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Android: What is this operating system?

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Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Android? If you have a phone you probably use it (UNLESS you have an iPhone of course, which is the biggest competitor).

Android is the operating system mainly on smartphones and tablets, a program that is loaded into memory and controls the hardware. The operating system gives you access to your camera or Whatsapp, for example. It was developed by Google and has become one of the most popular operating systems in the world.

Let's look at everything that makes this operating system unique.

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What is Android?

The operating system that runs your phone

Android is the operating system that you will mainly find on smartphones and tablets. But what exactly is an operating system? It is a program that is loaded into the memory after starting up your phone and controls the hardware. The operating system gives you access to your camera or Whatsapp, for example. Without an operating system, your phone wouldn't work.

No Android, no access to your apps

Android is the gateway to all the apps you need to use your phone. Without Android you wouldn't have access to your favorite apps like Whatsapp, Instagram or YouTube. The operating system will keep your phone running and give you access to all the apps you need.

Android phones: the best choice

If you are looking for a new phone, an Android phone is the best choice. Android phones have a great selection of apps, an intuitive operating system and a user-friendly interface. Moreover, there are many different Android phones on the market, so there is always a phone that suits you.

The Genesis of Android

The beginning

It all started with Android Inc., a company that was acquired by Google in 2005. Google brought the company into the Open Handset Alliance (OHA). The intention was to create an operating system for cameras with cloud capabilities.

The launch

Android was released on November 5, 2007, also announcing the formation of the OHA. The OHA consisted of 34 companies focused on open standards for mobile devices. The platform was open source and available under the Apache license.

The Manufacturers

The first manufacturers to use Android were Motorola, HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson, and Acer. Before launch it was known as the gPhone.

The end

And so, with a few clicks and a few winks, Android was born! Today it is used for smartphones and tablets. And the rest is history!

Android Applications: What you need to know

How it started

It all started with a Software Development Kit (SDK) from Google, with which everyone could contribute to the Android platform. In 2008, Google organized the Android Developer Challenges, where prize money was available for the best application. And yes, the Dutchman Eric Wijngaard won the first prize with his program PicSay, with which you could edit photos on your Android device.

The Google Play Store

The Google Play Store (formerly Android Market) is the place where you as an end user can download or buy games, applications, films and books. The options differ per country, but Belgium and the Netherlands now have access to Google Play Books. Developers can use the Play Store to distribute their software, both free and paid. However, in the US, some telecom providers have blocked Wi-Fi tether apps because they fear customers are going on other users' Wi-Fi hotspots.

The difference with Apple

The big difference between Android and Apple is that developers are allowed to offer their applications outside the Play Store. This makes Android more user-friendly than its competitors, but it also makes it easier for Android devices to contract viruses.

An overview of Android versions

From Android 1.5 to Android 10

From the very first version of Android, Android 1.5, to the latest version, Android 10, each new version has been given a name that refers to a dessert or candy. But with the arrival of Android 10, Google has decided to change the name of each new version to their version number. This is to avoid confusion about which version is the most recent.

Android 13 (beta) and Android 12

The latest version of Android is Android 10, but a beta version of Android 13 has already been released. Android 12 is also in development.

An overview of all versions

Below you will find an overview of all versions of Android with their code name, release date and end of support:

  • Android 13 (beta): Not yet released
  • Android 12: Still in development
  • Android 11: Red Velvet Cake, September 8, 2020
  • Android 10: Queen Cake, September 3, 2019
  • Android 9: Still supported until January 1, 2021
  • Android 8.1: Nougat, December 5, 2017
  • Android 8: Still supported until January 1, 2021
  • Android 7.1: Marshmallow, Nov 4, 2014
  • Android 7: Still supported until May 5, 2015
  • Android 6: Jelly Bean, November 13, 2012
  • Android 5.1: Lollipop, April 17, 2013
  • Android 5: Still supported until November 4, 2014
  • Android 4.4: KitKat, December 19, 2011
  • Android 4.3: Still supported until April 17, 2013
  • Android 4.2: Jelly Bean, November 13, 2012
  • Android 4.1: Ice Cream Sandwich, December 16, 2011
  • Android 4.0.4: Still supported until November 14, 2011
  • Android 4: Honeycomb, December 13, 2011
  • Android 3.2: Gingerbread, May 7, 2011
  • Android 3.1: Still supported until May 7, 2011
  • Android 3: Froyo, September 29, 2011
  • Android 2.3: Still supported until December 17, 2010
  • Android 2.2: Eclair, January 28, 2010
  • Android 2.1: Still supported until May 3, 2010
  • Android 2.0.1: Still supported until November 26, 2009
  • Android 2: Donut, September 15, 2009
  • Android 1.6: Still supported until November 23, 2009
  • Android 1.5: Cupcake, April 17, 2009
  • Android 1.1: Petit Four, December 9, 2008
  • Android 1: Still supported until November 4, 2008

Changes in Android versions

Android 12

Android 12 brings a number of changes, including:

  • Customize widget size and shape
  • Lock screen
  • Quick settings

Android 11

Android 11 has a number of improvements, including:

  • chat bubbles
  • One-time permission
  • Wifi automatically over 5 GHz

Android 10

Android 10 has a number of improvements, including:

  • Navigate by gestures
  • HDR support (HDR10, VP9 and HDR10+)
  • Support for foldable smartphones
  • More multitasking possibilities with “Bubbles”
  • Focus mode
  • Built-in dark mode
  • Renewed sharing menu
  • More privacy options (including a new privacy section in settings)
  • Security updates are rolled out through Google Play

Android 9.0 Pie

Android 9.0 Pie has a number of improvements, including:

  • Improved notifications
  • Completely new gesture controls
  • More privacy by restricting background apps
  • Support for multiple camera sensors
  • Suitable for screens with a notch
  • Settings screen is more colorful
  • Quick settings panel is simplified and works faster
  • Indoor navigation has been significantly improved
  • Android Pie is more energy efficient and offers better battery life
  • Adaptive Battery and Adaptive Brightness

Android 8.0 / 8.1 Oreo

Android 8.0/8.1 Oreo has a number of improvements, including:

  • Filter notifications more easily with notification channels
  • Notification dots show a dot for apps with new notifications
  • Limit your battery consumption further with background limits on standby
  • Google Play Protect prevents malware and rogue apps from causing damage
  • Android Oreo makes starting a smartphone twice as fast
  • Picture-in-picture mode for Google Maps and videos from YouTube and Netflix
  • Better performance with Chromebooks
  • Remember usernames and passwords with Autofill
  • Smarter selection, copy and search and auto-completion
  • Improvements in WebView and Java make apps launch faster and run smoother
  • Android Go: special software for less powerful smartphones

Android 7.0 Nougat

Android 7.0 Nougat has a number of improvements, including:

  • Update of Doze feature from Android 6.0
  • Notification screen has been expanded; handle individual messages
  • Quick settings
  • Data saver function
  • Multiview (split screen)
  • Update system as in Chrome OS with two partitions

Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Android 6.0 Marshmallow has a number of improvements, including:

  • Faster search thanks to Google Now on Tap
  • Longer battery life through Doze
  • Permissions in the app itself instead of Play Store
  • Fingerprint scanner support
  • Support for USB-C

Android 5.0 / 5.1 Lollipop

Android 5.0/5.1 Lollipop has a number of improvements, including:

  • Replacing Dalvik with Android Runtime (ART)
  • Longer battery life through Google's Project Volta
  • Completely new appearance called material design
  • Built-in ability to encrypt the device

4.4 Android KitKat

Android 4.4 KitKat has a number of improvements, including:

  • Better integration with Google Now
  • Android now only needs 512 MB of RAM, better suited for low-end devices
  • The phone app has been thoroughly updated in functionality
  • The blue accent color has been replaced by white
  • The home bar and notification bar are now transparent, making the screen look larger
  • Cloud printing capabilities
  • The SD card is no longer writable for applications installed afterwards, apps can still be installed on it. This must be activated via settings

4.3 Android Jelly Bean

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean has a number of improvements, including:

  • New notification icons. Apps have the option of displaying a notification icon in the notification bar by default, even if they are not actively used.
  • The phone app


Android is not JUST an operating system, it has become the most popular system among smartphones and tablets and with good reason.

I hope that this guide has given you a clear picture of the origins and operation of the system.

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.