The evolution of Android design: from Cupcake to Jelly Bean

The evolution of Android design: from Cupcake to Jelly Bean
It’s amazing to see just how fast Android has grown over the past couple of years, but one change has been especially striking if you look back at the first versions of the platform. That is of course its design. Starting with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google has brought a brand new Holo UI to Android, making everything look much more modern and easy on the eye.

The icons changed, the menus changed, the whole stock look of Android evolved for the better. And while Android has been evolving steadily throughout the years, it’s even more striking to think about the fact that Android’s biggest rival iOS basically hasn’t evolved in terms of design in the last six years, up until iOS 7.

The collection of screenshots from different Android versions (right below, by CyanogenMod developer Carlos Hernandez), shows that evolution, but it also shows how much devices prior to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich differ. Take a look.

Thanks, Alex!

source: Carlos Hernandez via Mobilissimo



1. Kevinphantom

Posts: 82; Member since: Jun 17, 2013

Fun to me started with 1.6 xperia x10 jan 2010

29. hms2407

Posts: 94; Member since: Apr 25, 2013

my first android device was actually the first android device,htc came with android 1.0 vanilla

31. vananucho

Posts: 83; Member since: Jun 01, 2011

Me too! *brofist* x10 was a headturner back in the day, everyone was like "OMG IT'S SCREEN IS GINORMOUS OMFG DAT PHONE!" (Apart from the HD2 which screen was bigger) But yeah shortly after 4'' was the standard and then everyone was like "meh"

2. wendygarett unregistered

Tbh, I would much prefer lockscreen-less os where you straight away jump to homescreen, but I'm glad android giving me the choice to unable it :) thank you android :)

30. Diazene

Posts: 129; Member since: May 01, 2013

unable? it's called disable

3. Reverence

Posts: 224; Member since: Jul 16, 2012

and apple says android is not innovative.. Buh!

6. msa1988

Posts: 418; Member since: Mar 30, 2010

Apple never said this. Apple is saying itself is innovative, but never took a stab at Android. If Apple would have said this, it would be like a BMW owner telling a Lamborghini owner it's car isn't as good (both good, but ones clearly better than the other).

17. gagdude

Posts: 33; Member since: Mar 18, 2013

you obviously have no idea what crap apple says

24. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Apple does take stabs at Android, but I've never seen them call Android not-innovative. They joke about fragmentation and NFC, but that doesn't solve the fact that 50+% of Android users run a more advanced OS than iOS6.

4. taikucing unregistered

Not to mention custom android roms with beautiful interface & more features like MIUI, cyanogenmod, etc.

5. whoyton2

Posts: 142; Member since: Jun 19, 2013

The evolution of the worlds most advanced mobile OS....

7. feres13

Posts: 307; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

Clearly before ICS Android was crap... but with 4.x it's now the best OS ever. The most advanced mobile OS isn't iOS, sorry Apple

8. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

No need to say sorry, Apple is the one who should say sorry to themselves.


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

ED and Whoyton and TROLL back after a weeks vacation by PhoneArena

10. Jason2k13

Posts: 1462; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

gingerbread 2.3 is still a great OS.

14. feres13

Posts: 307; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

Yeah but it was still laggy and the app selection back then was smaller than iOS, not to mention the UI... Back then only the S2 was a great phone, Touchwiz was actually great and smooth and looked good compared to stock. But i was talking about stock, not skinned versions


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

Don't blame the OS, but blame those slow Arm Cortex A8 CPU! Oems knew that those CPU are outdated to run that heavy hungry resource OS Android, which needs A15s to run it smooth, 2 years ago! Now just the thought that you had 7 widgets and having 5 accounts active Syncs, along with live wallpaper and installing 10+ apps, I remember it use to Lag so much! I would prefer intel i3 CPU or the Arm A57 CPU Soc for a ultimate great all round performance!

22. AlanB412

Posts: 32; Member since: Jul 23, 2012

I wouldn't say Android was crap but it did sort of look the part sometimes. Froyo and Gingerbread were amazing OS's and even back then my phone had more functionality than any iPhone did.

25. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

I wouldn't call Gingerbread crap, but its UI is definitely dated. ICS was a huge leap in terms of interface, and Jelly Bean in terms of performance. It's really amazing that Android went from being that OS that you had to get if you didn't have AT&T to the biggest OS.

28. JC557

Posts: 1919; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

Sense on my Thunderbolt made Gingerbread very usable, same thing with 2.2 on my old Incredible. I didn't care much for the iPhone in those days and instead bought the Motorola Droid almost immediately after launch. If it had more than 256MB RAM i probably wouldn't have gotten the Droid Inc and would have lasted me well into the more mature LTE phone era.

9. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

What about android 3.0 honey comb?

12. Jason2k13

Posts: 1462; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

yeah they left that out, but i think they only wanted to compare the OS on phones.

11. Slammer

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

In my opinion, Android is one of the largest success stories of the decade. It grew to be the most desireable and largest mobile platform in just 6 short years. No doubt Apple is a success as well. But, Apple has 30 years of experience and only found salvation with the coming of the ipod touch and more noticeably the iPhone. Android had to manipulate a no name product through the shadows of Microsoft's dominance and Apple's popularity to prove that it could and should be a viable choice for mobile computing. So while adversaries may stake a claim in dismissing Android as being an unpolished platform, we must look at the unbelievable inroads that it has made in capitalizing on earlier fragmentation that understandingly being tagged to a virgin OS, and transform it to a highly capable system that just becomes better and better with no signs of stopping the progression. I've thoroughly enjoyed growing with the platform and having the platform grow with my needs and desires. John B.


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

So hope the KLP will have 120FPS refresh rate, now just imagine how super smooth that would be.....! At 60 FPS it's ok, but come on Google it's time to revolutionise it! Android FTW

26. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Screens are 60fps usually. There's no point in going any higher. I vote for battery optimization if it's possible.

18. hms2407

Posts: 94; Member since: Apr 25, 2013

and this is what i call pure fanboys,you jelly :P


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

There not jelly, more like unaware, cause they only have used Nokia and Apple brands This is so pathetic! I'm using the iP5 where you don't have the options for Trademark Registered Certified Symbols! Nor does the App Store have keyboard downloads like Android Playstore where you have Swype AI keyboard

20. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

The most impresive Android changes have not been the above views, but the fluid way it runs. As they have improved Android and got it to multi-core handsets, the pure abitlity of Android phones to become what the user wants it to has been amazing. For all the users out there, the ones who do not appreciate what Google has made are the ones who just set up a phone and do nothing else with it. I truly appreciate what Android brings as far as customization, industry changing extras, and hardware innovations.

27. hms2407

Posts: 94; Member since: Apr 25, 2013

IOS=60 fps performance only with icons and still lags sometimes Wp8=60 fps with live tiles and a attached app drawer Android=60 fps performance with live wallpapers,widgets icons,appdrawer and continuous multitask This is why I love android

21. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

It's been a great evolution for Android.

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