With so many rugged Android devices hitting the market now we thought we’d do a quick beginners guide to Android as we see it on Rugged PDA’s and Rugged Tablets.  Android Operating Systems are split into 2 main types.  One aimed at Smartphones and 1 aimed at Tablets and they’re subtly different.

Android History

Lets not forget just how young Android still is.    It was only unveiled as an OS in 2007 and the first device sporting the Android OS was launched in September 2008 so it’s still a baby compared to most mobile operating systems out there.  based on LINUX and with an open source development stance it has however become the fastest growing and now the most widely used operating in the smart phone market, even overtaking Apple IOS in late 2010.

In the rugged market things are very different though.  Whilst there are quite a fair few Rugged Android PDA’s and Rugged Tablets now available, only a few sport the true “Rugged” badge in our view and the market remains solidly Microsoft for now at least!

Android on Smartphone

I’ll explain this by releases and dates.

  • Version 1.0 – Sept 2008
  • Version 1.1 – Feb 2009
  • Version 1.5 – Apr 2009 (Cupcake)
  • Version 1.6 – Sept 2009 (Donut)
  • Version 2.0 – Oct 2009 (Eclair)
  • Version 2.1 – Jan 2010 (Also Eclair)
  • Version 2.2 – May 2010 (Froyo)
  • Version 2.3 – Dec 2010 (Gingerbread)
  • Version 2.4 – Summer 2012  (Ice Cream Sandwich (Runs on PDA’s and Tablets))

Android on Tablets

  • Version 3.0 – Oct 2011 (Honeycomb)
  • version 4.0 – Oct 2011 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • Version 4.1 – Jul 2012 (Jelly Bean)

The Most used and current versions

Current Android Distirbution

Current Android Distirbution

The problem with Android is the fact that it has been developed very quickly and the versions just keep coming out.  So, if you  look at the table above that we took from the Android developer network itself you’ll see an alarming trend towards using the latest versions of the OS.  Anything coming out now will have either 2.2 or 2.3.x if it’s a rugged android PDA or v 4.0 if it’s a rugged tablet.  We practically don’t see any other versions now.

The Issue With Android Support

Because Android is open-source, it really means you don’t get any support unless it’s through the open-source community and if you look at the image above then you’ll see instantly the versions that won’t be getting too much attention any longer!  Now in the rugged market we’re trying to get manufacturers to support the OS with mixed  returns on expertise but even if we do succeed, we end up stuck with an out of date OS that goes end of life in the Android community within months!  Pidion have already updated the OS version on their kit which has caused delays and real pain for customers so even the best laid plans go ka-ka.

So it’s left to you, or us to sort out!!  We’ll talk about this in the next article.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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3 Responses

  1. Frances

    TY for this, I just cant get my head round all these names. So are you saying that anything below 2.3 is not supported? Surely we can get support on 2.2 and 2.1? Can you upgrade?

  2. Mark

    Probably just a formatting issue in your tables: you’ll find Ice Cream Sandwich and later run on Phones as well as Tablets. Only Honeycomb was Tablet only.

    • ruggedandmobile

      Hi Mark, cheers for this. It wasn’t a formatting thing, in fact we debated this a bit here before I wrote the blog and then I left the name out accidentally for v2.4!! It looks like ICS is known as v2.4 on PDA’s but also v4 ton tablets, drawing more of a parallel to how Apple work thei IOS OS.

      I think we’re going to see some nice complicated times ahead of us with W8, Win RT and Android!