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Which Version of Android Is Best?

Ray from UT writes:

I am thinking about buying an Android tablet. However, I don’t know which version of the OS is the best. Can you shed some light on the difference among the Android OS (from 2.0 to 4.0)? Also, can you upgrade to a more advanced version after the purchase?

Android has a lot of great features, including customization, open development, and tons of devices to choose from. One thing that’s a problem though is something called fragmentation. Fragmentation means that instead of most Android devices running the same basic operating system software, there are many, many versions. So which Android version is best and what should you avoid?

It’s pretty simple:

(The higher the number, the more recent the version of Android. The codename (the words in parentheses) is a name Google assigns each version and is named after a snack)

Below Android 2.3: (Froyo, Eclair, Donut) Avoid it like the plague. While there is nothing inherently wrong with lower versions, the ones below 2.3 won’t support many modern applications. Besides, you don’t want to spend money on something already so far out of date.

Android 2.3: (Gingerbread) With a redesigned UI and support for integrated social networking and voice over IP calling, this is the lowest version of android I’d accept. This version includes 2.3, 2.3.x (x represents small improvements like 2.3.3)

Android 3.0: (Honeycomb) This version of android features another redesigned UI, primarily focused on tablet computers. This version also added USB support for plug-in devices like keyboards, joysticks and other devices. This version includes Android 3.0/3.1/3.2.x (once again, x represents small improvements like 3.2.6).

Android 4.0: (Ice Cream Sandwich) This is the latest version of Android, and includes an improved UI, optimized dual and quad core processor support. This is the version of Android you want, as it offers the latest Android experience. This version includes Android 4.0.x (x represents small improvements like 4.0.1).

Check with your device manufacturer to see if they offer any upgrades for the version of Android you have installed on a device. HTC and Samsung both have been pretty good about offering upgrades when possible, but the latest versions of Android can usually only be found on the newest hardware as many lower cost device manufactures see no benefit in offering free upgrades once the product’s replacement is out.