Android Types: The 4 Versions Powering the Mobile World

By Tibor Moes / Updated: June 2023

Android Types: The 5 Versions Powering the Mobile World

Android Types

Imagine you’re on a treasure hunt. Each clue leads you to a new place, more exciting than the last. This thrilling adventure is much like the evolution of Android operating systems. From its humble beginnings to its modern-day sophistication, each version introduces features that are like treasures waiting to be explored.


The Android operating system, under the Google umbrella, is a continually evolving platform for mobile devices. Each new type or version introduces more advanced features, improves security, and enhances user interfaces, making smartphones smarter.

  • Android 9.0 Pie (August 2018): Incorporated AI-powered enhancements, app ‘actions’ based on prediction, and digital well-being tools.
  • Android 10 (September 2019): Introduced system-wide dark mode, new navigation gestures, and advanced privacy settings.
  • Android 11 (September 2020): Enhanced device control features, conversation bubbles, and improved privacy with one-time permissions.
  • Android 12 (October 2021): Focused on a completely redesigned interface called “Material You”, improved privacy features, and better auto-rotate and haptic feedback experiences.
  • Android 13 (August 2022)

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Android Types – In-depth

Android 9.0 Pie: Your Digital Assistant Turned Superhero

Just as a well-baked pie is a sweet delight, Android 9.0 Pie, rolled out in August 2018, was a treat for Android lovers worldwide. Let’s imagine Pie as a superhero, who’s come to save the day with an array of superpowers, or rather super features, ready to change the way we use our smartphones.

The Power of Prediction

One of the greatest powers Pie brought with it was the power of prediction. With its new feature called ‘App Actions’, our superhero Android Pie began predicting your next move. If you plug in your headphones, voila! Your favorite playlist is already suggested. It’s as if Pie has a crystal ball, forecasting our next move to make the smartphone experience smoother and faster.

Slices – Tiny Superheroes

‘Slices’ was another remarkable feature introduced with Android 9.0 Pie. Imagine tiny superheroes assisting our main superhero. Slices would show you smaller parts of your apps right when you needed them. Looking for a ride home? Just start typing ‘Uber’ in Google Search, and a ‘Slice’ of the Uber app pops up, showing the cost and time for a trip home. It’s like having a mini-concierge service in your pocket!

The Power of Well-being

In this age, where we are glued to our phones, Android Pie decided to play the mindful superhero. The ‘Digital Wellbeing’ tools, a dashboard, an app timer, a wind-down feature, and a do not disturb enhancement, all come together to give you a comprehensive view of your digital habits. Like a caring friend, it nudged users towards a healthier relationship with technology.

Adaptive Battery and Brightness – The Power Savers

Pie also brought with it Adaptive Battery and Adaptive Brightness. Like an energy-conscious superhero, the Adaptive Battery learns how you use your apps and prioritizes battery for the ones you use most. On the other hand, Adaptive Brightness learns how you like your screen brightness settings and automatically adjusts. Saving your phone’s energy had never been so effortless!

Android 9.0 Pie was more than just an operating system update; it was a turning point in our smartphone experience. With its superpowers of prediction, convenience, digital well-being, and energy-saving, Pie was the superhero we never knew we needed.

Android 10: The Smartphone Maestro

In September 2019, Android 10 stepped onto the scene, much like a maestro preparing to conduct an orchestra. This time, Google decided to skip the dessert-themed names and settled for the simple and straightforward Android 10. The maestro was ready to harmonize our smartphone experience with new features and enhancements, setting the rhythm for a user-centric approach to technology.

The Symphony of Navigation Gestures

One of the striking elements Android 10 brought to the orchestra was the new system of navigation gestures. Imagine our maestro (Android 10) conducting a symphony, where every swipe and flick of the baton is creating an enchanting melody. Similarly, in Android 10, a swipe from the left or right edge of the screen would go back, a swipe up would go home, and a swipe up and hold would open recent apps. Like a harmonious symphony, navigating your phone became more fluid and intuitive.

Dark Mode: The Beautiful Night-time Melody

Android 10 introduced system-wide dark mode, the soothing night-time melody we had all been waiting for. This feature allowed all the apps on the phone to adopt a dark theme, which is easier on the eyes and can save battery life. Much like a maestro changing the tone of the music for a soothing lullaby, Android 10’s dark mode provided relief to our eyes from glaring screens.

Privacy Controls: The Maestro Protects

A true maestro ensures the safety of their orchestra, and Android 10 did exactly that with advanced privacy settings. It introduced more granular permissions, letting you decide what data your apps can access. Want to share your location data with an app only while you’re using it? No problem! Android 10 put you, the user, in the conductor’s seat when it comes to privacy.

Smart Reply: The Symphony’s Crescendo

To top it all, Android 10 introduced the Smart Reply feature. It suggests responses to messages and even recommends actions. Got an address in your message? Smart Reply will suggest opening it in Maps. It’s like a crescendo in our symphony, simplifying our interactions and making them more efficient.

With its well-composed features, Android 10 – our maestro – made our smartphone experience more harmonious, user-friendly, and secure. It set a new rhythm, resonating with users globally, making technology more personal and responsive to individual needs.

Android 11: The Masterful Juggler of Our Digital World

September 2020 saw the unveiling of Android 11, like a masterful juggler stepping into the digital circus. This time, Google focused on refining features and improving usability, aiming to keep all of our digital balls in the air with grace and ease. Let’s see how Android 11 juggles our digital needs.

Chat Bubbles: Juggling Conversations

Think of a juggler keeping multiple balls in the air simultaneously, that’s what Android 11 does with our conversations. It introduced ‘Chat Bubbles’, a feature that keeps our chats easily accessible no matter what we’re doing on our device. Got a message while watching a video? A bubble pops up without interrupting your binge-watching session. It’s like having a personal assistant juggle your conversations so you can focus on the fun.

Device Control and Media Control: The Juggler’s Props

Another feather in Android 11’s cap was the addition of quick device and media controls. Imagine our juggler adding more props to his act, all the while maintaining a seamless performance. With Android 11, controlling connected devices like your smart lights or thermostat became as easy as swiping your screen. Managing your music and videos, switching between devices, all came down to a simple swipe and tap. Our juggler ensured our digital performance went without a hitch.

Privacy Improvements: The Juggler’s Shield

Just like a juggler’s hat provides protection from the sun, Android 11 brought in more shields for our privacy. The standout feature was one-time permissions, allowing you to grant single-use access to your microphone, camera, or location. Once you move away from the app, the permissions are reset, and the app must ask for access again. It’s like our juggler adding a protective barrier to our digital show, ensuring we enjoy the spectacle worry-free.

Notification History: No Drop in the Juggling Act

Ever lost a notification in the flurry of your busy day? With Android 11, our juggler ensures that no ball – or in this case, notification – ever drops. The notification history feature allows you to see all your notifications from the past 24 hours, so you never miss a thing.

Like a masterful juggler keeping multiple balls in the air, Android 11 managed to keep all our digital needs in balance. Its focus on refining features and enhancing usability made sure our digital performance was a spectacle to enjoy. Android 11 showed us that the show indeed, must go on!

Android 12: The Artful Chameleon of the Digital Realm

Android 12 was gearing up to step into the digital scene, promising to act like a chameleon, adapting and morphing to reflect you and your style. Let’s take a sneak peek at how Android 12 aims to transform the smartphone canvas.

Material You: The Chameleon’s Colors

The highlight of Android 12 is the introduction of ‘Material You’. Just like a chameleon changes its colors based on its environment, ‘Material You’ is designed to change based on you. It’s a radical new design language that personalizes your device’s look and feel based on your wallpaper. From buttons to sliders, everything adapts to the colors you choose. It’s like our chameleon, Android 12, painting a unique canvas that is entirely you.

Improved Privacy Features: The Chameleon’s Camouflage

A chameleon is known for its ability to blend in for protection, and Android 12 follows suit with improved privacy features. A new privacy dashboard provides a clear and concise view of when and how often apps access your data. And to keep those prying apps in check, Android 12 introduces a green dot in the corner of your screen to let you know when your camera or microphone is in use. Like a chameleon’s natural camouflage, Android 12 seeks to protect your digital identity.

Auto-Rotate and Haptic Feedback Improvements: The Chameleon’s Agility

Just as a chameleon seamlessly transitions from branch to branch, Android 12 brings agility to our digital experience with enhanced auto-rotate and haptic feedback experiences. The auto-rotate feature becomes smarter, using your front-facing camera (with utmost respect for privacy) to see if you’re looking at the screen and adjust accordingly. Haptic feedback becomes richer, providing a more immersive gaming experience. These features bring a level of smoothness and immersion that mirrors a chameleon’s agility in its environment.

It’s evident that the upgrade aims to be as adaptable, protective, and agile as a chameleon. By personalizing the user experience, enhancing privacy, and improving interactive feedback, Android 12 is set to redefine our relationship with our devices. With Android 12, it seems the future is as unique and adaptable as you are!


From Android 9.0 Pie, the predictive superhero, to Android 12, the adaptable chameleon, Android operating systems have come a long way in augmenting our smartphone experience. Each new version has set the stage for the next, improving usability, adding new features, and prioritizing user privacy. What began as a simple software to power mobile devices has evolved into a multi-faceted platform that’s shaping our digital lifestyle. It’s an exciting journey of evolution, and we can’t wait to see where Android takes us next!

How to stay safe online:

  • Practice Strong Password Hygiene: Use a unique and complex password for each account. A password manager can help generate and store them. In addition, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever available.
  • Invest in Your Safety: Buying the best antivirus for Windows 11 is key for your online security. A high-quality antivirus like Norton, McAfee, or Bitdefender will safeguard your PC from various online threats, including malware, ransomware, and spyware.
  • Be Wary of Phishing Attempts: Be cautious when receiving suspicious communications that ask for personal information. Legitimate businesses will never ask for sensitive details via email or text. Before clicking on any links, ensure the sender's authenticity.
  • Stay Informed. We cover a wide range of cybersecurity topics on our blog. And there are several credible sources offering threat reports and recommendations, such as NIST, CISA, FBI, ENISA, Symantec, Verizon, Cisco, Crowdstrike, and many more.

Happy surfing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions.

What is an Android operating system?

The Android operating system, developed by Google, is a software platform that powers a wide variety of mobile devices. It provides the interface that allows users to interact with their devices. Each new version or type of Android introduces more advanced features, security improvements, and enhancements to the user interface.

How often does Google release a new version of Android?

Traditionally, Google releases a new major version of Android annually. However, throughout the year, they release updates and patches to these versions to improve functionality and security.

What's the difference between Android 10 and Android 11?

While both Android 10 and 11 come with unique features, the key differences lie in their focus areas. Android 10 introduced system-wide dark mode, new navigation gestures, and advanced privacy settings. Android 11, on the other hand, refined these features and improved usability, with additions like ‘Chat Bubbles’ for easy access to conversations, improved device controls, and enhanced privacy with one-time permissions.
Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.

Over the years, he has tested most of the best antivirus software for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, as well as many VPN providers.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

This website is hosted on a Digital Ocean server via Cloudways and is built with DIVI on WordPress.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.

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