Android Version Names: Every OS from Cupcake to Marshmallow

The Mascots on Google Campus, from left to right: Donut, Android (and Nexus One), Cupcake, and Eclair
The Mascots on Google Campus, from left to right: Donut, Android (and Nexus One), Cupcake, and Eclair | Source

Android and Dessert Names

Revised 03SEP-2013

Google's Android division certainly has a sense of humor: It named all of its version codenames after desserts (just as Intel names all of its CPUs after rivers). To celebrate a new version, a giant mock-up of the dessert that matches the codename is usually delivered to the Google Campus and put on display.

So what are the different versions of Android OS and the desserts associated with them? Let us go over a short history.

Android 1.0 and 1.1: Unnamed

There appears to be no codename assigned to versions 1.0 and 1.1 of Android OS.

Google bought a company called Android back in July 2005. Android was headed by several mobile big shots, including the former head of a big carrier, ex-owner of a phone maker, and more. After their buyout, Android went into stealth mode, and rumors spread that Google was working on a mobile phone.

The dam finally broke in November 2007, when Google suddenly announced that they were indeed working on a phone (Google Phone). More than that, they were also working on a brand-new mobile operating system called Android, based on the Linux kernel, to be used by the Open Handset Alliance, a group of 65 different hardware makers, carriers, and other mobile-related companies.

HTC was the first phone maker to get a real consumer phone out, the T-Mobile G1 (also known as the HTC Dream outside of US), on October 2008.

An update of Android, version 1.1, was released in February 2009. However, the first significant version of Android OS that really showcased the power of the platform was V1.5, codenamed "Cupcake."

As Cupcake starts with letter "C", many have suspected that 1.0 had a codename starting with "A" and 1.1 had one starting with "B," but no actual codenames were ever assigned.

Android 1.5: Cupcake

The Android cupcake on Google's campus
The Android cupcake on Google's campus | Source

Technically Android 1.5 wasn't the first version, but versions before it don't seem to have received any codenames. Stories were told that it was supposed to be version 1.2, but Google decided to make it a major revision and made it 1.5 instead. Among the many changes with Cupcake, third-party keyboard and Widgets were enabled and phone could upload directly to YouTube and Picasa. The company codenamed the version "cupcake," which is how the trend of dessert names began.

A cupcake is a small, individually-sized cake baked in a cup-shaped mold. It is usually served with frosting on top.

Android 1.6: Donut

The Android donut on Google's campus
The Android donut on Google's campus | Source

Android V1.6, codenamed "Donut," was released in September 2009. It fixed reboot errors in the OS, revamped photo and video features (i.e. camera interface), and featured better search integration. It also added support for larger screen sizes and is the first version to offer Google's turn-by-turn navigation feature.

A donut is a small ring-shaped friedcake. The ring is made of rich, light dough and deep-fried. Various sweet coatings can be added. Donuts are not to be mistaken for bagels, which are baked, much denser, and usually salty.

Android 2.0 and 2.1: Eclair

The Android eclair on Google's campus
The Android eclair on Google's campus | Source

Android 2.0 was released in October 2009, with a bugfix version (2.0.1) coming out in December 2009. Android 2.1 was released January of 2010. Most people consider them a single release. Added features include Bluetooth 2.1 support, flash and digital zoom for the camera, multi-touch support, live wallpapers, and more.

Eclairs are usually described as oblong cream puffs. They are baked pastries with cream filling and chocolate coating on top.

Android 2.2: Froyo

The Android froyo on Google's campus
The Android froyo on Google's campus | Source

Android 2.2 mainly improved speed by adopting the Javascript "just-in-time" compiler engine from Google's browser, Chrome. It also improved browser support by adding animated GIF support and Flash 10.1 plug-in support, along with USB tethering and Wi-Fi Hotspot capability (for those with supporting hardware).

Froyo is short for "frozen yogurt." It is a frozen dessert made from yogurt, so it is slightly more sour than soft serve, but also lower in fat.

Android 2.3, 2.4: Gingerbread

The Android gingerbread man on Google's campus
The Android gingerbread man on Google's campus | Source

Gingerbread was officially released in December 2010.

On December 6th, 2010, Google officially announced the first phone with Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread. The phone was the Nexus S, which Google co-developed with Samsung. The phone was originally only available for T-Mobile, but was later made for Sprint and AT&T as well.

Gingerbread supports SIP internet calling, NFC wireless transaction capability (if hardware is present), more than one camera, and gyroscopes and other sensors (barometers, gravimeters, and others are possible). It also features a download manager, some tweaks to allow usage on Tablets, and other system level tweaks for programmers.

As a dessert, gingerbread is basically a ginger-flavored cookie. It is often made to celebrate end-of-year holidays in the US. The cookies are cut into festive shapes—often the shape of a man—and decorated with icing and candy.

Android 3.0, 3.1, and 3.2: Honeycomb

The Android honeycomb on Google's campus
The Android honeycomb on Google's campus | Source

Honeycomb was released in February 2011, and was rapidly followed by 3.1 and 3.2 in July and August of 2011. Google posted a lot of previews and highlights on Honeycomb.

Honeycomb was made for tablets, which implied that Android OS 2.X was not. That did not stop Samsung and a slew of smaller manufacturers from putting out an army of Android 2.X tablets of various sizes before the end of 2010 as they tried to ride the wave of the iPad's success in time for the Christmas shopping season.

Motorola Xoom was the first Android 3.X tablet to be released. It has since been followed by many others.

Dessert-wise, honeycomb is a sheet of hexagonal cells bees build out of wax and fill with honey. Fresh honeycomb can be consumed as a dessert—some people chew or even consume the wax with the honey.

Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich

The Android ice cream sandwich on Google's campus
The Android ice cream sandwich on Google's campus | Source

Ice Cream Sandwich was Google's attempt to synthesize Honeycomb, it's tablet-only platform, with its mobile platform. Released in October 2011, it featured a new design and default font, as well as the ability to monitor and limit mobile data usage and other upgrades. Many devices were slow to adopt Ice Cream Sandwich. Three months after Ice Cream Sandwich, only one phone (Samsung Galaxy Nexus) had been released to run it.

In real life, an ice cream sandwich is a layer of ice cream, usually vanilla, sandwiched between two cookies, usually chocolate. They are often rectangular in shape.

Android 4.1: Jelly Bean

The JellyBean mascot on Google's campus
The JellyBean mascot on Google's campus

Jelly Bean came out in 2012. Biggest changes included "Google Now," an AI assistant that anticipates your needs and better, more interactive notifications. Jelly Bean also allows "voice typing," a built-in speech-to-text engine that does not rely on Internet or data.

Android 4.4: KitKat

The Android 4.4 KitKat mascot on Google Campus
The Android 4.4 KitKat mascot on Google Campus | Source

Google announced that Android 4.4 would be named KitKat on September 3, 2013. KitKat's parent company, Nestlé, was fully on board with the naming of operating system and launched an advertising campaign during KitKat's release. As part of the campaign, specially marked packages of Kitkat with Andy the Green Android on the package each contained a sweepstakes code that could win a new Nexus 7 Android tablet or Google Play store credit.

KitKat took the Google Now feature and took it a step further with "Ok Google." Ok Google allows people to access Google Now without even touching their phones—just verbally saying the phrase opens up the artificial intelligence assistant. KitKat also introduced Emoji to Google's keyboard.

Android 5.X: Lollipop

The Android lollipop on Google's campus
The Android lollipop on Google's campus | Source

Android 5 is called Lollipop, and it featured a brand new runtime called ART that no longer relies on the older DALVIK runtime (which is somewhat based on Sun/Oracle specs). Lollipop also contains other UI improvements and has an excellent battery life on some devices.

Android 6: Marshmallow mascot on Google Campus
Android 6: Marshmallow mascot on Google Campus

Android 6.X: Marshmallow

Android 6: Marshmallow is already out for the Nexus devices and is believed to be coming soon to all flagship devices before end of the year, and to other devices by mid 2016.

Marshmallow introduced several changes that can have significant impact. App permission model is now opt-in (grant specific permission as requested) rather than opt-out (all is permitted, then use App Ops to run off individual permissions). Doze mode allows the device to go into hibernation when idle, cutting power consumption to virtually nil. Fingerprint sensor support is now baked into the OS rather the vendor support, and USB C is now fully supported. Finally, Marshmallow allows one to format a microSD card and adopt it as if it's internal storage and share the same internal security level.

Where Is the Latest Operating System for My Phone?

The problem with Android OS is each phone maker and/or carrier can customize the phone, and those tweaks mean each carrier/maker will need to retest the OS completely before it can be released. The process often takes several months, and ExtremeTech does a great job of explaining why.

Even then, it is not guaranteed that your device can be updated to the latest version of Android OS. Devices that came with V1.5 (Cupcake) or V1.6 (Donut) can be upgraded to V2.1 or V2.2, but will not fully support all the features of the OS due to hardware limitations. Some examples:

  • Some of the earliest HTC Android phones, such as Legend, Desire, and Hero, do not support live wallpapers even when upgraded to Eclair (2.1) or later.
  • The original Google phone, the T-Mobile G1 (HTC Dream) only officially received the V1.5 or V1.6 updates. Some have developed later Android OS ROMs for the phone, but they require the phone to be rooted to use.
  • Motorola Droid, even when upgraded to Froyo (2.2), does not support mobile hotspot.

In general, you will need to wait for the carrier to release the OTA (over-the-air) updates or wait for a ROM developer, such as Cyanogen, to get a ROM version working for your phone.

The way the process works is Google has to release the SDK and ROM for the latest OS. Then each carrier and phone maker will go off and test it on their phones, add any local improvements, and eventually release it over the air and push it to your phone. The process takes several months.

Android OS itself don't have any hard requirements, but there are some practical ones. I would expect a device with 512 MB of RAM and 1 GHz CPU to run Gingerbread, but anything less may be problematic. For Lollipop and Marshmallow you'd expect at least a quadcore with 2 GB of RAM, if not the latest octo-core with 3 or 4GB of RAM. The recommended device specs will only go up with future Android operating systems.

What Is AOSP ROM vs. Factory ROM?

AOSP, or Android Open Source Project, is the source of all actual Android code that is open source. While Google did develop and is still developing Android, it periodically releases bug fixes and new versions to AOSP to continue its development. However, AOSP versions of ROM are a very generic ROM and need to be customized for different hardware implementations. You can't just download AOSP stuff into your device and expect it to run.

Thus, many ROM developers take AOSP code, customize it to their purposes, specialize it for one platform/device, and voilà, AOSP-based ROM. Not all features may be supported by AOSP ROM as some hardware does not have open source support.

A factory ROM, on the other hand, is based on the original firmware from the manufacturer. It is basically a tweaked version of the original ROM, probably with bloatware stripped out and tuned for maximum performance. This is only possible if the manufacturer has actually released such a ROM.

For example, to get Jelly Bean on an older phone, such as Motorola Droid Bionic (aka Targa), one can take the official Motorola 4.1 Jelly Bean update, then load one of the tweaked ROMs based on it. Or one can just Cyanogen Mod 10.1, which is based on AOSP. CM10.1 doesn't have nav dock or lap dock support, as those are proprietary to Motorola with no open source support, but it has variety of other features not available on the factory or tweaked ROMs.


I hope you have enjoyed our little excursion into Android history.

So what's the next dessert that starts with L? Wonder what sort of dessert Google will pick next for its Android version codename? Stay tuned.

More by this Author


matteo 5 years ago


kschang profile image

kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

... We all scream for?

agenttwozeroseven 5 years ago








Lucio 5 years ago

I scream, you scream, we scream for an ice cream!

I scream, you scream, we scream for an ice cream!

I scream, you scream, we scream for an ice cream!

AndroidSuperFan profile image

AndroidSuperFan 5 years ago

nice summary. great for reference

jezreel 5 years ago

sounds sooooo yummy.. :) nice article.:) i loooove my froyo cant wait to have my other desserts (wink!)

Grizlly 5 years ago

I tried to eat my Froyo ....... => on LG Optimus One

Sole 5 years ago

I didn't know i7 was the name of a river xD

kschang profile image

kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

Actually i7 CPUs are Arrandale, Bloomfield, or Capella. :)

John Hewitt jr profile image

John Hewitt jr 5 years ago

Very interesting...

jman 5 years ago

Great Article. Jelly Bean is in the works but I'm just waiting for gingerbread OTA. Why can't these companies just work together to have more compatibilities and keep the consumer updated regardless of device they are using?

kschang profile image

kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

@jamn -- They all want to use their own hardware, that's why...

vinner profile image

vinner 5 years ago from India

My phone is running on eclair. I want to upgrade. How can i do it

kschang profile image

kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

@vinner -- actually, that's answered in "Where's _____ for my phone?" section. :) But to summarize, if manufacturer won't update it, then see if XDA-Developers / mod community have a mod ROM for it. If not, you're out of luck.

zulquan 4 years ago

i think from j it should be jellybeans k should be kugelhopf and l should be licorice

jandroid 4 years ago

Junkie bread

kschang profile image

kschang 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

Is that a dessert? :D

jim 4 years ago

i love android

raghubir kapoor 4 years ago

why dont u try one with chocomousecake

kim 4 years ago

why there is no A and B in version name?

kschang profile image

kschang 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

@kim -- I am guessing those are reserved for 1.0 and the 0.9 versions. They simply were never mentioned. :)

vikalp 4 years ago

so what next after ice cream sandwich??????

kschang profile image

kschang 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

@vikalp -- probably "Jelly Beans", as "Jello" is a trademark.

cmuegz 4 years ago

I heard somewhere that Google originally planned to name Android platforms after robots. The first two releases of Android were originally to be codenamed "Astro" and "Bender" but to avoid copyright issues, they decided to take the names off and use desserts instead. They are now simply called Android 0.9/1.0.

rameshyadati 4 years ago

I have a samsung t 939 is it possible to possible to upgrade it to the latest version, if so, which one and how do I go about it?

kschang profile image

kschang 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

@rameshyadati -- your question is actually answered in the section "Where is _______ for MY Phone?"?

Droid User 4 years ago

My Legend which shipped with 2.1 ran live wallpapers just fine.

sindhu 4 years ago

Very nice...!

coolboy 4 years ago

cant wait for the next android it will be awesome!!!!!!!!

did any one heard about the new HTC zeta???? its a quad-core 2.5 GHz and 1GB of ram!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!that should be pretty damn fast

bir kapoor 4 years ago

i like android its smooth fast and user friendly thank u mr creator its taken off in bombay india every one in india can noe afford an android phone

great guy 4 years ago

i have a gingerbread but i cant eat it because its in my phone..

Mamadou Diakite 4 years ago

awesome i love all those things ..


Nia 4 years ago

Just curios, what's after Ice cream sandwich? Something with J... Jam?

kschang profile image

kschang 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

Right now the bet is on "Jelly Bean". :)

unplugged 4 years ago

its really nice..and very meaning full

book marked!!

gerhon 4 years ago

great info...

Kushan 4 years ago

"Android 2.2 mainly improved speed by adopting the Javascript "just-in-time" compiler engine from the Google browser "Chrome""

Errr not quite. Yes, there were browser improvements but that's not what made FroYo so special. What Google did was add a Just-in-time JAVA compiler to the Dalvik engine, making apps themselves run fast. Java and Javascript are not the same thing and shouldn't be confused.

sri 4 years ago


ritu 4 years ago

am impressed!

ravi 4 years ago

my phone android 2.3.3 convert to android 4.0 is possible

kschang profile image

kschang 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

I don't know. See the section "Where is _____ for my phone?"

xRevan116x 4 years ago

I am happy. Mainly because 2 months ago I installed Cyanogen Mod 9 on my Samsung Galaxy S GT-i9003.

However, since Jelly Bean is out, I want to get a Galaxy Nexus now. XD

Oh well. My income can't handle a new phone every half a year.

Trent 4 years ago

Android 5.0 is Licorice Bullet

Jamie 3 years ago

Here's an idea.....OS 3.1 should be called "Pie" or "Pi"....get it....3.14

bmg1001 3 years ago

Don't forget to update the page with Jellybean 4.2 and the 4.2.1 update that fixes the December bug!

niks 3 years ago

Hey i got my tab upgraded to jelly bean..and it is really smooth.....

shingshing 3 years ago

is ice cream sandwich better than froyo?

kschang profile image

kschang 3 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

It's better, but not *that* much better, IMHO of course. Though you should really be on Gingerbread. Froyo is old stuff.

kschang profile image

kschang 3 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

Updating my Bionic to Jelly Bean... stay tuned!

dprx505 3 years ago

thank you for the review.

3 years ago

"Though you should really be on gingerbread. Froyo is old stuff." How would you change to gingerbread if the operating system is froyo, and the android says there are no new updates?

kschang profile image

kschang 3 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

That's answered in "Where is _______ for MY Phone?"

iguidenetwork profile image

iguidenetwork 3 years ago from Austin, TX

Thanks for laying out the very interesting story behind Android names. They sound cute, besides. :)

020 3 years ago

new version of android can be chillibutter , limepickle

kschang profile image

kschang 3 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

I was thinking Limeaid, though that's not really a candy. :) Guess it'll have to be Lollipop.

Devam 2 years ago

This helped me very much, except for android Limepie.

also visit my blog on poems & comment...

Aman Dahiya 2 years ago

The android versions are not only named after food, they are also in alphabetical order.

Cupcake, Donut, Eclaire, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycome, and Ice Cream Sandwich,JellyBean,KitKat,LimePie,

kschang profile image

kschang 2 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

It's probably Licorice. Nobody say Lime Pie. It's always Key Lime Pie.

MR.FYP 2 years ago

It's an open source brain......

thanks huppages

riteshraaj 2 years ago

I like ot & thanks for google.

teejay 2 years ago

Add Your Ci have 2.1 and would like to know when im getting an upgrade it hurts ntt to download my favourite stuff omment...

Mike 2 years ago

My bet on the next OS Name is going to be Lollypop.

TOPTENTECH profile image

TOPTENTECH 2 years ago from USA

This is a pretty cool hub. I was really interested in this hub.

john cena 2 years ago

which is the latest android version with their rankings

kschang profile image

kschang 2 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

rani 2 years ago

i love android

Dheeraj 2 years ago

pls tell me how to update android ver. 4.0 to 4.4 i know there is answer in the summary but i can not understand pls help!!!!!!......

viks 2 years ago

very important....

kschang profile image

kschang 2 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

@Dheeraj : this was explained at the end: "In general, you will need to wait for the carrier to release the OTA (over-the-air) updates, or wait for a ROM developer, such as Cyanogen, to get a ROM version working for your phone."

If nobody makes 4.4 for your phone, then you are out of luck.

VX 2 years ago

Android 4.4 is unbelievably fast and cool in my Galaxy Note 3

Even the note is fast has 2.71 gb ram

As fast as bullet traib

VX 2 years ago

I just bought a Galaxy Note 3

When I connected it to my WiFi network and after sometime

An Android OS uptade 4.4 (Kitkat) appeared and I installed it.

Its pretty fast but there is no much difference between Jellybean and Kitkat.

Henny 2 years ago

Can I update my 4.2.2 android to 4.4 android?

poorni 2 years ago

its really useful...

hazini 2 years ago

thank you for detailed information..after kitkat ,what is the next version .?

erum 2 years ago

It is nice...

Jonny 2 years ago

Lollipop anyone?

none 14 months ago

can u add 6.0 marshmallow to the list?

bushra 11 months ago

Really all information to good ...

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