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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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  • http://twitter.com/white_shadow001 Zach White

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

  • http://profiles.google.com/babybybusta Andrew Thompson

    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…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1438819214 Douglas Lewis

    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,

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10602828 Mike Hilal

    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.

  • http://twitter.com/turdbogls Turdbogls

    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!

  • http://twitter.com/gothdroid Damien Raine

    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.

  • http://twitter.com/kanagadeepan Kanaga Deepan N

    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.

  • http://twitter.com/qvaterlaus Quentin Vaterlaus

    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.

  • http://twitter.com/j_mikel222 Mike McKee

    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.

  • http://www.hammertechnologies.net/ Chase Johnson

    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.