The (updated) history of Android

Enlarge / Android’s home screen over the years, from all sorts of different form factors.
It’s been more than two years since we originally ran Ron’s epic 40,000-word history of the Android operating system, and in that time Android has continued to evolve and add version numbers. Ron has updated the piece with almost 11,000 additional words, bringing the history up to date with info on Kit-Kat, Lollipop, Marshmallow, Nougat, and Android Wear. If you’d like to jump directly to the new section, click right here (or, if you’re a subscriber in single-page view, use this link instead).

Android has been with us in one form or another for more than eight years. During that time, we’ve seen an absolutely breathtaking rate of change unlike any other development cycle that has ever existed. When it came time for Google to dive in to the smartphone wars, the company took its rapid-iteration, Web-style update cycle and applied it to an operating system, and the result has been an onslaught of continual improvement. Lately, Android has even been running on a previously unheard of six-month development cycle, and that’s slower than it used to be. For the first year of Android’s commercial existence, Google was putting out a new version every two-and-a-half months.

Google’s original introduction of Android, from way back in November 2007.

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