Jelly Bean Vs Kitkat Comparison Essay

The version history of the Androidmobile operating system began with the public release of the Android beta in November 5, 2007. The first commercial version, Android 1.0, was released in September 2008. Android is continually developed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance, and it has seen a number of updates to its base operating system since the initial release.

Versions 1.0 and 1.1 were not released under specific code names. Android code names are confectionery-themed and have been in alphabetical order since 2009's Android 1.5 Cupcake, with the most recent major version being Android 8.1 Oreo, released in December 2017.

Code nameVersion numberInitial release dateAPI levelSecurity patches[1]
(No codename)[2]Old version, no longer supported: 1.0September 23, 20081Unsupported
(Internally known as "Petit Four")[2]Old version, no longer supported: 1.1February 9, 20092Unsupported
CupcakeOld version, no longer supported: 1.5April 27, 20093Unsupported
Donut[3]Old version, no longer supported: 1.6September 15, 20094Unsupported
Eclair[4]Old version, no longer supported: 2.0 – 2.1October 26, 20095 – 7Unsupported
Froyo[5]Old version, no longer supported: 2.2 – 2.2.3May 20, 20108Unsupported
Gingerbread[6]Old version, no longer supported: 2.3 – 2.3.7December 6, 20109 – 10Unsupported
Honeycomb[7]Old version, no longer supported: 3.0 – 3.2.6February 22, 201111 – 13Unsupported
Ice Cream Sandwich[8]Old version, no longer supported: 4.0 – 4.0.4October 18, 201114 – 15Unsupported
Jelly Bean[9]Old version, no longer supported: 4.1 – 4.3.1July 9, 201216 – 18Unsupported
KitKat[10]Old version, no longer supported: 4.4 – 4.4.4October 31, 201319 – 20Unsupported[11]
Lollipop[12]Older version, yet still supported: 5.0 – 5.1.1November 12, 201421 – 225.1.x Supported
Marshmallow[13]Older version, yet still supported: 6.0 – 6.0.1October 5, 201523Supported
Nougat[14]Older version, yet still supported: 7.0 – 7.1.2August 22, 201624 – 25Supported
Oreo[15]Current stable version:8.0 – 8.1August 21, 201726 – 27Supported

Legend:

Old version

Older version, still supported

Latest version

Latest preview version

Future release

A version of Android KitKat exclusive to Android Wear devices was released on June 25, 2014, with an API level of 20.

Pre-commercial release versions[edit]

The development of Android started in 2003 by Android, Inc., which was purchased by Google in 2005.[16]

Alpha[edit]

There were at least two internal releases of the software inside Google and the OHA before the beta version was released.[17][18]

To avoid confusion, the code names "Astro Boy" and "Bender" were only known to be tagged internally on some early pre-1.0 milestone builds, and thus were never used as the actual code names of the 1.0.0 and 1.1 release of the OS, as many people are mistakenly calling and repeating on the web.[2] Dan Morrill created some of the first mascot logos, but the current Android logo was designed by Irina Blok.[19] The project manager, Ryan Gibson, conceived the confectionery-themed naming scheme that has been used for the majority of the public releases, starting with Android 1.5 Cupcake.

Beta[edit]

The beta was released on November 5, 2007,[20][21] while the software development kit (SDK) was released on November 12, 2007.[22] The November 5 date is popularly celebrated as Android's "birthday".[23] Public beta versions of the SDK were released in the following order:[24]

  • November 12, 2007: m3-rc20a (milestone 3, release code 20a)[25]
  • November 16, 2007: m3-rc22a (milestone 3, release code 22a)[26]
  • December 14, 2007: m3-rc37a (milestone 3, release code 37a)[27]
  • February 13, 2008: m5-rc14 (milestone 5, release code 14)[28]
  • March 3, 2008: m5-rc15 (milestone 5, release code 15)[24]
  • August 18, 2008: 0.9 Beta[29][30]
  • September 23, 2008: 1.0-r1[31][32]

Version history by API level[edit]

The following tables show the release dates and key features of all Android operating system updates to date, listed chronologically by their official application programming interface (API) levels.

Android 1.0.0 (API 1)

Android 1.0.0 (API 1)

Android 1.0.0 the first commercial version of the software, was released on September 23, 2008.[33] The first commercially available Android device was the HTC Dream.[34] Android 1.0 incorporated the following features:
VersionRelease dateFeatures
1.0September 23, 2008
  • Android Market allowed application downloads and updates through the Market application
  • Web browser to show, zoom and pan full HTML and XHTML web pages – multiple pages show as windows ("cards")[35][36]
  • Camera support – however, this version lacked the option to change the camera's resolution, white balance, quality, etc.[37]
  • Folders allowing the grouping of a number of application icons into a single folder icon on the Home screen[38]
  • Access to web email servers, supporting POP3, IMAP4, and SMTP[36]
  • Gmail synchronization with the Gmail application
  • Google Contacts synchronization with the People application
  • Google Calendar synchronization with the Calendar application
  • Google Maps with Street View to view maps and satellite imagery, as well as find local business and obtain driving directions using GPS[37]
  • Google Sync, allowing management of over-the-air synchronization of Gmail, People, and Calendar
  • Google Search, allowing users to search the Internet and phone applications, contacts, calendar, etc.
  • Google Talk instant messaging
  • Instant messaging, text messaging, and MMS
  • Media Player, enabling management, importing, and playback of media files – however, this version lacked video and stereo Bluetooth support[36][37]
  • Notifications appear in the Status bar, with options to set ringtone, LED or vibration alerts[35][36][39]
  • Voice Dialer allows dialing and placing of phone calls without typing a name or number[36]
  • Wallpaper allows the user to set the background image or photo behind the Home screen icons and widgets
  • YouTube video player[40]
  • Other applications include: Alarm Clock, Calculator, Dialer (Phone), Home screen (Launcher), Pictures (Gallery), and Settings
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support

Android 1.1 (API 2)

Android 1.1 (API 2)

On February 9, 2009, the Android 1.1 update was released, initially for the HTC Dream only. Android 1.1 was known as "Petit Four" internally, though this name was not used officially.[2][41] The update resolved bugs, changed the Android API and added a number of features:[42]
VersionRelease dateFeatures
1.1February 9, 2009
  • Details and reviews available when a user searches for businesses on Maps
  • Longer in-call screen timeout default when using the speakerphone, plus ability to show/hide dialpad
  • Ability to save attachments in messages
  • Support added for marquee in system layouts

Android 1.5 Cupcake (API 3)

Android 1.5 Cupcake (API 3)

On April 27, 2009, the Android 1.5 update was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.27.[43][44] This was the first release to officially use a codename based on a dessert item ("Cupcake"), a theme which would be used for all releases henceforth. The update included several new features and UI amendments:[45]
VersionRelease dateFeaturesImage(s)
1.5April 27, 2009[43]
  • Support for third-party virtual keyboards with text prediction and user dictionary for custom words
  • Support for Widgets – miniature application views that can be embedded in other applications (such as the Home screen) and receive periodic updates[46]
  • Video recording and playback in MPEG-4 and 3GP formats
  • Auto-pairing and stereo support for Bluetooth (A2DP and AVRCP profiles)
  • Copy and paste features in web browser
  • User pictures shown for Favorites in Contacts
  • Specific date/time stamp shown for events in call log, and one-touch access to a contact card from call log event
  • Animated screen transitions
  • Auto-rotation option
  • New stock boot animation
  • Ability to upload videos to YouTube
  • Ability to upload photos to Picasa

Android 1.5 home screen

Android 1.6 Donut (API 4)

Android 1.6 Donut (API 4)

On September 15, 2009, Android 1.6 – dubbed Donut – was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.29.[47][48][49] Included in the update were numerous new features:[47]
VersionRelease dateFeaturesImage(s)
1.6September 15, 2009[48]
  • Voice and text entry search enhanced to include bookmark history, contacts, and the web
  • Ability for developers to include their content in search results
  • Multi-lingual speech synthesis engine to allow any Android application to "speak" a string of text
  • Easier searching and ability to view app screenshots in Android Market
  • Gallery, camera and camcorder more fully integrated, with faster camera access
  • Ability for users to select multiple photos for deletion
  • Updated technology support for CDMA/EVDO, 802.1x, VPNs, and a text-to-speech engine
  • Support for WVGA screen resolutions
  • Speed improvements in searching and camera applications
  • Expanded Gesture framework and new GestureBuilder development tool

Android 1.6 home screen

Android 2.0 Eclair (API 5)

Android 2.0 Eclair (API 5)

On October 26, 2009, the Android 2.0 SDK was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.29 and codenamed Eclair.[50] Changes include the ones listed below.[51]
VersionRelease dateFeaturesImage(s)
2.0October 26, 2009
  • Expanded Account sync, allowing users to add multiple accounts to a device for synchronization of email and contacts
  • Microsoft Exchange email support, with combined inbox to browse email from multiple accounts in one page
  • Bluetooth 2.1 support
  • Ability to tap a Contacts photo and select to call, SMS, or email the person
  • Ability to search all saved SMS and MMS messages, with delete oldest messages in a conversation automatically deleted when a defined limit is reached
  • Numerous new camera features, including flash support, digital zoom, scene mode, white balance, color effect and macro focus
  • Improved typing speed on virtual keyboard, with smarter dictionary that learns from word usage and includes contact names as suggestions
  • Refreshed browser UI with bookmark thumbnails, double-tap zoom and support for HTML5
  • Calendar agenda view enhanced, showing attending status for each invitee, and ability to invite new guests to events
  • Optimized hardware speed and revamped UI
  • Support for more screen sizes and resolutions, with better contrast ratio
  • Improved Google Maps 3.1.2
  • MotionEvent class enhanced to track multi-touch events[52]
  • Addition of live wallpapers, allowing the animation of home-screen background images to show movement

Android 2.0 home screen

Android 2.2 Froyo (API 8)

Android 2.2 Froyo (API 8)

On May 20, 2010, the SDK for Android 2.2 (Froyo, short for frozen yogurt) was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.32.[55]
VersionRelease dateFeaturesImage(s)
2.2May 20, 2010
  • Speed, memory, and performance optimizations[56]
  • Additional application speed improvements, implemented through JIT compilation[57]
  • Integration of Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine into the Browser application
  • Support for the Android Cloud to Device Messaging (C2DM) service, enabling push notifications
  • Improved Microsoft Exchange support, including security policies, auto-discovery, GAL look-up, calendar synchronization and remote wipe
  • Improved application launcher with shortcuts to Phone and Browser applications
  • USB tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot functionality[58]
  • Option to disable data access over mobile network
  • Updated Market application with batch and automatic update features[56]
  • Quick switching between multiple keyboard languages and their dictionaries
  • Support for Bluetooth-enabled car and desk docks
  • Support for numeric and alphanumeric passwords
  • Support for file upload fields in the Browser application[59]
  • The browser now shows all frames of animated GIFs instead of just the first frame only
  • Support for installing applications to the expandable memory
  • Adobe Flash support[60]
  • Support for high-PPI displays (up to 320 ppi), such as four-inch 720p screens[61]
  • Gallery allows users to view picture stacks using a zoom gesture

Android 2.2 home screen
2.2.1January 18, 2011
  • Bugfixes, security updates and performance improvements
2.2.2January 22, 2011
  • Minor bugfixes, including SMS routing issues that affected the Nexus One[62]
2.2.3November 21, 2011[63]

Android 2.3 Gingerbread (API 9)

Android 2.3 Gingerbread (API 9)

On December 6, 2010, the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) SDK was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.35.[64][65] Changes included:[64]
VersionRelease dateFeaturesImage(s)
2.3December 6, 2010[65]
  • Updated user interface design with increased simplicity and speed
  • Support for extra-large screen sizes and resolutions (WXGA and higher)[61]
  • Native support for SIPVoIP internet telephony
  • Faster, more intuitive text input in virtual keyboard, with improved accuracy, better suggested text and voice input mode
  • Enhanced copy/paste functionality, allowing users to select a word by press-hold, copy, and paste
  • Support for Near Field Communication (NFC), allowing the user to read an NFC tag embedded in a poster, sticker, or advertisement
  • New audio effects such as reverb, equalization, headphone virtualization, and bass boost
  • New Download Manager, giving users easy access to any file downloaded from the browser, email, or another application
  • Support for multiple cameras on the device, including a front-facing camera, if available
  • Support for WebM/VP8 video playback, and AAC audio encoding
  • Improved power management with a more active role in managing applications that are keeping the device awake for too long
  • Enhanced support for native code development
  • Switched from YAFFS to ext4 on newer devices[66][67]
  • Audio, graphical, and input enhancements for game developers
  • Concurrent garbage collection for increased performance
  • Native support for more sensors (such as gyroscopes and barometers)
  • First Android version to feature an Easter egg. It was an image of the Bugdroid standing next to a zombie gingerbread man, with many more zombies in the background.

Android 2.3 home screen
2.3.1December 2010
  • Improvements and bugfixes for the Nexus S
2.3.2January 2011
  • Improvements and bugfixes for the Nexus S

Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread (API 10)

Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread (API 10)

VersionRelease dateFeaturesImage(s)
2.3.3February 9, 2011
  • Several improvements and API fixes[68]

Android 2.3 home screen
2.3.4April 28, 2011[69]
  • Support for voice or video chat using Google Talk[70]
  • Open Accessory Library support. Open Accessory was introduced in 3.1 (Honeycomb) but the Open Accessory Library grants 2.3.4 added support when connecting to a USB peripheral with compatible software and a compatible application on the device[71]
  • Switched the default encryption for SSL from AES256-SHA to RC4-MD5.[72][73]
2.3.5July 25, 2011
  • Improved network performance for the Nexus S 4G, among other fixes and improvements
  • Fixed Bluetooth bug on Samsung Galaxy S
  • Improved Gmail application
  • Shadow animations for list scrolling
  • Camera software enhancements[74]
  • Improved battery efficiency
2.3.6September 2, 2011[75]
  • Fixed a voice search bug[a]
2.3.7September 21, 2011

Android 3.0 Honeycomb (API 11)

Android 3.0 Honeycomb (API 11)

On February 22, 2011, the Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) SDK – the first tablet-only Android update – was released, based on Linux kernel 2.6.36.[78][79][80][81] The first device featuring this version, the Motorola Xoom tablet, was released on February 24, 2011.[82] The update's features included:[78]
VersionRelease dateFeaturesImage(s)
3.0February 22, 2011[80]
  • Optimized tablet support with a new “holographic” user interface (removed again the following year with version 4.2)[83]
  • New easter egg, an image of a Tron-themed bumblebee
  • Added System Bar, featuring quick access to notifications, status, and soft navigation buttons, available at the bottom of the screen
  • Added Action Bar, giving access to contextual options, navigation, widgets, or other types of content at the top of the screen
  • Simplified multitasking – tapping Recent Applications in the System Bar allows users to see snapshots of the tasks underway and quickly jump from one application to another
  • Redesigned keyboard, making typing fast, efficient and accurate on larger screen sizes
  • Simplified, more intuitive copy/paste interface
  • Multiple browser tabs replacing browser windows, plus form auto-fill and a new “incognito” mode allowing anonymous browsing
  • Quick access to camera exposure, focus, flash, zoom, front-facing camera, time-lapse, and other camera features
  • Ability to view albums and other collections in full-screen mode in Gallery, with easy access to thumbnails for other photos
  • New two-pane Contacts UI and Fast Scroll to let users easily organize and locate contacts
  • New two-pane Email UI to make viewing and organizing messages more efficient, allowing users to select one or more messages
  • Hardware acceleration
  • Support for multi-core processors
  • Ability to encrypt all user data
  • HTTPS stack improved with Server Name Indication (SNI)
  • Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE; kernel module)
  • Disallows applications from having write access to secondary storage (memory cards on devices with internal primary storage) outside of designated, application-specific directories. Full access to primary internal storage is still allowed through a separate application-level permission.[84][85]

Android 3.0 home screen

Android 3.1 Honeycomb (API 12)

Android 3.1 Honeycomb (API 12)

VersionRelease dateFeaturesImage(s)
3.1May 10, 2011[86]
  • UI refinements
  • Connectivity for USB accessories (USB On-The-Go).
  • Expanded Recent Applications list
  • Resizable Home screen widgets
  • Support for external keyboards and pointing devices
  • Support for joysticks and gamepads
  • Support for FLAC audio playback[87][88]
  • High-performance Wi-Fi lock, maintaining high-performance Wi-Fi connections when device screen is off
  • Support for HTTP proxy for each connected Wi-Fi access point

Android 3.1 home screen

Android 3.2 Honeycomb (API 13)

Android 3.2 Honeycomb (API 13)

VersionRelease dateFeaturesImage(s)
3.2July 15, 2011[89]
  • Improved hardware support, including optimizations for a wider range of tablets
  • Increased ability of applications to access files on the SD card, e.g. for synchronization
  • Compatibility display mode for applications that have not been optimized for tablet screen resolutions
  • New display support functions, giving developers more control over display appearance on different Android devices[90]

Android 3.2 home screen
3.2.1September 20, 2011
  • Bugfixes and minor security, stability and Wi-Fi improvements
  • Update to Android Market with automatic updates and easier-to-read Terms and Conditions text
  • Update to Google Books
  • Improved Adobe Flash support in browser
  • Improved Chinese handwriting prediction
3.2.2August 30, 2011
  • Bugfixes and other minor improvements for the Motorola Xoom 4G
3.2.3August 30, 2011 [90]
  • Bugfixes and other minor improvements for the Motorola Xoom and Motorola Xoom 4G
3.2.4December 2011
  • Pay As You Go for 3G and 4G tablets
3.2.5January 2012
  • Bugfixes and other minor improvements for the Motorola Xoom and Motorola Xoom 4G
3.2.6February 2012
  • Fixed data connectivity issues when coming out of airplane mode on the US 4G Motorola Xoom

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (API 14)

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (API 14)

The SDK for Android 4.0.1 (Ice Cream Sandwich), based on Linux kernel 3.0.1,[91] was publicly released on October 19, 2011.[92] Google's Gabe Cohen stated that Android 4.0 was "theoretically compatible" with any Android 2.3.x device in production at that time.[93] The source code for Android 4.0 became available on November 14, 2011.[94] Ice Cream Sandwich was the last version to officially support Adobe Systems' Flash player.[95] The update introduced numerous new features:[96][97][98]
VersionRelease dateFeaturesImage(s)
4.0October 18, 2011[96]
  • Major refinements to the "Holo" interface with new Roboto font family
  • Soft buttons from Android 3.x are now available for use on phones
  • Separation of widgets in a new tab, listed in a similar manner to applications
  • Easier-to-create folders, with a drag-and-drop style
  • Improved visual voicemail with the ability to speed up or slow down voicemail messages
  • Pinch-to-zoom functionality in the calendar
  • Integrated screenshot capture (accomplished by holding down the Power and Volume-Down buttons)
  • Improved error correction on the keyboard
  • Ability to access applications directly from lock screen
  • Improved copy and paste functionality
  • Better voice integration and continuous, real-time speech to text dictation
  • Face Unlock, a feature that allows users to unlock handsets using facial recognition software[83]
  • Automatic syncing of browser with users' Chrome bookmarks
  • Data Usage section in settings that lets users set warnings when they approach a certain usage limit, and disable data use when the limit is exceeded
  • Ability to shut down applications from the recent apps list with a swipe[99]
  • Improved camera application with zero shutter lag, time lapse settings, panorama mode, and the ability to zoom while recording
  • Built-in photo editor
  • New gallery layout, organized by location and person
  • Refreshed "People" application with social network integration, status updates and hi-res images
  • Android Beam, a near-field communication feature allowing the rapid short-range exchange of web bookmarks, contact info, directions, YouTube videos and other data[83]
  • Support for the WebP image format[87]
  • Hardware acceleration of the UI[100]
  • Wi-Fi Direct[101]
  • 1080p video recording for stock Android devices
  • Android VPN Framework (AVF), and TUN (but not TAP) kernel module. Prior to 4.0, VPN software required rooted Android.

Android 4.0 home screen
4.0.1October 21, 2011
  • Fixed minor bugs for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
4.0.2November 28, 2011
  • Fixed minor bugs on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, the US launch of which was later delayed until December 2011.[b]

Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich (API 15)

Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich (API 15)

VersionRelease dateFeaturesImage(s)
4.0.3December 16, 2011[104]
  • Numerous bugfixes and optimizations
  • Improvements to graphics, databases, spell-checking and Bluetooth functionality
  • New APIs for developers, including a social stream API in the Contacts provider
  • Calendar provider enhancements
  • New camera applications enhancing video stabilization and QVGA resolution
  • Accessibility refinements such as improved content access for screen readers[105]

Android 4.0 home screen
4.0.4March 29, 2012[106]
  • Stability improvements
  • Better camera performance
  • Smoother screen rotation
  • Improved phone number recognition[107]

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (API 16)

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (API 16)

Google announced Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) at the Google I/O conference on June 27, 2012. Based on Linux kernel 3.0.31, Jelly Bean was an incremental update with the primary aim of improving the functionality and performance of the user interface. The performance improvement involved "Project Butter", which uses touch anticipation, triple buffering, extended vsync timing and a fixed frame rate of 60 fps to create a fluid and "buttery-smooth" UI.[108] Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was released to the Android Open Source Project on July 9, 2012,[109] and the Nexus 7 tablet, the first device to run Jelly Bean, was released on July 13, 2012.
VersionRelease dateFeaturesImage(s)
4.1July 9, 2012
  • Smoother user interface:
    • Vsync timing across all drawing and animation done by the Android framework, including application rendering, touch events, screen composition and display refresh
    • Triple buffering in the graphics pipeline
    • CPU input boost
    • Synchronizing touch to vsync timing
  • Enhanced accessibility
  • Bi-directional text and other language support
  • User-installable keyboard maps
  • Expandable notifications
  • Ability to turn off notifications on an application-specific basis
  • Shortcuts and widgets can automatically be re-arranged or re-sized to allow new items to fit on home screens
  • Bluetooth data transfer for Android Beam
  • Tablets with smaller screens now use an expanded version of the interface layout and home screen used by phones.[110]
  • Improved camera application
  • Multichannel audio[108]
  • The Fraunhofer FDK AAC codec becomes standard in Android, adding AAC 5.1 channel encoding/decoding
  • USB audio (for external sound DACs)[108]
  • Audio chaining (also known as gapless playback)[108][111][112]
  • Ability for other launchers to add widgets from the application drawer without requiring root access

Android 4.1 home screen
4.1.1July 11, 2012[113]
  • Fixed a bug on the Nexus 7 regarding the inability to change screen orientation in any application
4.1.2October 9, 2012[114]
  • Lock/home screen rotation support[115]
  • One-finger gestures to expand/collapse notifications[116]
  • Bugfixes and performance enhancements

Android 4.2 Jelly Bean (API 17)

Android 4.2 Jelly Bean (API 17)

Google was expected to announce Jelly Bean 4.2 at an event in New York City on October 29, 2012, but the event was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.[117] Instead of rescheduling the live event, Google announced the new version with a press release, under the slogan "A new flavor of Jelly Bean". Jelly Bean 4.2 was based on Linux kernel 3.4.0, and debuted on Google's Nexus 4 and Nexus 10, which were released on November 13, 2012.[118][119]
VersionRelease dateFeatures
4.2November 13, 2012[120]
  • Lock screen improvements, including widget support (removed again in 2014)[83] and the ability to swipe directly to camera[121]
  • Notification power controls ("Quick Settings")
  • "Daydream" screensavers, showing information when idle or docked (later renamed to "screen saver" following the launch of the unrelated Google Daydream VR platform in 2016)[83]
  • Multiple user accounts (tablets only)
  • Rewritten Bluetooth stack, switching from Bluez to Broadcom open source BlueDroid,[122] allowing improved support for multiple displays and wireless display (Miracast)
  • Native right-to-left, always-on VPN and application verification.[123] A new NFC stack was added at the same time.[122]
  • Accessibility improvements: triple-tap to magnify the entire screen, pan and zoom with two fingers. Speech output and Gesture Mode navigation for blind users
  • New clock application with built-in world clock, stop watch and timer
  • All devices now use the same interface layout, previously adapted from phones on 4.1 for smaller tablets (with centered software buttons, the system bar at the top of the screen, and a home screen with a dock and centered application menu), regardless of screen size
  • Increased number of extended notifications and Actionable Notifications for more applications, allowing users to respond to certain notifications within the notification bar and without launching the application directly
  • SELinux
  • Premium SMS confirmation[124]
  • Group Messaging
4.2.1November 27, 2012[125]
  • Fixed a bug in the People application where December was not displayed on the date selector when adding an event to a contact[126]
  • Added Bluetooth gamepads and joysticks as supported HID (Human interface device)
4.2.2February 11, 2013[127]
  • Fixed Bluetooth audio streaming bugs[128]
  • Long-pressing the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth icons in Quick Settings now toggles the on/off state
  • New download notifications, which now shows the percentage and estimated time remaining for active application downloads
  • New sounds for wireless charging and low battery
  • New Gallery application animation allows faster loading
  • USB debug whitelist
  • Bugfixes and performance enhancements

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (API 18)

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (API 18)

Google released Jelly Bean 4.3 under the slogan "An even sweeter Jelly Bean" on July 24, 2013, during an event in San Francisco called "Breakfast with Sundar Pichai". Most Nexus devices received the update within a week, although the second-generation Nexus 7 tablet was the first device to officially ship with it.[129] A minor bugfix update was released on August 22, 2013.[130]
VersionRelease dateFeatures
4.3July 24, 2013[131]
  • Bluetooth low energy support[132]
  • Bluetooth Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) 1.3 support
  • OpenGL ES 3.0 support, allowing for improved game graphics[132]
  • Restricted access mode for new user profiles[132]
  • Filesystem write performance improvement by running fstrim command while device is idle[133]
  • Dial pad auto-complete in the Phone application[132]
  • Volume for incoming calls (ringtone) and notification alerts is no longer adjustable separately
  • Improvements to Photo Sphere[134]
  • Reworked camera UI, previously introduced on Google Play edition phones[135]
  • Addition of "App Ops", a fine-grained application permissions control system (hidden by default)[136]
  • SELinux enabled by default
  • 4K resolution support[137]
  • Numerous security updates, performance enhancements, and bugfixes[138]
  • System-level support for geofencing and Wi-Fi scanning APIs
  • Background Wi-Fi location still runs even when Wi-Fi is turned off
  • Developer logging and analyzing enhancements
  • Added support for five more languages
  • Changed digital rights management (DRM) APIs
  • Right-to-left (RTL) languages now supported[132]
  • Clock in the status bar disappears if clock is selected as lockscreen widget
  • Native emoji support[139]
4.3.1October 3, 2013[140]
  • Bugfixes and small tweaks for the Nexus 7 LTE[141]

Android 4.4 KitKat (API 19)

Android 4.4 KitKat (API 19)

Google announced Android 4.4 KitKat on September 3, 2013. Although initially under the "Key Lime Pie" ("KLP") codename, the name was changed because "very few people actually know the taste of a
Global Android version distribution since December 2009, as of June 2017. As of February 2018, Android Nougat is the most widely used version of Android, running on 28.5% of all Android devices accessing Google Play, while Android Lollipop runs on 24.6% of devices (82.3% on it or newer).

Google’s share of the mobile space is HUGE. Android is now the most used mobile OS on the planet by a considerable margin – over 60% if you’re wondering. A lot of Google’s success with Android is to do with its distribution model and the sheer number of devices it comes inside – all markets, price points, sizes and shapes are covered. Here it’s very much quantity vs. MEGA quantities, as both are quality platforms. 

Android KitKat launched in October 2013 and is still the most dominant “recent” build of Google’s platform with a 39.1% share of the ecosystem, according to Android Developers Dashboard. Jelly Bean is still the most widely used build of Android, however, with a 46% share.

Android Lollipop isn’t even mentioned on the Dashboard, and the reason why is because it accounts for less than 0.1% of the Android Kingdom. What exactly is slowing down Android Lollipop adoption? 

CNET posits the following theory: “Before Google's newest version can actually reach users, the mobile device makers must test and often customise it. Then the OS moves up the chain to the mobile carriers, who must also test as well as certify the OS and plan the deployment before they can actually push out the software to Android phones and tablets. And this process has to be done on a worldwide basis, country by country. Since the process can take so long, Google usually comes out with a brand new mobile OS before the current one has even reached a mass audience. That puts mobile device makers and carriers in a bind.”

Android, for instance, is open-source (in a manner of speaking) and is used by many, the LG, Samsung and HTC’s of the world, to name just a few. Apple’s iOS, on the other hand, is closed source and ONLY used inside products Apple builds. No one else gets a looks in. And for a very long time Apple’s iOS platform, despite having a superior app store and music services, lagged quite a bit behind Android with respect to overall design, features and usability. Apple went someway to fixing this situation with the release of iOS 7, a radical reimaging of what came before, but it wasn’t until the advent of iOS 8 that we really saw the iPhone-maker shift up a couple of gears and give the people what they really wanted. 

Differences aside, iOS and Android represent the two most popular choices of OS on the planet. And here we’re going to take a look at how the latest commercially available build of Android – KitKat (4.4.4) – compares to Apple’s iOS 8. 

iOS 8 vs Android KitKat: A Closer Look At Android 4.4 KitKat

Truth be told, Android 4.4 KitKat was not a massive overhaul to Google’s existing formula – Google has largely already established its visual style and features in previous builds and is now gradually tweaking little details here and there over time. As a result, you could be forgiven for not noticing a difference at first, anywhere between Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.1-4.3 Jelly Bean and the new 4.4 KitKat.

That’s no bad thing though, there’s little reason to change Android’s design which is cohesive, functional and stylish. Google has long embraced clean and minimalist aesthetics thanks to Matias Duarte’s influence from Android Honeycomb.

UX Design

With Android 4.4 KitKat, the main visual change is the further simplification of Android – those heavy black bars at the top and bottom of the screen (the notifications/status bar and the navigation bar for the on-screen controls) are now transparent. The display is no longer ‘framed’ and you can see more of your wallpaper or apps behind.

It’s a small tweak, but the effect is to make the platform look cleaner and more airy. Alongside this, the coloured notification/status symbols in the top bar have been replaced with a clean white, another subtle change meaning these will not compete with wallpapers, apps or app icons for your attention. Likewise Google has modified its font, including the clock, to be thinner and tidier.

There are two things Google has done behind the scenes to ensure this visual change sticks throughout your Android experience.

  • Ability for applications to trigger translucency in the navigation and status bars
  • Ability for applications to use "immersive mode" to keep the navigation and status bars hidden while maintaining user interaction

In terms of UI functionality, Android 4.4 KitKat is the same as its predecessors. You’ve got your Homescreen with the ability to add more to swipe between, an app drawer for all installed apps, and the drop-down notifications bar at the top. Inside the notification bar there’s a Quick Settings menu and quick access to the full Settings menu, making it fast and easy to get to all the phone’s major functions. These functions, as well as notifications themselves, are also all accessible in the lockscreen, which is handy.

At the bottom there’s the trio of ever-present navigation controls – Back, Home and Multitasking. Home also functions as a way of accessing the Google Now interface via a long press, while the Multitasking key means you can always intuitively access a carousel of currently open apps, switch between them, or swipe away to close.

Apps & Cloud Services

Android also comes with Google’s suite of applications built-in, which gives you Gmail, Google+, the Chrome browser, Google Maps, Google Play, Play Music, Play Moves & TV, Play Books, Play Newsstand, Play Games, Google Drive (aka Drive), Hangouts (formerly GChat), YouTube and Photos. All of which link up through your Google account, together with your contacts if you wish, and all this can be linked via “the cloud”. You can, for example, access your Google documents, Gmail or Contacts list via a PC, tablet or smartphone.

That’s pretty much the size of how Android’s basic design and functionality looks and works, and the fact that it’s a fairly short description should say something about how usable and straightforward Google’s platform actually is.

Other Stuff

But there are other key changes in Android 4.4 KitKat worth mentioning. Notably, the platform has been re-engineered with lower spec devices in mind – it’s been optimised for phones and tablets with as little as 512MB of RAM. That doesn’t mean a great deal for the end user in and of itself, but it does mean manufacturers can stick the most recent Android build on even their budget devices. Whether they actually do this or not is of course a different issue entirely.

Built-in wireless printing is another bit of useful functionality Google added to KitKat, meaning you can link your Android device directly to a printer with wireless connectivity capability, and print documents straight from your phone.  Android also features multiple user settings allowing you to create different user profiles with their own apps and settings – for example, a family tablet can have profiles for every family member.

For those who want it, you can now also set your default text messaging application and launcher from the Settings menu, giving a bit more flexibility and customisation.

Make It Your Own

Flexibility and customisation is, of course, at Android’s core and it’s something it has in abundance compared to Apple’s relatively rigid design. I could spend thousands of words explaining all the multitude of ways you can change your Android experience with complete custom interface overhauls and miraculous plug-ins or apps that add masses of new functionality. But I won’t - suffice to say, if you have the wherewithal you can make Android whatever you want it to be.

You can do the same with iOS, in fact, but it needs to be Jailbroken first, which means going out-of-bounds as far as Apple is concerned. With Google, modifying the experience is very much part of the idea.

iOS 8 vs Android KitKat: Now For A Look At iOS 8

While Google’s incremental design tweaks have gradually moulded Android into the impressive specimen it is today, Apple had previously let its platform get a bit dated, both visually and in terms of functionally, prior to iOS 7. iOS 7 saw a complete and dramatic design overhaul, however, moving from the previous skeumorphic approach to a flatter, cleaner and more modern implementation. iOS 8 doesn’t look set to change that visual style, although it does build on the major functionality additions Apple made in iOS 7.

UX

I’ll come back to functionality in a bit, but first I want to address the visual re-design, and that means pretty much going on a bit of a tangent about what iOS 7 did, because it’s the same for iOS 8.

On the subject of design changes between iOS 6 and iOS 7/8, there’s apparently a phrase from touristy parts of Southeast Asia a better-travelled friend recently told me about, that goes “Same, same, but different”, which seems rather appropriate here. The overall look and “message” of the iOS icons, whether it’s a clock, calendar, dialler or iTunes, has largely remained the same but with the excess sheen taken off. It’s as if older versions were still wrapped in cellophane and Jony Ive came along, took it off, and went “ta da!”

There’s more to it than that of course, and I don’t wish to sound like I don’t like it, because it is a change for the better, I reckon. Just like Android, the clunky menu elements are gone in favour of non-intrusive transparent or translucent iterations, complete with thinner fonts. The lack of skeumorphic components in icons, apps and menu components makes a massive difference as well – Jony Ive astutely realised that, in 2014, no-one wants their smartphone’s calendar app to look like  Roger Rabbit’s cartoon leather-bound organiser, and instead opted for a clean, minimalist approach which gets the job done elegantly – something that’s continued throughout the software.

Apple mimicked Android’s drop-down notifications panel, even calling it the Notification Centre, and it’s accessible from any screen, including the lockscreen, with a downwards swipe. iOS’s take on quick settings access was a little different with Control Centre, accessible with an upward swipe from the bottom of the display, again this includes access from the lockscreen. It’s a translucent panel with controls for rotation, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Airplane mode, a brightness slider, flashlight, timer, calculator, camera, AirDrop and AirPlay, as well as a music control panel.

Then there’s the multitasking, again, similar to Android (and indeed the much earlier Palm OS), but well-executed and useful nonetheless. A double tap of the Home key brings up a carousel and you can swipe to scroll through open apps, tap to fullscreen them or swipe up to dismiss. Latest contacts are now included in the carousel, too, for even faster access to your favourite people. 

New For iOS 8: iCloud Drive, Widgets & More

So that’s the iOS 7 stuff which is still relevant on iOS 8. What about iOS 8’s changes then?

Firstly, the Notification Centre has some extra features – you can now interact with certain notifications, including liking Facebook posts and replying to messages. The multitasking menu has also been modified and now has quick access to recent and favourite contacts.

Apple has revamped iCloud to compete with Google Drive and other rivals such as DropBox, it’s now called iCloud Drive and functions similarly to DropBox as a kind of remote hard drive – you can customise file structure as you wish to keep things nice and organised your way. The compatibility and access has also been expanded, so now all files and documents can be accessed by any app on Mac, iOS or a Windows PC. Edited documents are also synchronised so any changes you make can be seen on any device immediately.

We also finally have third-party widgets on iOS 8. Yes, widgets may have been a long-standing feature on Android, but now Apple is getting in on the action too. Unlike Android, however, the widgets appear in the Notification Centre.

iOS may have already had Siri, but it now also has a modfied version of Spotlight too. Simply enter a search term and it’ll look for relevant information from installed apps, content in iTunes, emails, messages and the web. It's all presented in a neat list and offers quick access.

iMessage has some extra group messaging features – you can set a conversation to have an expiration date or to continue indefinitely, rename the thread, add and remove contacts on the fly, and record and send video and audio clips. You can also set up a family sharing group and share content between up to six people.

Lastly, much like the widgets, Apple has added some long overdue support for third-party keyboards - just like Android has done for some time. So, it shouldn't be long before popular keyboards such as Swype start appearing on the App Store.

Apple Confirms ALL-NEW Music App Inside iOS 8.4 Beta

  • All-New Design. Music app has a beautiful new design that makes exploring your music collection easier and more fun. Personalize playlists by adding your own image and description. Enjoy stunning pictures of your favorite artists in the Artists view. Start playing an album right from the album list. The music you love is never more than a tap away.
  • Recently Added. Albums and playlists you’ve recently added are now at the top of your library, making it effortless to find something new to play. Simply tap play on the artwork to listen.
  • Streamlined iTunes Radio. Discovering music with iTunes Radio is easier than ever. You can now quickly return to your favorite stations in Recently Played. Choose from a selection of hand-curated stations in Featured Stations, or start a new one from your favorite artist or song.
  • New MiniPlayer. With the new MiniPlayer, you can see what’s playing and control playback while browsing your music collection. To open Now Playing, just tap on the MiniPlayer.
  • Improved Now Playing. Now Playing has a stunning new design that showcases your album artwork the way it was meant to be. In addition, you can begin wirelessly streaming your music using AirPlay without leaving Now Playing.
  • Up Next. It’s now simple to find out which songs from your library will play next — just tap the Up Next icon in Now Playing. You can even reorder, add, or skip songs whenever you like.
  • Global Search. You can now search from anywhere in the Music app — just tap the magnifying glass. Search results are conveniently organized to help you quickly find that perfect song. You can even start an iTunes Radio station right from Search.

Cross-Platform Stuff

Some of Apple’s big reveals at WWDC were related to iOS, but not specifically just about the mobile platform. The extension of iCloud for cross-platform synchronisation is one thing, but Apple also showed how OSX “Yosemite” will work together with iOS devices – you will, for example, be able to answer and make calls on your phone through a Mac, as the computer will pick up the phone when it’s in range and synchronise automatically. This extends across a range of functionality, including messaging, email, documents – you name it.

Stuff With Potential

Apple usually reveals something which isn’t instantly gratifying but has a longer-term payoff in mind. With iOS there are a few things which fit into this category.

First up, is the expansion of TouchID, which has now been opened up to app developers. As we’ve discussed elsewhere on the site before, this potentially has huge ramifications. With work from developers, new apps can implement fingerprint scan security, but also the ability to make purchases using your fingerprint as you already can on iTunes.

Another thing is what Apple calls “Extensibility” which means apps can be created to share information, features and functions between each other. Apple gave a demo example of a third-party photo app making use of Apple’s native Photo app’s filters.

Then there’s Healthkit. Considering this was something hotly rumoured, Apple didn’t spend a great deal of time talking about it at WWDC. All we know is that it can be used by third-party health apps, can collect health metrics and then send them to a healthcare professional. Apple said it has been working with healthcare organisations in the US, but the ramifications for the rest of the world are not entirely clear just yet. Still, the idea that your iPhone could send your doctor health reports is not a bad one.

The Takeaway

On paper Apple has introduced a bucket-load more features with iOS 8 than Google has for Android KitKat. It does depend on how you look at it, however. A good chunk of the features added in iOS7/iOS 8 were essentially Apple bringing iOS in-line with existing features on Android; things like the cloud features, messaging features, custom keyboards, widgets, quick settings, notifications menu, and multitasking.

There is A LOT of other new stuff which Android doesn’t have though and a lot of it adds real value to the software experience. That said, it seems plenty of the functionality Apple is adding built-into iOS 8 is available for Android through third party apps. Apple is expanding what developers can do with apps, with things like widgets and “Extensibility” between them, but Android still leads the way when it comes to customisation and a tailor-made experience. Assuming you can be bothered with all the faffing, that is.

It’s easy to fall into a tit-for-tat battle over features. Android’s built-in printer support is nice to have, but then again iOS 8’s ability to respond to messages from the notification lockscreen is also ace. This is a slippery slope, however, and it goes on and on.

Both platforms are now tremendously polished, with a very modern look and feel, and plenty of clever, easy-to-use onboard features, as well as massive app and content repositories to plunder. It does come down to, as it has done for some time, how much you value customisation, and whether you fancy investing in Apple’s content ecosystem or Google’s. What is obvious is that Apple is laying the groundwork for a lot of interesting stuff – that isn’t apparent with Google, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening behind closed doors, we just don’t know about it yet.

As a final note I’ll say this (as an Android fan, no less), there will inevitably be those who see some of Apple’s features as copying Android or other services such as DropBox. I can certainly see where that comes from, but at the same time many of these things have been done before anyway. For example, the multitasking carousel Apple apparently pilfered from Android pre-dates Google’s platform on the Palm OS. All’s fair in love, war, and software development, it seems.

I’ll agree Apple’s way of announcing things as if they’re brand new is somewhat irksome. You have to admit, however, that even though Apple may be introducing existing features the flawless execution is impressive nonetheless.

Turning up late to the party matters little when you arrive in a limousine full of Champagne and supermodels.

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