean was additionally our first style of “Google Now,” which has since been deserted. The idea of predictive data that would aid you all through the day was fairly unimaginable on the time. It caught round for some time, however was ultimately changed by Google Assistant.

One other cool function from Jelly Bean that Google has since deserted was Lock Display screen Widgets. It was neat to have fast entry to helpful widgets with out having to unlock your cellphone, however perhaps not really easy for the typical shopper to make use of.

#4: Android 4.4 KitKat

android kitkat

In 2013, Google launched the primary branded model of Android, 4.4 KitKat. Earlier variations of Android had turn into darkish with neon highlights. KitKat took issues in the other way with mild backgrounds and muted highlights.

This was the primary model of Android that had a clear standing bar on the prime of the house display. It additionally marked the swap to single-color icons within the standing bar, which on this case was white. These small aesthetic modifications made the notification space look so much cleaner.

KitKat was the primary model of Android that supported the “OK Google” wake instructions. Presently, it solely labored with the display on, however it was an essential starting step for what would ultimately turn into Google Assistant.

Android followers might keep in mind KitKat because the model that launched on the Nexus 5. To at the present time, the Nexus 5 is arguably probably the most beloved smartphone that Google has launched. It was an incredible marriage between software program and {hardware}.

#3: Android 10

📸 Android

Android 10, launched in 2019, was the primary model to drop the dessert nicknames. This signaled that Google hoped to take Android in a extra “mature” route.

Probably the most noticeable change in Android 10 was the full-screen gesture navigation. Android Pie began the transition away from a navigation bar and buttons, however Android 10 absolutely realized it. For the primary time, Android didn’t have “Dwelling” and “Again” buttons.

One other massive addition in Android 10 was the system-wide darkish theme. By flipping a swap, you may management the theme of any app that helps the system setting. No extra selecting themes on an app-by-app foundation (except you actually need to). Android’s base coloration had slowly turn into fairly white and shiny, so this was a really welcomed function.

Android 10 had many options, however one other essential one was higher management over permissions. Customers lastly obtained extra management over which apps may entry their areas. That is one thing Google has been engaged on fairly a bit lately, and Android 10 was an enormous step ahead.

#2: Android 8.0-8.1 Oreo

android oreo

Launched in 2017, Android Oreo didn’t convey an enormous design revamp, however it was quietly some of the secure and refined variations of the working system. This was the second time that Google went with a model for the dessert nickname.

Android Oreo wasn’t quick on options, although. Image-in-picture turned a local function, Notification Channels introduced tons of customizations to notifications, and even deciding on textual content obtained new choices.

Maybe some of the handy options to ever come to Android was launched with Oreo: Password Autofill. Identical to within the Chrome browser, Android may keep in mind your login for apps, making it drastically simpler to make use of apps and arrange new units.

Android Oreo additionally launched Project Treble, which promised to enhance the replace scenario that has plagued Android for years. 4 years later, has it made a distinction? Most likely not as a lot as Google had hoped.

Oh, and RIP to the blob emojis.

RELATED: What Are Android Notification Channels?

#1: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

android ICS
Android Developers

Ice Cream Sandwich was launched in 2011, and diehard Android followers will keep in mind it as a reasonably large deal. This was the primary time that Android really appeared like a contemporary working system because of the newly employed design chief Matias Duarte.

Android 3.0 Honeycomb, which was just for tablets, launched the neon “Holo UI.” Ice Cream Sandwich (generally referred to as “ICS”) refined the Holo UI and introduced it to telephones, unifying the 2 machine classes. Not everyone seems to be a fan of how Google merged tablets and telephones, however it was unquestionably a serious change for the platform.

Ice Cream Sandwich introduced richer notifications that might be swiped away for the primary time in Android’s historical past. Honeycomb’s revamped and extra visible Recents menu was introduced over. Face Unlock was added as a brand new safety methodology.

It actually can’t be emphasised sufficient how massive of a deal the Holo UI was for Android. Earlier than it, Android didn’t actually have a design language. It was very fundamental and appeared like one thing designed for builders. Ice Cream Sandwich lastly made it appear extra pleasant to make use of.

Ice Cream Sandwich was launched on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Android nerds drooled over the hype video for the discharge. This was when it felt like Android lastly grew up and Google was taking it critically as a mainstream working system.

This was a tough record to place collectively, and it might be made in a totally totally different order with legitimate arguments. Each Android launch has added one thing essential, however some had larger impacts total. Hopefully, the following massive function is just around the corner.

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