Since its debut in 2008, Android has evolved so quickly that it’s easy to lose track of all the updates and milestones it reached with each new version. Heck, there are hundreds of updates, however minor, that are now so ingrained into our Android user experience that one might forget they once didn’t exist. The platform has released 39 version updates to the public, chock-full of countless feature additions, improvements and fixes. To capture the major milestones, we’ve created a visual timeline of Android’s version history. See the infographic below:
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Even more remarkable than the volume of feature updates is the number of times Android beat iOS to the punch. If you check out our iOS version history infographic, you can compare the differences in the progression of both platforms side by side.
Here are some ways in which Android innovated faster than iOS:
- Android introduced MMS with its first version release in 2008, while iOS waited until its 3.0 release in 2009
- Custom widgets for the home screen arrived in 2009; widgets for iOS are nonexistent
- Eclair (2.0) introduced multiple accounts, a feature which iOS has not yet added to the dismay of many iOS fans
- Turn-by-turn voice navigation for Google Maps also arrived with 2.0, again beating iOS to the punch by about 3 years
- Near Field Communication (NFC) became integrated into the freshly baked Gingerbread (2.3) in 2010 – another sought-after feature that iOS has failed to yet deliver
Despite these feats, Apple maintains dominance in App Store revenue, which is 300 percent greater than Google Play’s. Yet, Android is predicted to outdo Apple in smartphone app downloads this year. The perpetual debate over Android vs. Apple almost always goes unresolved – each has its list of strengths and weaknesses, and measurements of success like market share and app downloads always fluctuate. But both enjoy the brightest spotlight in the mobile OS ecosystem and have indisputably made giant strides in less than 6 years.
What are your thoughts on iOS vs. Android? What do you hope to see with the next version of Android (rumored to be Key Lime Pie)? Let us know in the comments.