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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

  • 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.

  • 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”

  • Froyo was awesome, but ICS really showed how much android had matured. ICS was the coming of age for android

  • Gingerbread is the Windows XP of Android. Honeycomb was the Vista. (This is coming from my rooted 4.1 Nexus, I can be objective)

  • asdf

    >tfw still Gingerbread

  • wolfgang71

    Android update.. what is that? I have an LG phone…

  • You left out one option: The most important update is always the next one.

  • erod434

    I’m so glad that we have updates that actually speed up our phones rather than make them more buggy like apple 🙂

  • David W. Astor

    wheres honeycomb?

  • Philip A. Kaiser

    I think people ate confused. ICS is the best update. Froyo was the most.important though. Didn’t even have live wallpapers before that.

  • Nick Cav.

    I feel GingerBread was a revelation to Android, GingerBread made Android what it is today, that’s why it’s still the most used. While ICS is freaking awesome, the face of Universal Android is GingerBread,

  • ICS, then JellyBean, then GB. The other stuff was more about android still finding it’s way (which it did in GB).

  • Matthew Merrick

    whys is honeycomb not an option? thats the biggest one IMHO, due to it essentialy creating android tablets out of nothing.

  • Fattie McDoogles

    Definitely Froyo. It made ICS & Jelly Bean possible.

  • Justin

    They are all equally important. You can’t have one update without the prior one – they all build on top of one another.

    • Fattie McDoogles

      The only reason I would disagree is because some were more bug fixes and tweaks like Jelly Bean is an upgrade to ICS like that. But Froyo and ICS were the 2 biggest as far as revamping the whole infrastructure of Android.

  • yummypocalypse

    You got chocolate on my gnex!
    You got gnex in my chocolate!
    Wait……mmmmm thasss goood
    ICS 4 me

  • Steve Wojciechowski

    I know most have picked ICS, which definitely is the most feature-filled update we have seen. I went with Eclair for my selection, as this is what put Android on the “Map” (Google Maps with Nav 🙂 ) The OG Droid took Android to the mainstream, and without it, we may not have seen the popularity that we do today

  • romma

    Froyo

  • brendan

    Well tim youre wrong…when droid life was first started the OG droid was running 2.0.1 and we were all awaiting the android 2.1 update which had live wallpapers.

  • termiNader

    Doughnut brought search and integrated camera app.. Don’t hate!

  • Jonathan Ly

    Froyo or Ice Cream Sandwich are probably the most important Android upgrades.

    I personally lean towards ICS because Froyo is my base Android experience, so I don’t know how bad it was for previous software cycles.

    But ICS is important because it made Android into its very own OS. Gingerbread and Froyo look very similar, but ICS looks significantly different.

    And that’s so why I am upset that 4.1 had to be Jellybean. because as good as ICS is, it didn’t do its job. Users who only have year old phones don’t have ICS, but it was supposed to try and distance that talk of fragmentation. And at least, phones like the Droid RAZR, SGSIII, and Rezound have ICS/ICS leaks

  • majormudafuckinhun

    Froyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyo

  • Stewie

    With only early adopters having JB on their mobile devices at this time I think it’s unfair to even include it in this poll. So only in that vein Froyo wins as I agree JIT was an important addition that came along and made the OG even better to those who had it, and to those who purchased it 6 mo in …

  • TheFirstUniverseKing

    Easily Ice Cream Sandwich. It gave Android the aesthetic makeover it desperately needed, while combining tablet and phone UI into one version, and adding extra features that don’t make a big difference by themselves, but a huge difference when added together. Features like controls within the notifications (for things like music playback), hardware acceleration, widgets within the app drawer, folders built into the stock launcher, and face unlock, etc.

  • NicholasMicallef

    I voted ICS but Froyo is a close second.
    I love how each one of those updates are (relatively) extremely large. I mean compare it to the main competitor, a minor android upgrade (4.1) over ICS has more features than several iOS iterations.

  • snacknuts

    I voted for Eclair since it shipped with the OG Droid, and THAT was the phone that put Android on the map.

  • Charles

    The most important one is always the next one that we don’t have yet. GIMME!

  • Brian Trahan

    I’m not sure if it was Froyo or Gingerbread, but which ever one added solid native Exchange support. That really made Android capable of toppling the Blackberry from its perch as king of productivity. Once it was able to break into corporate america it was able to compete on both the “toy” side of smart phones and the business side simultaneously.

  • ICS made the smoothness of the device right on par (ok maybe a little less smooth) than that other OS……TONS of people were put off by androids laggyness (i know a few people that went iOS simply because of the home screen transition laggyness i had on my thunderbolt running CM7 with go launcher)

  • youdoneyo69

    Project Butter is why I voted JB. It makes the OS so much better.

  • daniel walsh

    I think it’s HC. That’s where the ICS design came from.

  • rockstar323

    I think ICS was a major jump in the right direction but the most important update was Eclair. I remember when they announced turn by turn navigation in maps and watching GPS manufacture’s stock drop. It’s also the update that made Android mainstream.

    • Jonathan Rose

      ^This!! Eclair was definitely what propelled Android from being “That Google OS” to being the dominate player in the market

      • wm snyder

        I WAS THERE TOO.stupid cap’s

    • pj

      I’m really surprised more people didn’t pick eclair! I guess its easy to forget how big that was in 2009. Makes me feel old!

  • I’ve been using Android from the G1 originally dropped. back in October 2008. I can say I have used Android since the beginning of it being available to the general public. Every version from pre-Cupcake to Jelly Bean, and honestly I have to say the update from Ginerbread to ICS is probably the biggest/most important leap thus far.

    The leap from GB to ICS actually makes Android feel like it has finally left the beta stage of development into what is now ready for the masses of people.

  • Droidzilla

    This was a tough choice between FroYo and ICS, but I picked ICS because it really is the first OS version to seem like a complete, polished, “finished” product (mind you, I don’t consider iOS or WP7 to be a “finished” product in their current states). FroYo was feature rich and added quite a bit on the back end, but you could still look at it and say, “it needs some more of this-or-that.” ICS really feels like a complete package, and even though Google will improve on it (see JB), it could stand as is and be in need of nothing.

  • Eclair made me to look into Android… Froyo just corrected its mistakes + Optimised Eclair… GB is optimised Froyo… ICS brought dramatic change, that I started hating phone-makers Skins + sooo many features… JB is NEW + corrected ICS mistakes/Optimised ICS…

    So ICS–>JB == Froyo–>GB

    So I vote for ICS…

  • staticx57

    I have had an android phone since 2.1. That phone was the original incredible. Ever since then my favorite ROMs have always been ones that made the phone LOOK better. Whether it was sense that the Inc came with and later MIUI it was always about what I was interacting with and not the backend improvements (not that those are not important). With ICS and now JB it is the first version of stock android that finally looks great and runs great. ICS gets my vote for unifying the system.
    JB is important and I love it but it is not the sea change ICS was.

  • EC8CH

    BUT THEY’RE ALL SO DELICIOUS!

  • Stinker

    Eclair hands down. This was the release that people actually started buying.

  • Ny Reynolds

    I’m sure this has been mentioned but the droid came with 2.0. The first nexus came with 2.1. That being said i vote for froyo and ics. Both upped the ante and brought more widely known and understood functionality to the os that you could show off to others.

  • Knlegend1

    Honeycomb

  • DroidFan

    Froyo made Android…just good enough to get in the competition. Then Gingerbread and ICS really kicked ass. Going forward 2 years from now…Jelly Bean will have become the most important…if Google pushes the envelope.

  • People don’t remember the past well enough, but Eclair was the most important for the OS, followed by Froyo. Eclair, along with the Droid line and the marketing power of Verizon, pushed Android as an OS to new heights and allowed people to see something the might really put up a fight against the iPhone and iOS. Before Eclair, Android was for nerds and T-Mobile users… After Eclair, Android was for the general public. Each update since then has been to make the user interface more usable, cleaner or general bug cleanup. As for “most important to the OS,” it has to go to November of 2009 with the OG Droid and Eclair.

  • Pulp

    Eclair hands down. Before Eclair and the Moto Droid, Android had 8% of the US smartphone market per wikipedia. The Moto droid with Eclair and Google Maps/Navigate was released in October 2009, by Q1 2010 Android had 28% of the US market and was rapidly increasing. This combination of phone and OS version is what gave Android steam to eventually dominate the market.

  • duke69111

    My vote goes to Eclair. It ushered in a whole new realm of possibilities.

  • kaufkin

    peak or Important? two different answers. Important? Froyo. Peak? JB!

  • Hothfox

    I’d say Jelly Bean, simply because now people are seriously comparing Google Voice Search / Google Now with Siri.

  • r0lct

    It’s tough between ICS and KB. With ICS it was the first time I felt like I had an OS as good or better than everything else. With JB there’s a sense of satisfaction knowing you have the best mobile OS for sure.

    Edit: Or to put more simply before ICS Android was almost all function and little form. With ICS it brought about a well rounded and complete OS. I think JB took it to the front of the back for all OS’es and that’s significant.

  • Honeycomb no doubt. I can’t believe it wasn’t even mentioned!

  • Greyhame

    I voted ICS due to its overall quality and refinement. It’s the version that, in my opinion, made android appealing to the masses, and is therefore most important in android’s development. Next comes Froyo with its JIT compiler, followed by a close third in JB… it’s just so fluid. Made my six mo old Nexus feel like an entirely different phone. Now that’s impressive.

    Fantastic poll question!

  • Jeff Tycz

    If you are talking about what version got android on the radar it is hands down 2.1 and 2.2. I dont even know how you can argue that those versions were not solely responsible for android today.

    Now if you want to talk from a overall experience standpoint then that would be ICS (an argument can be made here for Honeycomb too since that was the base for ICS) but again without 2.1/2.2 we wouldnt have any of this

  • Nicholas Vettese

    I think ICS because this is the version that began to take all the past updates, and standardize them. As Android grows, there are important milestones, and each before ICS had them. But with ICS, the game changed dramatically, and this is where Google began to normalize and standardize the Phone and Tablet market.

  • Had to be Gingerbread. The dynamite blew and changed the scene. Maybe not the most improved but definitely the most impact. Without GB boom Im not sure if Android would have grown quick enough to hold its own.

  • Icee cream sandwich all the way

  • Allen Byrd

    I chose Jelly Bean, not because it’s the shiny new thing, but because there were a lot of bugs and issues in ICS. Jelly Bean fixes all of these and pretty much makes the Galaxy Nexus a new phone.

  • Keith0606

    Definately JB. Project Butter did it’s job. Love my Nexus 7, it’s incredibly smooth.

  • There’s no question — the most important Android version was Eclair (v2.0 – 2.1).

    Eclair = Verizon/Motorola Droid + Google Navigation

    Sure, picking just one rev is complicated. Did Froyo make Android faster and more stable? You betcha. Did Gingerbread give us the first glimpse of a modern UI? Yep. And did Ice Cream Sandwich finally deliver a UX to compete with iOS? Absolutely.

    So, why Eclair? Simple; go back and check the late 2009 – early 2010 sales charts. Between the GNav intro and Verizon’s no-holds-barred Droid campaign — of which GNav was a featured part — Eclair is what put Android on the worldwide retail map.:

    http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/mobile-OS-share-recent-2010.png

    Without Eclair, Android would not have received the prominent support of Verizon and, subsequently, that of dozens more carriers and OEMs. Android might still be stuck in the OS netherworld with also-rans like Windows Phone, Meego and Bada.

    • You got it right. I think this poll is biased to newer versions because they are easier to remember and because the newer the version, the more users it has had. Eclair was the version when people saw it on hardware and as a legitimate competitor to iOS. I think a lot of people have forgotten about it because Froyo was essentially Eclair but with better back end performance and was on devices longer.

  • While every OS has been a set of great changes, ICS was clearly the most impactfull on the primary purpose of an OS. To be the main user interface. ICS massively increased the general usability of Android and anyone who goes from 2.x to 4.x will immediately move Android way up on the scale of usability.

  • Eclair. Moto Droid OG. Bane is the backbreaker of Batman as the OG Droid is the Backbreaker to Apple.

  • milcasa

    Jellybean (Project Butter and Google Now)

  • ManBearPig618

    Jelly Bean…project butter has changed the OS

  • Addinsx

    Gingerbread won’t get much love, but it was the OS on board when Android exploded all over the place

  • LaneMeyer

    Froyo in my opinion. It might not have had the polish of ICS or JB but it brought it took care of most of the major bugs and became a modern smartphone OS with fully functioning Bluetooth and offered an important feature at the time with Flash support.

  • BAoxymoron

    I think it’s a tie between ICS and JB… ICS brought cohesiveness accross all forms of the platform which was crucial but at the same time JB is the point when Android definitively beat iOS in every category project butter made the device smoother and better performing than anything out there. Before this everyone knew iOS was archaic but smooth and android had an infinite amount of features but it could occasionally be a bumpy ride… with butter and JB it now is just a full of features but is now a better ride than iOS

  • ICS was the most important but JB may be the most improved based on Project Butter alone. Because of the iPhone, smoothness is something expected not just “a bonus”.

  • Trevor-kai Craig

    I definately enjoyed what ICS has brought to the table, but the latest is definately the greatest. Can’t wait to see what “K” lettered dessert update will have in store for it’s dedicated junk food Androidiers

  • Sad to not have experienced yet what others say is so great. ~ Rezound owner 🙁

  • ApplesNAndroids

    I can’t say that 4.1 was the greatest leap in my mind (I believe android 2.2 was significant) however JellyBean is what made me drop iOS completely and return for the stay with Android. (I’ll still keep my iOS iPad though)

  • balthuszar

    lets also not forget that google didnt just update to ICS…they also introduced the rule that the majority of the OS had tob e kept stock even with the manufacturer skins on it…so there was more than just the update to ics with the update to ics

  • Travillion

    I love ICS (and unofficial Jelly Bean), but these are just visual delights. Android was very usable beginning with 2.0. I will always prefer a 4.x device over a 2.x device, but 2.x was very usable. I cannot, however, imagine owning and/or being pleased with a 1.x device. That’s why I say Eclair was the most important Android update–it made the OS usable in my opinion. The 4.x updates are fabulous, but they’re really just making a great device that much better.

  • hatboysam

    ICS definitely put Android into the same visual category as iOS and WP7. While hardcore android users couldn’t do a lot more than they had before, it made adoption much less scary and I think in a few years it will be viewed as the biggest turning point for Android.

    I had an OG Droid with 2.0, and have since had 2.0.1, 2.1, 2.2, 2,3, 4.0.1, 4.0.4, and 4.1. The two biggest updates were 2.2 and 4.1, from a usability standpoint. Froyo made my phone adequate, but it was still ugly and I knew it. JB changed everything, mostly because of Project Butter. JB is the first version of Android I’d recommend to my grandparents, and going forward that will be a huge deal as the smartphone OSes fight over the 50% of the market who have yet to ditch their uber-simplistic feature phones.

  • balthuszar

    didnt the og come out of the box with 1.5? also, what about the eris, i KNOW that came out of the box with 1.5

    • hatboysam

      OG Came with 2.0

      • balthuszar

        i remember my og coming otu of the box with 1.5, and almost immediately upon activation it upgraded to 2.0…or i thought i remembered…you were right…it was the eris that came with 1.5…and we got both the og and the eris at the same time, my mistake

  • faber

    ics voters = pathetic. Like sheep.
    Which was most important, not which is on your mind now.

    • PSU_DI

      I’d argue with that thinking, everyone would say Jelly Bean, not ICS if this was the case. ICS is the version of Android that matured into a non-geek OS, and really made it enjoyable to use for mass consumption.

    • kixofmyg0t

      I voted for ICS because it introduced ASLR. Thats pretty damn important if you ask me.

      • Tyler

        YES! Even if it was a tad flawed the OS needed better security. JB has fixed this flaw and its now implemented correctly.

    • Droidzilla

      Your opinion != fact. True Story.

  • Bionic

    2.0 started the popularity boom, so how can it be any less important that ICS?

  • ecffighter7232

    Cupcake…. definitely cupcake

  • zoetrope

    My profession allows me access to both iOS and Android phones, and has since their respective inceptions. Until ICS, iPhone was my preferred go-to phone. Then the Galaxy Nexus appeared in my office with ICS, and everything changed. ICS FTW!

  • EvanTheGamer

    Jelly Bean. I like new things. haha

  • ddevito

    ICS – design, performance and features fused together for the first time.

  • MikeCiggy

    I chose Jelly Bean because before JB android has always been stuttery & laggy. JB is an actual polished final product. Anything you add to it now is just more features.

    • ERIC REED

      And most of the current android world will never see it or at least until 2013. And once custom skins are added it will be screwed again.

      • ddevito

        should’ve bought a nexus (“them” not you per say)

        • Shouldnt have to have a Nexus to get the latest updates in a timely matter.

          • ddevito

            I don’t disagree with you, but I honestly don’t see how this is any different in any other scenario. It’s a tired argument. Don’t blame Google because an OEM doesn’t spit out the OS updates fast enough. The average Android users don’t read sites like this. The average person doesn’t care what OS their smartphone or PC is running.

            For those that care, presumably are tech-saavy, and presumably read sites like this (that shows you how to do everything), can do it themselves. Lots of the tech-saavy crowd (especially readers of this site) last fall pissed all over the GNex for the late launch, radio issues, build quality, etc.

            yet now they bitch at their beloved OEM of choice because NOW (not before for some reason) they bitch that they won’t get their OS update in time.

            Tsk tsk. Old argument, for those who want Jelly Bean and can’t get it, hope you were happy with your decision. Next time you’re due for a phone upgrade your priorities will be vastly different.

        • ERIC REED

          After having the Nexus there is no way I would recommend that phone to anyone wanting to switch to an android phone. If they were coming from an iphone and was use to the battery life, camera and speaker volume I believe this would be the phone to turn them away from the android experience.

  • Kevin

    I think that ICS is the most significant. It was a much-needed major renovation of Android. Froyo is up there too. Gingerbread and Jellybean are both versions that added a few features but mostly streamlined what was already there. They were important, but they weren’t the groundbreakers imo. I wasn’t around for doughnut and eclair, so I might be a little biased.

  • bose301s

    The OG Droid came running 2.0 Eclair, 2.1 came a few months later, after the Nexus One launched. As for most important update I say 2.0, that was when Android passed iOS in features and never looked back.

    • Imitation

      Was about to mention that the Droid came with 2.0, not 2.1 😛

    • duke69111

      I agree 2.0 had the biggest influence as Android was not a widely adopted platform before this.

    • ABerry5

      yeah I can’t believe DL just said the OG and DL launched with 2.1.. idiots, I remember waiting 4 months and starting to visit DL for any small detail of the 2.1 update for the OG

  • AlexKCMO

    In these comments… People who don’t know the difference between Important and Best.

    • cknight91

      Totally agree. The “Best” update was probably ICS…but the most important to the OS has to be 2.0 eclair…this is the update that moved Android into mainstream and hasn’t looked back.

      • AlexKCMO

        My thoughts exactly. I couldn’t believe how far ahead ICS was when really, if Eclair had been a flop, we probably wouldn’t have Android today. Most people agree that the first Android devices (I think was the T-Mobile G-1?) were garbage and it wasn’t until the OG came that showed that Android was viable.

        If anything, it’s a toss up between Froyo and Eclair… but definitely not ICS in terms of importance for the survival and viability of the OS.

        • gkinsella2

          You also have to consider when everyone began on Android…I never had Eclair, so to ME, ICS was the most important upgrade.

          • AlexKCMO

            I’m sure ICS is what got Android a 51% market share. Damn, what was I thinking.

            /s

            Just because you didn’t use it doesn’t mean it wasn’t important. Had it not been for those updates, you probably wouldn’t even be using an Android today.

      • KleenDroid

        ICS is good but Best is Jellybean.

  • I am going to go against the consensus and say Jelly Bean, and here is why: iOS has kicked Android’s tail in the non-techny world in its perception of class, and that is not only from a hardware standpoint, but also from a software one. The smoothness that Jelly Bean brings puts Android on par with iOS and wipes that ‘class’ perception away. If Apple fails to deliver something other than a skinny 4G iPhone, something ‘magical’, Android is poised to make some serious Apple Sauce… provided the manufactures will hire a few extra programmers and get JB on the most number of devices ASAP.

  • ICS was extremely important from a design and platform unification standpoint, no one could deny it was the most significant update as of about 3 weeks ago…however, speed is everything in a touch interface…even the slightest delay when you touch something gives the user a very negative experience. We simply expect something we touch to respond immediately, any other experience is just unacceptable to most…hence, JellyBean gets my +1

  • James_Kernicky

    Jelly Bean because of Project Butter. Before this you could definitely tell the response time differences between an iphone and an android phone. I realize sometimes this is because of the hardware/software of the phone, but the iphone interface always seemed to work a bit smoother when scrolling or typing. Project Butter made my nexus feel incredibly faster. I notice the biggest difference in the reaction time from when I touch to when the phone recognizes the touch action. ICS was a big jump indeed but JB is truly the next level.

  • NorCalGuy

    Gingerbread really brought tones of phones to the same level and consider a greater majority of the phones out there probably still run gb. ICS was great but how many phones will really see it with jb out as a polished version of ICS.

  • Droosh

    Just In Time (JIT) came with Froyo and gets my vote.

    • athensjohn

      Ditto – I thought this was one of the big changes bringing a performance increase that may the phone operate smoothly as a smart phone.

  • AnotherAndroidKid

    ICS was game changer and I didn’t expect the same from JB. JB has gone and done it again making ICS almost intolerable.

  • People are saying ICS because it is the most recent major change, but the advances that Eclair introduced followed by Froyo with the JIT compiler are the most significant in Android history. JIT offered a 400% increase in speed over Eclair.

    • Pulp

      Do you have a source for that 400% increase? I had a Droid running stock Eclair, then some rom developers added a JIT compiler to Eclair roms, then I ran stock Froyo once it came out until the roms caught back up. I remember it feeling a little faster, but definitely not 5X faster.

    • jxcgunrunna

      Eclair was the single biggest UX change. I think its been a bigger even than the one from GB to ICS.

    • kixofmyg0t

      I voted for ICS, but Froyo (and only because of JIT) was a close second. ICS introduced ASLR(Though JB implements it) which in addition to the sweeping changes to EVERYTHING is what cemented my vote. Froyo and ICS are 2 huge Android milestones in my book.

    • Droidzilla

      I have my reasons for picking ICS, but FroYo was a close second. I could see it being first, depending upon one’s subjective criteria.

  • Michael_NM

    Honeycomb: It taught Google how to deal with failure, and led to ICS which is leading this poll.

  • It’s a no brainer to me. ICS was the first OS to bring the features introduced in Honeycomb into both OSes. In addition, it polished up Gingerbread for phones. It brought the user experience to the forefront, which was needed. Android went from being the weird non-user friendly OS to being a beautiful simple OS (if you are running stock ICS).

  • Morlok8k

    GB got android from crappy to useful. everything since has just been gravy.

    • Morlok8k

      You could say that Astro (1.0) was THE most important release, though…

  • sc0rch3d

    i think froyo was the update that really made android ubiquitous and popular but my vote is ICS as it relates to really bringing back some coherence and standardization for UI.

    this is also hard to tell since, for instance, like the G1 may never see JellyBean…but what if the G1 was built for JellyBean originally? then it might be an easier comparison. hardware and costs and technology have evolved.

    • Froyo all the way !! +100 for ubiquitous !!

  • ocdtrekkie

    Um… Honeycomb. Where all the ICS-ish improvements were actually developed. I want to vote Honeycomb.

  • Mapekz

    ICS was what Froyo/GB should have been. ICS alone transformed Android from subpar to superior. Eclair would be a far second (transformed Android from crap to bearable) with Jelly Bean coming in as a very close third due to the performance boosts (which Android has always needed).

    • balthuszar

      conversely GB is what froyo should have been, froyo is what eclair should have been, eclair is what donut should have been…it’s why they’re called updates

      • Droidzilla

        Not really. Some of them were bigger than others. Eclair was a polished Donut, but FroYo really changed Android. Gingerbread was a polished FroYo, but ICs changed it all again. JB is a polished ICS.

        Some changes were bigger than others. It’s not fair to place equal weight on all of them.

        • balthuszar

          who’s placing equal weight on anything? he said “ics is what GB should have been…” we can say thatall the updates since 1.5 are what 1.5 should have been…but if they were all what 1.5 should have been, we’d still be on 1.5

      • Mapekz

        Gingerbread was supposed to possess the UI overhaul that ICS (technically Honeycomb) granted but they didn’t get around to doing it. The lack of user-friendliness pre-ICS is what killed initial impressions of Android as it became mainstream with Eclair and Froyo. People have completely sworn off the product just because of those versions of the OS.

        Because Google couldn’t release the UI overhaul for GB, they had to delay it to the next version. Unfortunately they decided to make Honeycomb for tablets instead of going straight to ICS, further delaying the ubiquity of their most advanced version of the OS.

        So in short, ICS was supposed to come a year or two earlier (and ICS itself would have been a mere step up from GB). Instead what we got was Eclair (two different versions of it nonetheless)/FroYo/GB all back to back without sufficient overhauls of the user interface between builds. This is to what I was referring when I said “ICS was what Froyo/GB should have been.”

        Needless to say Google seems back on track so I suspect we’ll see a tick-tock approach to their future updates, where KLP (tick) would be another significant upgrade to Android whereas Licorice (assuming that’s the name, tock) would be another step up with less significant usability improvements (but increased performance/battery life/etc) over KLP.

  • kennedy myril

    definitely ICS…

  • Murphy

    I voted JB, but I’m thinking ICS changed the way Android looks and feels for the better. I’m reading this like a trick question because with every new update, Android just gets that more awesome.

    • kennedy myril

      yeah, i say ICS… JB is just a speed improvement to ICS, but ICS changed how the OS looked as a whole.

  • wheineman

    I think the biggest update has to be FroYo hands down! Apps to SD? Huge performance boost? It introduced more usability than any other update out there!

    • Tyler

      Personally Apps to SD was important for games but created a huge performance problem with the OS. After taking every app on my OG Droid and moving it to the internal memory the phone became usable again. (at its worst it took 30+ seconds to load the homescreen)

  • The biggest step up in improvement would be froyo, easily.. All the versions continue to improve and add things so it’s really a personal preference/expierience

  • gimlet72

    ICS bridged the tablet and smart phone OS

  • SirSoloDolo

    This will be bias towards newer updates but Froyo was a big bug squasher back when I had Eclair. Every update after was icing on the never ending tower of cakes 🙂

    • 4n1m4L

      But everybody is so focused on the bright shiny new thing.

    • ICS merged the phone and tablet paces together into 1 OS. That’s why it got my vote.

      • WAldenIV

        It hasn’t had any impact on many non-Xoom early adopters, though. Froyo affected a vast majority of phone users at the time.

        • The question was “Which Android Update Has Been Most Important to the OS?” I still say that merging phones and tablets into 1 OS is by far the most important thing to date. It doesn’t matter that not all users have seen the benefit yet. They will.

    • zepfloyd

      Froyo wins for me too. ICS is close, but JIT compiler still probably is the single most important addition to the core system.

      • I can not pick just one!

      • paladaxar

        Dude…don’t forget about turn-by-turn navigation introduced in Froyo. That was a HUGE deal and marked one of the “killer” apps that we’ve enjoyed for years now. It allowed our phone to replace yet another device (the dedicated GPS) while also giving us bragging rights for quite a while 🙂

        • zepfloyd

          Google Maps Nav was a part 2.0/2.1 Eclair 😉

          But you’re right it was and still is a killer feature.

          • paladaxar

            Oh shoot, that’s right! Thanks for the correction!

      • michael arazan

        I went from the og droid on froyo to a gnex with ics. I never used gingerbread before. So for me ICS was way more vastly of how an os should really be. Best part is they went from froyo in 2009 to ics in 2011, I cant imagine what the os will be like in 2014..

    • Froyo would have been my choice, but ICS is where the OS finally came together as a real competitor to other phones. It finally had all the things to make a winning system even to iOS users. ICS is where Android said “We aren’t just for nerds anymore.” Saddy ICS was skinned to death and was never seen again 🙁

      • Trueblue711

        Very well said! After using ICS I can finally say that Android is on the same level , if not better than iOS in terms of ease of use, looks, and usability.

        • feztheforeigner

          I wouldn’t say finally. More like “pulled even farther ahead”.

    • ddevito

      Froyo lagged and had memory issues, hardly the biggest upgrade. In fact, it was the reason I chose to root and install ROMs.

      • Exactly – and by you rooting your phone it opened you and everyone else who did, myself included, up to a whole new world of features, hacks, and mods that are now standard features on ICS and JB. Froyo created the innovation for aOS as we know and was extremely instrumental in the rooting community as we know it !!

        • ddevito

          I agree with you, but it was hardly the biggest upgrade (positively)

          • Droidzilla

            FroYo did so much on the back and front end to change the way Android worked as an OS. It wasn’t as polished as other versions, but it really did move the platform forward. Gingerbread can be seen as the true FroYo release (like a polished FroYo), kind of like ICS is the polished HC release in the tablet space.

          • Philip A. Kaiser

            Its all relative. If you had eclair for any amount of time, you would see that a bump to Froyo was far more than any of the others. Before froyo, (from based or stock) everything was pretty weak.

    • Froyo is what really put Android on the map !! All the stock and legendary phones you think of were Froyo based. Gingerbread was nice however was not as big because after the success of Froy every carrier wanted to put bloatware on the UI so they can dip into the Android success. With the Gingerbread update came bloatware and carrier UI. Which does make it important as well.

      ICS is my 2nd most important because it smoothed things out, dulled them down, made Android more user friendly, and took it to another level. Jelly Bean is just an add-on to ICS. JB is more like 4.0.5.

      The next most important update will not be until 4.2 or 4.3.

      • Alan Paone

        Froyo is what created the legitimate android fanboy, a person who likes android , and not just because they’re a raging nerd or apple hater. Its the first version that didn’t suck, if you didn’t have froyo, you were ‘stuck’.

        • Philip A. Kaiser

          Totally agree. Froyo had so many add ons that changed everything. The newer ones are mostly polish shiny new stiff to me. Don’t get me wrong, live all of them buy as far as “impact” froyo takes the cake.

          • Phillip’s may not spell their name the same, however +100 for Great Phillip minds thinking alike !!

    • Droidzilla

      Anyone who picked something other than FroYo or ICS is a bit wacky, imo.

      • Totally agree. Froyo on the OG Droid had to be the most important. It brought Motorola back from the brink, changed the game for VZW & cemented Android as a viable phone OS. Not to mention the explosion of the ROM-ing community and what that has done for Android.

        • OG Droid was upgraded to Froyo in a few months after release. OG Droid was a first phone to feature Eclair.

      • I agree completely. This poll is really between Froyo and ICS in my opinion. I chose ICS, because of the merging of phones and tablets, but Froyo is a close second, and is the only other one that makes sense.

    • Jeremy

      i think most of the people who picked jelly bean (includeing myself) think that this is the most important update BECAUSE it fixes the LAG issue that has plagued the operating system since existance. that was always something an iOS user held over my head was the bad lag and performance issues when switching between screens, now that the smooth factor is in android is 100% more appealing to anyone who currently uses an iPhone

      • John Burke

        Exactly, no more “Android-lag” takes the win IMO

        • Philip A. Kaiser

          Didn’t have lag on my Droid X.

          • WAldenIV

            Me either.

          • Jeremy

            just because you didn’t experience lag on your droid x, doesn’t mean the android lag didn’t exist. according to your post “project butter” is worthless? you probably either had to rom your phone, uninstall bloatware or replace the stock launcher an any number of solutions to an existing android problem. and turst me even if you did do these things the lag wasn’t COMPLETELY fixed. its noticable if you pay enough attention. also throw on a couple widgets on your screen and a live wallpaper and tell me that your droid x doesn’t lag. ask anyone who uses an iphone what the biggest turn off for android is and they will point out the lag that existed. hooray for project butter!

          • Philip A. Kaiser

            I was just saying. No biggie. My main point was that the hardware can be as sporadic as the software. It is a given that anyone running JB right now is doing it on a Nexus. No lag for the Nexus doesn’t mean there won’t be lag on an SII or a RAZR. We don’t really have anything to compare the Nexus to yet. When I said not on my X, I was exclaiming the point that while we know JB is like butter on the Nexus, it doesn’t mean everyone will have the same experience.

          • ABerry5

            lmfao anyone who says project butter is worthless not only hasn’t ever used 4.1, they are also blind making them unable to watch videos, and ignorant/brain damage refusing to believe every single tech blog including Apple blogs stating so

          • *Picks up phone, proceeds to call bullshit (Former Droid X owner)

          • KleenDroid

            While I appreciate that you think the X was smooth, I don’t think you truly appreciate what’s going on here. I also had an X and thought it was great and all, but there is no comparison to Jellybean.

          • Philip A. Kaiser

            Maybe you and I are talking beans vs rice. Lol.. at any rate, agree that JB is much smoother. Killed me to go back to Milestone 6 but there are still some minor details that I was missing. Can’t wait for AOKP JB roms.

        • word..

  • teng247

    dont forget, Froyo had Flash support! but overall i think ICS was the biggest change

  • All of the updates have fixed important things and added important features.