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Thursday Poll: Which Android Update Has Been Most Important to the OS?

When Droid Life first started, we began with the Motorola “OG” DROID. It came running Google’s Android 2.1 “Eclair” operating system. That was fine, but what had thousands of people rabid was the talk of an update to Android 2.2 “Froyo.” It had live wallpapers, Adobe’s Flash support, and also introduced the development community to the JIT compiler which allowed for better performance, richer graphics, and higher battery life.

Next in line was Android 2.3 “Gingerbread.” With a complete Android UI overhaul, it turned Android into a dark and sexier OS that also brought various improvements and features to devices. Highlights of Gingerbread was support for NFC chips, a much improved and smarter keyboard, and additional power management upgrades that would help our devices last longer. Gingerbread is currently the most used Android operating version in the world. 

Since Honeycomb is seen merely as a transitional period for Android, we’ll jump right into 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich.” What ICS has done is merge the tablet OS and UI (Honeycomb) and phone OS, bringing them into one single operating system. One that would look great on larger 10.1″ displays as well as the more compact 4.0″ devices. ICS also brought another, more elegant user interface update. There was the new Roboto font that everyone fell in love with, multi-tasking was made simpler and more accessible, improved voice input, Android Beam, and the list goes on. If anything, ICS does have the most extensive changelog of any Android release to date.

Lastly, we have Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean.” The easiest way to describe Jelly Bean is to say it’s Ice Cream Sandwich on steroids. Google introduced “Project Butter,” which improved system performance and brought the interface speeds up to 60FPS throughout. Other popular features are the new expandable notifications, Google Now, improved Voice Search, and customization through re-sizable widgets.

Taking all of this into account, which do you think has been the most important step for Android as a whole? Which version brought Android to its highest peak so far? Voice your opinions down below and feel free to shout out which version has been your overall favorite in this long journey.

Which Android update has been the most important for the OS?

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  • Corey Downs

    I have to say, I think Gingerbread was the best update. I remember when my dad and I were waiting for that update to get pushed by Verizon, when we got it, I thought it was the best thing, I loved the new notifications bar being dark not white. But alas, I became wise to rooting and romming and after 1 weeklong brick period, I got MIUI with ICS on my lowly DX

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.bottari Anthony Bottari

    I let my boss try out my GNex..and he thinks it’s to complicated ..Yes he’s an iOS user..lol

  • yuji

    tinyurl.com/cyk9xz2

  • leimeisei

    Ice cream sandwich. That was the update that finally took Android from looking like a bunch of summer interns’ 3-month project to looking like a grown-up, professional, sleek operating system.

  • Ralph Basile

    You know, had to really think about this. Every upgrade, I have had kind of the same reaction – definitely an improvement, but evolutionary. In the end, I picked the jump to Froyo. From my memory, that really was a big bump in performance and functionality with mo original Droid. It also made the platform very reliable.
    Maybe the jump from ICS to Jelly Bean would be my next choice. But, I could probably be convinced the the jump to ICS from Gingerbread was a bigger deal

    • Ralph Basile

      I hadn’t read the other posts before giving my opinion. Wow, amazed how many picked Froyo. Reinforces what I remember about the jump in the OS. Lot of good comments, no matter what each one picked.

  • http://twitter.com/ReverendYo Matthew Rose

    Anybody else disappointed that Tim remembers the Moto DROID coming with 2.1 Eclair, when it actually came with 2.0? 2.1 debuted on the Nexus One a few months after the DROID release, and with it came livewallpapers, and several core system improvements. I was actively involved with porting and then stabilizing 2.1 for the DROID back in the day, and believe me it was no small task to do so. ~ReverendYo

  • Gary Cims

    ICS=First OS with full Matias Duarte oversight.

  • ABerry5

    this is hard.. ICS made 2.3 and below look and perform like a 10 year old OS… it really had to jump 2 1.0′s to describe how big of an improvement it was.. but jellybean has made Android officially “come of age”.. Android is now officially mature, and owning both an iPhone4 and Galaxy Nexus, I honestly cannot imagine the average non-biased consumer ever turning down the stock JB experience for something else.. 4.1 is truly incredible and my favorite update of all time (I bought an OG launch day 2.0.1 :)

  • ConCal

    What a good question, Droid Life. I love reading everyone’s opinion.

  • Santos

    I’m going with cupcake. I think it brought an on onscreen keyboard.
    G1!

  • iNfAMOUS70702

    regardless of how many more functions android has always had over iOS it was ICS that closed the gap..froyo is 2nd IMO

  • mikeszekely

    I gotta go with ICS. Yeah, Froyo was an awesome update, and yeah, it was were (for me, at least) Android stopped looking like an old Linux distro and started to look like a serious contender against iOS. But ICS made Android seem like a while new mobile OS from the future.

  • ConCal

    I voted for ICS because previous to that Android was just a competitor to iOS. ICS is when it came into it’s own (especially design wise) and we owe much of that (imho) to Matias Duarte.
    But, before ICS I felt like I had to give reasons why Android was better, now I just give the person my phone and let them see. It’s just too bad the OEMs skin it to death.

  • Dean Milord

    I would have agreed with everyone with ICS but technically ICS just merged 2.3 & 3.0. Many of the ICS elements were already being used in 3.0/Holo.
    But 2.0/2.1/(even)2.2 with the OG Droid was monumental. It took all the meh things of Android software (Cupcake, Donut) & devices preceding it (MyTouch, G1, Cliq – eww, etc) and blew it all out the water. Saved Android, to an extent. There were so many new things so much more a user could do. It was the first real “iPhone” killer. And it did kill a lot of Apple market share. Then everyone and their moms started making Android devices – dare I say too many. But it was the first “real” phone that you could walk up to an iPhone user and show off. The build was sexy, the UI sleek (for its time), software “innovative”, it made all other carriers jealous. Everyone wanted a Droid. The ads were Super Bowl-esque, brilliant. DROID – thats all you heard and all you saw. You wanted this phone or wanted to be the guy with this phone. IPhone users ran in the other direction for fear of embarrasment not just b/c of the device but Android had added some many new features – Maps was big, pulldown notifications were big, multi-tasking – BIG, the Launcher – BIG, App drawer – BIG, and much much more.
    With Eclair(Froyo) Apple had to step up. And then we had this constant “One Up” on each other that really made the smartphone market really explode. It just made everything better.
    My opinion. Honestly Android has always had great releases each one building off the next!!!

  • ConCal

    Why is Honeycomb not a choice???
    [sarcasm]

  • Jacobm001

    I would say ICS simply because it’s the version that took the first major step at defragmentation. Mainly the convergence of phone and tablet systems.

  • Tyler

    It was tough for me to pick but i choose ICS over JB because ICS laid all the groundwork for JB to succeed. ICS was the major overhaul that made Android an even better OS. JB’s fluidity sets it on par with the experience you’ll find on any mobile OS around which is why I feel its important as well.

  • davetheAndroid

    Personally, ICS. The update in Froyo were very important, but I can’t understate the improvements in the UI from ICS. It’s a true joy to use now compared to the clunky earlier versions and looks rad too. Goog really hit it with the Holo theme IMO.

  • CHARLES COX

    Eclair added the Voice to Text capabilities 2 years before the Iphone 4s that’s Huge.

    Froyo for the huge all around speed improvements without adding any bulk. It really did made the Nexus One compared to Eclair.

    Gingerbread was probably the most minor in my opinion. I couldn’t really tell any difference except for the color schemes. I think they just needed a new name to put on the Nexus S.

    Honeycomb? Slow but ok.
    ICS was the biggest visual overhaul to Android bringing it from a basic OS look and feel to a polished mature OS experience.
    Jelly Bean is largely a performance upgrade to ICS. Project Butter is huge and slippery smooth, no small upgrade here either.

  • Sam

    Why not included honey comb?

    I would vote for honey comb. In my mind it laid the foundation for ICS and JB which are by far and away the best os .

  • JMonkeYJ

    Eclair took android from being a curiosity to one of the most popular mobile OSes. To me that’s more than enough to indicate it was the most important.

  • wm snyder

    i wanted them all i could not wait and it TOOK FOREVER! I have to say ginger bread started getting it togeather……..And TheN…icecream WOW!

  • MylesH55

    As an actual build standards go, froyo was the best thing to ever happen. It was that point that have Android fire to say it was better than the rest out there and added features that define Android at its basics level, sure it didn’t have flashy animations or a shiny UI but it got the job done. For a common user though, ICS is a beautiful creature and is a major step in the “user friendly” direction :)

    Also anyone that voted “jelly bean” is stupid and has no business being here and shows they know very little about Android. Get off the band wagon if you don’t know what you’re riding on.

  • Adam Neighbors

    The question wasn’t which was the best or your favorite. It was “Which is most important”. I think that’d have to be Eclair. It, along with the OG Droid, let Android say “We’re serious, and we’re here to stay”