On November 5, 2007, the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of several companies which include Broadcom Corporation, Google, HTC, Intel, LG, Marvell Technology Group, Motorola, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile and Texas Instruments unveiled itself. The goal of the Open Handset Alliance is to develop open standards for mobile devices. On the same day, the Open Handset Alliance also unveiled their first product, Android, a mobile device platform built on the Linux kernel version 2.6.
On December 9, 2008, 14 new members joined, including ARM Holdings, Atheros Communications, Asustek Computer Inc, Garmin Ltd, Huawei Technologies, PacketVideo, Softbank, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba Corp, and Vodafone Group Plc
Version historyAndroid has seen a number of updates since its original release. These updates to the base operating system typically fix bugs and add new features. Generally, each new version of the Android operating system is developed under a code name based on a dessert item. Past updates included Cupcake and Donut. The code names are in alphabetical order (Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich). Below is a list of the most recent versions, and what they include:
- 2.0 (Eclair) included a new web browser, with a new user interface and support for HTML5 and the W3C Geolocation API. It also included an enhanced camera app with features like digital zoom, flash, color effects, and more.
- 2.1 (Eclair) included support for voice controls throughout the entire OS. It also included a new launcher, with 5 homescreens instead of 3, animated backgrounds, and a button to open the menu (instead of a slider). It also included a new weather app, and improved functionality in the Email and Phonebook apps.
- 2.3 (Gingerbread) refined the user interface, improved the soft keyboard and copy/paste features, and added support for Near Field Communication
- 3.0 (Honeycomb) was a tablet-oriented release which supports larger screen devices and introduces many new user interface features, and supports multicore processors and hardware acceleration for graphics. The Honeycomb SDK has been released and the first device featuring this version, the Motorola Xoom tablet, went on sale in February 2011.
- 3.1 (Honeycomb) was announced at the 2011 Google I/O on 10 May 2011. - To allow honeycomb devices to directly transfer content from USB devices
- 3.2 (Honeycomb) is "an incremental release that adds several new capabilities for users and developers". Highlights include optimization for a broader range of screen sizes; new "zoom-to-fill" screen compatibility mode; capability to load media files directly from the SD card; and an extended screen support API, providing developers with more precise control over the UI.
4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is said to be a combination of Gingerbread and Honeycomb into a "cohesive whole". It will be released in October or November 2011.