I didn't bother touching Google's first foray into the mobile operating system (OS) world until Android 2.x with the HTC Desire. The first few iterations of Android were released during a time when I was still hypnotized with the first iPhone, and following that, the iPhone 3G.
At the time Apple really were the kings of the mobile OS world and Android felt like it was just going through teething stages and wasn't ready to compete. This rang true through most Android 2.x releases, followed by the tablet-exclusive OS, Android 3.x "Honeycomb".
Honeycomb was a mess. I remember using it on the original ASUS Transformer tablet, and compared to the original, first-gen iPad, it felt lackluster, slow, and unfinished. Google were tripping over themselves trying to compete, but slowly, they were molding their mobile OS to compete with the big boy in the playground.
Apple's iOS began to slow down, refining itself, but adding no killer apps or features. They still relied on Google's Maps app, which we saw them remove from iOS 6, and the look of iOS hasn't really even changed since the first iOS, which is a huge disappointment.
Then Google changed everything (again?) with Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich". Android 4.0 was Google's first real, "true" mobile OS - that could slide itself onto a smartphone or a tablet, and was the beginning of Google's now triumph in the mobile OS arena.
Most phones are now shipping with Android 4.0 ICS, and so they should - it's a great OS, but Google didn't stop there, and their train of success has continued to move forward. With the release of the Nexus 7, which was collaboration between ASUS and Google, saw the release of Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean". We reviewed Jelly Bean, and to this day, it is still not getting baked into enough devices. But, it was the most refined version of Android yet - and until Android 4.2, it was the best version of Android available.