Android 1.6, codenamed “Donut,” was released in September 2009, just a few months after Cupcake. While it was a relatively minor update compared to its predecessor, Donut still introduced several key features and improvements that enhanced the overall Android experience.
Building on the momentum of Cupcake, Google aimed to refine the Android experience further and address some gaps in the platform’s capabilities. Donut was a testament to Google’s commitment to rapid iteration and responsiveness to user feedback.
Donut brought about a series of refinements and new features. One of the most notable changes was the improvement in the Android Market’s search experience, making app discovery easier for users.
First devices to receive the update:
The HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1) continued to be at the forefront of Android updates, receiving the Donut update. Additionally, newer devices entering the market around this time also came equipped with or were updated to Android 1.6.
Android 1.6 Donut introduced several new features and improvements:
- Improved Android Market: Enhanced search, app screenshots, and better app descriptions made the app discovery process smoother.
- Quick Search Box: A universal search feature that allowed users to search across various sources, including the web, apps, and contacts.
- Camera and Gallery enhancements: Faster camera access and an improved gallery layout for better photo management.
- Battery usage indicator: Allowed users to monitor which apps and services were consuming the most battery.
- Support for CDMA networks: Expanded Android’s reach to carriers and devices using CDMA technology.
The user experience in Donut was further refined. The Quick Search Box made accessing information faster and more intuitive. The improved Android Market and enhanced camera and gallery functionalities meant that users had a more seamless and enriched experience with their devices.
Android 1.6 continued to be built on the Linux kernel, emphasizing its open-source nature. The introduction of CDMA support was significant, as it expanded Android’s potential user base and allowed for a broader range of devices and carriers.
Security enhancements were incremental in Donut. While the primary focus remained on expanding features and improving the user experience, the groundwork for more comprehensive security features in subsequent versions was continuously being established.
Android 1.6 Donut was generally well-received. While some viewed it as a minor update, the improvements in the Android Market and the introduction of the Quick Search Box were particularly praised. The tech community continued to be optimistic about Android’s trajectory and its potential to challenge other dominant mobile OSes.