Android Version Changes

Android 4.4 KitKat

  • Print Wherever, Whenever. Now you can print photos, documents, and web pages from your phone or tablet.
  • Closed captioning Android now supports closed captioning and subtitles.
  • Device management built-in, If you ever lose your device, you can find or wipe it with the Android Device Manager
  • Infrared blasting on devices with an infrared (IR) blaster, Android now supports applications for remote control of TVs and other nearby devices.
  • Optimizations for performance on devices with lower specifications, Low RAM device API.
  • NFC Host Card Emulation for emulating smart cards.
  • Refreshed interface with translucent status and nav bars on home screen & white status bar icons.
  • Expanded functionality for Notification listener services.
  • Public API for developing and managing text messaging clients, ability to specify a default SMS app.
  • New framework for UI transitions.
  • Storage access framework for retrieving content and documents from other sources.
  • Sensor batching, Step Detector and Counter APIs.
  • “Immersive” full screen mode, software buttons and status bar accessed with an edge swipe gesture.
  • Audio tunneling, audio monitoring, loudness enhancer.
  • Built-in screen recording.
  • Native infrared blaster API


Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

  • Virtual surround sound – enjoy movies from Google Play with surround sound on Nexus 7 (2013 edition) and other Nexus devices.
  • Auto complete – just start touching numbers or letters and the dial pad will suggest phone numbers or names. To turn on this feature, open your phone app settings and enable “Dial pad auto complete.”
    OpenGL ES 3.0 – Android now supports the latest version of the industry standard for high performance graphics.
  • Wireless Display for Nexus 7 (2013 edition) and Nexus 10 – project from your tablet to a TV.
    Additional language support – Android is now translated in Afrikaans, Amharic (አማርኛ), Hindi (हिंदी), Swahili (Kiswahili), and Zulu (IsiZulu).
  • Hebrew, Arabic, and other RTL (right-to-left) – now supported in the home screen, settings, and Phone, People, and Keep apps.
  • Easier text input – an improved algorithm for tap-typing recognition makes text input easier.
  • Lower latency input for game pad buttons and joysticks.
  • Location detection through WIFI – use WiFi to detect location without turning on WiFi all the time.
  • Bluetooth Smart support (a.k.a. Bluetooth Low-Energy) – devices like Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 (2013 edition) are now Bluetooth Smart Ready.
  • Bluetooth AVRCP 1.3 support – display song names on a car stereo.
  • Disabled apps tab – check which apps are disabled in Settings > Apps.
  • Restricted profiles – put your tablet into a mode with limited access to apps and content.
  • Setup wizard simplification – getting started on Android is easier thanks to the ability to correct previous input, and because of streamlined user agreements.
  • Faster user switching – switching users from the lock screen is now faster.
  • Enhanced photo daydream – navigate through interesting albums.

Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

  • Lock/home screen rotation support for the Nexus 7
  • One-finger gestures to expand/collapse notifications
  • Bug fixes and performance enhancements
  • Photo Sphere panorama photos
  • Keyboard with gesture typing
  • Lock screen improvements, including widget support and the ability to swipe directly to camera
  • Notification power controls
  • “Daydream” screensaver, shows information when idle or docked
  • Multiple user accounts (tablets only)
  • Support for wireless display (Miracast)
  • Accessibility improvements: triple-tap to magnify the entire screen, pan and zoom with two fingers. Speech output and Gesture Mode navigation for blind users.
  • New clock app with built-in world clock, stop watch and timer

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

  • Smoother playback of video and animations by:
  • Vsync timing across all drawing and animation done by the Android framework, including application rendering, touch events, screen composition and display refresh
  • Triple buffering in the graphics pipeline
  • Enhanced accessibility
  • Bi-directional text and other language support
  • User-installable keyboard maps
  • Expandable notifications
  • Ability to turn off notifications on an app specific basis
  • Shortcuts and widgets can automatically be re-arranged or re-sized to allow new items to fit on home screens
  • Bluetooth data transfer for Android Beam
  • Offline voice dictation
  • New interface layout for tablets with smaller screens (closer resembling that of a phone)
  • Improved voice search
  • Improved camera app
  • Google Wallet (for the Nexus 7)
  • High resolution Google+ contact photos[citation needed]
  • Google Now
  • Multichannel audio
  • USB audio (for external sound DACs)
  • Audio chaining (also known as gapless playback)

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

  • Virtual buttons in the UI, in place of capacitive or physical buttons
  • Separation of widgets in a new tab, listed in a similar manner to apps
  • Easier-to-create folders, with a drag-and-drop style
  • A customizable launcher
  • Improved visual voicemail with the ability to speed up or slow down voicemail messages
  • Pinch-to-zoom functionality in the calendar
  • Integrated screenshot capture (accomplished by holding down the Power and Volume-Down buttons)
  • Improved error correction on the keyboard
  • Ability to access apps directly from lock screen
  • Improved copy and paste functionality
  • Better voice integration and continuous, real-time speech to text dictation
  • Face Unlock, a feature that allows users to unlock handsets using facial recognition software
  • New tabbed web browser, allowing up to 16 tabs
  • Automatic syncing of browser with users’ Chrome bookmarks
  • A new typeface family for the UI, Roboto
  • Data Usage section in settings that lets users set warnings when they approach a certain usage limit, and disable data use when the limit is exceeded
  • Ability to shut down apps that are using data in the background
  • Improved camera app with zero shutter lag, time lapse settings, panorama mode, and the ability to zoom while recording
  • Built-in photo editor
  • New gallery layout, organized by location and person
  • Refreshed “People” app with social network integration, status updates and hi-res images
  • Android Beam, a near-field communication feature allowing the rapid short-range exchange of web bookmarks, contact info, directions, YouTube videos and other data
  • Support for the WebP image format
  • Hardware acceleration of the UI
  • Wi-Fi Direct
  • 1080p video recording for stock Android devices

Android 3.0 Honeycomb

  • Optimized tablet support with a new virtual and “holographic” user interface
  • Added System Bar, featuring quick access to notifications, status, and soft navigation buttons, available at the bottom of the screen
  • Added Action Bar, giving access to contextual options, navigation, widgets, or other types of content at the top of the screen
  • Simplified multitasking – tapping Recent Apps in the System Bar allows users to see snapshots of the tasks underway and quickly jump from one app to another
  • Redesigned keyboard, making typing fast, efficient and accurate on larger screen sizes
  • Simplified, more intuitive copy/paste interface
  • Multiple browser tabs replacing browser windows, plus form auto-fill and a new “incognito” mode allowing anonymous browsing
  • Quick access to camera exposure, focus, flash, zoom, front-facing camera, time-lapse, and other camera features
  • Ability to view albums and other collections in full-screen mode in Gallery, with easy access to thumbnails for other photos
  • New two-pane Contacts UI and Fast Scroll to let users easily organize and locate contacts
  • New two-pane Email UI to make viewing and organizing messages more efficient, allowing users to select one or more messages
  • Support for video chat using Google Talk
  • Hardware acceleration
  • Support for multi-core processors
  • Ability to encrypt all user data

Android 2.3 Gingerbread

  • Updated user interface design with increased simplicity and speed
  • Support for extra-large screen sizes and resolutions (WXGA and higher)
  • Native support for SIP VoIP internet telephony
  • Faster, more intuitive text input in virtual keyboard, with improved accuracy, better suggested text and voice input mode
  • Enhanced copy/paste functionality, allowing users to select a word by press-hold, copy, and paste
  • Support for Near Field Communication (NFC), allowing the user to read an NFC tag embedded in a poster, sticker, or advertisement
  • New audio effects such as reverb, equalization, headphone virtualization, and bass boost
  • New Download Manager, giving users easy access to any file downloaded from the browser, email, or another application
  • Support for multiple cameras on the device, including a front-facing camera, if available
  • Support for WebM/VP8 video playback, and AAC audio encoding
  • Improved power management with a more active role in managing apps that are keeping the device awake for too long
  • Enhanced support for native code development
  • Switched from YAFFS to ext4 on newer devices
  • Audio, graphical, and input enhancements for game developers
  • Concurrent garbage collection for increased performance
  • Native support for more sensors (such as gyroscopes and barometers)
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