The ‘Tasty’ Code Names Of Android OS Versions: What You Need To Know

By | March 14, 2014
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The name of which dessert will be chosen as the code name of Android 5.0? As debates and discussions on this topic heats up among techies, we take a look back at the previous versions of the Android mobile OS. All of them, of course, had ‘tasty’ code names!

Eclair, Ice Cream Sandwich, Gingerbread, Cupcake…no, we are not talking about a big upcoming dessert party! All of these are the names of the different Android OS versions – which have invariably been named after a ‘tasty treat’ by Google. While the reason behind this naming strategy is not known, it can easily be seen that they follow an alphabetical chronology. With phone software experts, analysts and mobile app developers already starting to guess what the name of the Android 5.0 platform would be, a sneak peek at the timeline of the earlier Android versions would be in order:

  1. Launch of the Google Phone – Google presented the first Android-powered smartphone in the second half of 2007. The first OS version of the platform was simply called Android 1.0, and did not have any code name.

  2. What is the Petit Four? – Even many experienced developers of Android apps are not aware of the Petit Four. This was the name internally given to Android 1.1. It was a small-scale upgrade over version 1.0 – and general public, understandably, did not get a chance to get familiar with the Petit Four name.

  3. The number convention – The manner in which the succeeding Android versions are numbered is pretty simple. Every major release (complete with new developer APIs) are assigned a whole number. Minor bug-fixes and upgrades are released as decimal points. Most of these minor upgrades do not have code names.

  4. The first popular Android code name – ‘Cupcake’ was the name of Android 1.5, which was officially released in April 2009. Initially, the in-house Google personnel toyed with the idea of calling it Android 1.2 – but they later went ahead with 1.5 and the first-ever ‘tasty treat’ code name. After all, this was a major upgrade!

  5. Getting rid of the rebooting bugs – Android Cupcake was revolutionary enough, but the reviews from mobile app development companies and software developers were not uniformly positive. The main bone of contention was the rebooting error in the operating system. To do away the problem, Google released Android 1.6 (based on API 4) – which also had superior imaging and video capabilities. This version was named ‘Donut’.

  6. Android code-names have a broad similarity with those of Apple OS platforms – Google loves dessert names, just like Apple has a fondness for the names of the various species of wild cats. The Mac OS X Lion was preceded by version codenames like Leopard, Panther, Cheetah and Puma. According to both Android and Apple experts, such distinctive names add to the brand personality of their OS software.

  7. Arrival of the Eclair – In October 2009 (not much of an interval between the releases at all), the Android 2.0 SDK hit the markets. It was named ‘Eclair’, and boasted of excellent multi-touch options and Bluetooth 2.1 support. The camera zooming features were also taken up by a few notches. A small bug-fix upgrade, Android 2.0.1, came along two months later. Keeping with the naming convention, it did not have a separate codename.

  8. Android API 7 was not separately named either – Instead, it was released as Android 2.1X. Certain mobile app developers and technicians refer to this update as Eclair MR1 as well. This 2010 release was mostly a corrective one, for fixing the bugs on API 6.

  9. Did Android violate the norm of dessert names with version 2.2? – ‘Froyo’, at first, might not seem to be the name of a dessert. A closer study would make one release that Google had simply chosen a shorter, catchier form of ‘frozen yogurt’ as the codename for this OS version. Google Chrome and Flash compatibility, and just-in-time (JIT) compilation were among the high points of Android Froyo.

  10. And then, there was Gingerbread – Not only as the code name of the Android 2.3, released at the end of 2010. A tall Gingerbread man was built at the time, on the Mountain View headquarters of Google as well (the height being almost 15 feet!). In fact, the California campus has interesting statues of all the desserts that have been used as Android OS codenames.

  11. Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich – Android Gingerbread ended its run with version 2.3.7 (API 10), and it was succeeded by the Honeycomb OS. The latter covered 3 API levels (11-13), and was the name for Android versions 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3. The code name ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ debuted with Android 4.0.1, in October 2011. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus was one of the first phones to implement this OS platform. The technical specs of Ice Cream Sandwich were appreciated by experts from Android app development companies from all over. API 14 and API 15 (Android 4.0.3 and 4.0.4) shared the same codename.

  12. Nexus 7 came with with Android Jellybean – Android 4.1 was easily the Google mobile OS with the best user-interface (UI). Internally referred to as ‘Project Butter’, Jellybean was released in mid-2012, and went to on to cover API levels 16, 17 and 18. The last of them, Android 4.3, came with the punchline – ‘an even sweeter Jellybean’. Users, on the most part, agreed!

  13. Kitkat is the latest – We have already reached the letter ‘K’ in the English alphabet, and Google chose the name ‘Kitkat’ for the Android 4.4 platform. It has API level 19, and offers compatibility with a much larger range of devices (including low-RAM ones) than Jellybean. There was some conjecture that Kitkat would be the name of Android 5.0 – but the plan was finally shelved.

 

The date when Google indeed announces the next major version of the Android OS cannot be too far now. General researchers and techies from mobile app companies feel that ‘Lemon Meringue Pie’ or ‘Lollipop’ would be the codename of Android 5.0. Google might face a problem once it reaches the letter ‘Z’ – but for now, it’s fun trying to guess the name of every succeeding Android version!

 

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
Hussain Fakhruddin
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