Android through the ages: from Cupcake to Pie and everything in between

On February 22, 2011 Google launched its first tablet-only Android update: Android 3.0 Honeycomb, and two days later the first device to have the update preinstalled, the Motorola Xoom, was released.

As Android 3.0 Honeycomb was a strictly tablet-focused release, a new “holographic” user interface was ushered in with the update. The System Bar brought notifications and the soft navigation buttons to the bottom of the screen. These navigation buttons, which include the Back, Home and Recent Applications icons, have become a common sight on Android devices, and allowed phone and tablet manufacturers to make completely button-free devices.

The bottom of the screen wasn’t getting all the love, however, with the Action Bar being brought to the top of the screen, offering contextual options, navigation and widgets.

Other improvements to the user interface included multiple browser tabs, an “incognito” mode for anonymous browsing, and advanced views for contacts and emails.

Multicore processors were supported for the first time as well, ushering a new generation of powerful Android devices.

Android 3.1 launched on May 10 2011 and brought USB connectivity for accessories, FLAC audio playback and resizeable Home screen widgets. A further update, Android 3.2, included support for Google TV.

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