There is a craze in Kenya with getting the latest mobile phone, the revolution of mobile phones in Kenya has been too fast and managed to get everybody on board. So what do you do if you get to a shop, and there are so many phones to choose from? Let’s say they all look exceptionally good from the outside and are good to behold. Why should you chose one and leave the rest on the shelf? Various factors will distinguish between what you will pick and what you will leave. One of them is the operating system. Most cell phones in Kenya use the Android operating system. Let us go through the revolution of the Android operating system on our phones.

P.S. To begin with, Android is an open source operating system. In a layman’s explanation, it means that it can be modified and shared because it is made in such a way that its design is publicly accessible. Apart from other soft wares that are used by most mobile phones in Kenya, over 74% of smartphone users in Kenya are on Android. This makes it important for users to know and learn about the operating system that they are on.

ANDROID VERSIONS AND THEIR HISTORY

Android 1.0

It was the first Android version and was used by HTC. By this time mobile phones in Kenya were simple and provided the basic functions of a phone. Smartphones and Android was a vocabulary not used by most people, and if used by any chance, it was precious knowledge restricted to very few people.

Android 1.1

It was followed by Android 1.1 version which also did not have a code name and still at this time cell phones in Kenya were laid back, and we did not have much to talk about on Android. The benefits of the two version are that they allowed for some functionalities such as blue tooth, Gmail calendar, Google maps, etc. so far most of the functions have been built on to provide more sophisticated versions to be used on cell phones.

Android 1.5

Android 1.5 also called cupcake, and it was the first of its kind to have a codename, and it could allow users to explore third-party keyboards with auto predictions, and this was interesting. Moving from the basic functions of the phone to getting something that could only be accessed by a computer was a whole new thing. At this time very few people had Android phones and there was not a lot to choose from.

Android 1.6

Android 1.6 also had a dessert name i.e. Donut. Quite a common name in the Kenyan household, but not in mobile phones. Therefore, it was something to be excited about. It came with more advanced functions than the preceding version and could allow users to monitor their battery usage, so every time you see the indicator on how much charge your phone has or does not have, this is where the journey was begun. It is also where the grouping of gallery apps begun and it was easier for one to get what they are looking for in their gallery. Previous cell phones in Kenya had everything in the same pot; this brought a variation in the sense that everything was clean and sorted.

Android 2.0

Android 2.0 the predeceasing Android versions had begun the trend of having a desert code name. This version did not disappoint as got the name éclair…. Pretty impressive. With cell phones easing the ability to access email addresses, this version could allow a user access more than one email account on the same device. It also dealt with the agony that most Kenyans have to go through every time they lose their contacts due to losing of their phones. This is because it was now possible to synchronize contacts on their cell phones with their Gmail accounts.

Android 2.2

Android 2.2 also known as Froyo, by now over 80% of Kenyans had mobile phones with 30% of this population owning smartphones. It was an improved version of the previous achievements. It could allow for the creation of hotspots, and people were able to share Wi-Fi. This took Kenyan mobile phones and the technology to a higher level.  Access to the internet was not limited to the cyber cafes; Kenyans could get it anywhere and share it with friends. The knowledge of Android software was now not reserved to few individuals but most people more so the young population had knowledge on the same.

Android 2.3

Gingerbread, by now a lot had been done on Android, and this came with a major improvement on mobile phones such as a new keyboard with faster input than previous ones. Internet calls were also possible with this Android version. This one could enable one select text, and one could copy and paste and do basic stuff that was only possible with computers. It was incredible, and Kenyans with smart phones with this version thought that this was it but they in for a big surprise.

Android 3.0

Honey comb. This one was optimized for larger screens such as tablets. By this time mobile phones in Kenya was a whole new thing, it was not just about having a gadget that could communicate. It was about what is trending, the new features, and new developments. This version could allow multi-tasking and one could carry out more than one function on the phone. One could customize their home screens, and it gave the owner a personal feel of the phone. Tethering was made possible via Bluetooth. Transfer of media files from the phone to the PC was also easier.

Android 4.0

Ice cream sandwich. Most mobile phones in Kenya that are advanced have a way of detecting the smile and triggering a photo as a result of the smile detection. This is the Android version which introduced this function. Previous versions could not allow cell phones to hide notifications, but this version gave room for such privacy. This is where the idea of screen shots begun, and so far the journey has been fun and adventurous.

Android 4.1

Jelly bean. The introduction of the jelly bean made the response to cell phones input faster. Updating apps was more improved and easier. Widgets were resizable and the use of mobile phones was easier than before. There was an improvement in the Android beam and sharing of data to nearby Android devices was faster and efficient.

Android 4.4

Kit Kat, Kenyans are known for multi-tasking and this version enables a mobile phone to be faster when it comes to multi-tasking. If you are tired of handling your phone but can still access your text message or your call using another gadget apart from the phone, this is the Android version that made that a reality. This version is cool as it provides for wireless printing. What else could a Kenyan mobile phone user ask for?

Android 5.0

Lollipop. As its name suggests, this is a sweet approach to Android. It offers a more objective approach to interaction between the user and the phone. The content response to touch is very fast. The most exciting part about this version is that you chose the people to interact with using your device. It gives you options for people you may want to receive calls from etc. it gives you an edge in decision making concerning your device. It comes with a power saver which we need most of the times in our Kenyan cell phones considering the power challenges that we are at times faced with. It comes with a Google smart lock which keeps the phone unlocked when it is with the owner. That said and done, Android is always full of surprises, and this was not the end of it.

Android 6.0

Marshmallow. This is a refinement of the previous Android versions, and as usual, the more refined some things are, the better they become. It simplifies your security with a simple finger print. Kenyan mobile phones are prone to cases of theft and with this Android, there is the option of unlocking the phone with your fingerprint making it safer for you. With the issue of electricity in Kenya, mobile phones ought to be in such a way that they save more and use less. This version limits the use of Apps when at stand by therefore no need to worry about charge drain. It gave exactly what every kenyan needed in a phone.

What’s in the future

All said and done all the above Android versions are on various cell phones in our Kenyan market. Every day someone walks up to a phone stall to buy a new phone. In this case, what matters is not a new phone but the operating system the phone is using. The next time you walk into a shop to get a new phone, it is important that you not only stay updated with a smartphone, but you also get the latest Android version to be up to date with the evolution of the Android operating system. Depending on what you need in a phone, android is the way to go, the latest the better.

If you are keen you have now noticed that every Android version comes with a dessert name that is in the alphabetical order. An Android lover can now be on the guessing side and probably give gueses on what is to come in the future of Android.