All of the Android OS versions have had sweet tasting code names. Similar to a previous generation of Microsoft Windows versions which were typically US city names or mountain ranges.
Unlike the Windows code names, Android code names stick around and are used by marketeers in retail outlets. So here is a definition, and a small bit of history!
- Jelly Bean - released July 2012 - OS version 4.1.x
- Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) - released December 2011 - OS version 4.0.x
- Honeycomb - released May 2011 - OS version 3.1
- Gingerbread - released December 2010 - OS version 2.3
- Froyo - May 2010 - OS version 2.2
- Eclair - October 2009 - OS version 2.0
- Donut - September 2009 - OS version 1.6
- Cupcake - April 2009 - OS version 1.5
Google share stats on which versions are in the market. Gingerbread (released Dec 2010) has the largest footprint with 43% fo all Android devices running it. Ice Cream Sandwich is second with 28% leaving the latest generation Jelly Bean with 16%.
Incase your wondering, this is a very slow upgrade path compared to iOS. The upgrade issue that will surround Android for some time is due to the business model.
Who make more money if old Android devices upgrade to the new OS?
The manufactures like Samsung and HTC only make money when you buy new phones. The network operators only make money when you sign contracts and use data / calls. Google who is behind Android only makes money on App downloads or Adverts, which might well increase with newer versions of Android but they have no control over delivering an upgrade. So upgrade of mainstream Android users devices happend when their 24 month network contract expires.
If you compare this open ecosystem to the closed ecosystem of Apple its a different story. Apple will make more money if you upgrade and they are in control of distributing upgrades. Apple push the update out to its users.
As someone interested in mobile Internet usage, I would highlight that Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich are the only versions of Android to support the Google Chrome browser. The Jelly Bean users dont have to download Google Chrome browser, it is the default web browser replacing the previous native Android browser.
This means most Android devices are using the native Android browser which is not great and has many CSS3 issues. If your supporting Android you better be testing on older devices.