Android 2.1 SDK was released in January 2010 and was part of the Éclair release but Android 2.2 (Froyo) SDK which was released in May 2010 was a major update which boasted of improved speed, memory, and optimized performance. The 2.2 version supported Android Cloud, Device Messaging and also featured improved Microsoft Exchange support, application launcher with shortcuts, USB tethering and Wi-Fi functionality.
Android 2.3 or Gingerbread was launched on 6 December 2010 and was based on Linux kernel. There were ample changes made to the whole UI and there were many ac market features which were introduced for the first time ever!
Some of the features that Android 2.3 had were:
Updated user interface and design featuring better speed
Enhanced support for extra-large screen sizes along with display resolutions
Support for SIP VoIP
Faster intuitive text input and voice input mode
Better copy/paste functionality
Enhanced support for Near Field Communication (NFC)
Superb audio effects support including reverb, equalization and bass boost
Better download manager
Support for multiple cameras (dual cameras).
The Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) SDK which was the only Android update for tablets was released in February 2011. The update was based on Linux 2.6.36 and first featured in Motorola Xoom tablet which was launched on the 24th of February. The main enhancements included:
Optimized tablet support with holographic UI
System Bar for quick access to notifications at the bottom of the screen
Action bar featuring contextual options, widgets etc at the top
Multitasking support to quickly jump from one app to another
Redesigned virtual keyboard
Simplified copy/paste interface
Multiple browser tabs with auto-fill feature and anonymous browsing
Quick access to camera exposure, focus, flash, and other camera functions.
The 3.1 Android SDK was released in May 2011 which included few UI changes and support for connectivity in USB accessories. The 3.2 SDK on the other hand which was released on 15 July this year, was supported by Huawei’s MediaPad tablet and boasted of improved hardware support and better ability of apps for synchronization with SD card.
Android 4.0, the latest entrant dubbed as Ice Cream Sandwich was officially launched at the Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich release event held in October 2011. The new version features fantastic speed and performance along with virtual buttons in the UI. There are separate widgets and easier-to-create folders along with a customizable launcher. The version also features great visual voicemail and an innovative pinch-to-zoom functionality in the calendar to have a quick look at specific events.