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14 Aug, 2022
4 min time to read

In honour of Pavel Durov's messenger birthday, which takes place on August 14, Durov’s Code decided to trace the history of Telegram on the example of the Android app. We wanted to see how Telegram's interface has changed and improved, becoming, probably, the most convenient and progressive way to communicate, get information and work.

Epoch One. It's just getting started

On July 17, 2013, Pavel Durov announced a new contest for an Android messenger that works with MTProto, a data transfer protocol adapted for the fastest and most reliable operation through the mobile network.

Before Durov's Android Challenge had even finished, its participant Stepan Korshakov had already published a beta version of Telegram S Edition, his version of the messenger application compatible with MTProto, on August 22 of that year. In fact, this was the first unofficial release of Telegram for Android.

Korshakov, however, never won the contest, taking second place with a prize of 500,000 roubles. Developer Nikolai Kudashov - for Telegram N Edition - got his million roubles and the first place. On 9 October 2013, as part of the contest results announcement, Pavel Durov described this version as the most functional, stable and fastest.

And this is what it looks like:

Telegram N Edition as the winner of the contest was the basis for future versions of the messenger on Android. For this reason, official Telegram updates after the contest ended are apparently still published to this day at the same address on Google Play as Kudashov's development.

In addition to seamless implementation of the contest tasks, the app has additional features such as an Arabic RTL version or connection status. Before the contest Nikolai had practically never developed for Android. His victory in the finals is proof that with proper persistence, nothing is impossible,"

said Pavel Durov.

Groups of up to a hundred users, secret chats, self-destructing messages, sharing files of up to 1 GB in size - Telegram could already boast having all these features in its early days. By the way, the first versions for Android looked quite restrained and uncluttered, which some apps lacked at the time.

Epoch Two. Minimalist and fast-paced

Material Design principles have been taking hold on Android for a long time, and Telegram clearly wasn't going to delay in implementing its application interface according to material design principles.

A massive update under version 2.0 was released on 19 November 2014 - just months after Google unveiled a new interface philosophy for its operating system.

It was the first major update to the Android client and, it's worth noting, a pretty successful one. The Telegram team then updated every screen and worked on the way every element looked and felt. It was impossible not to fall in love with the interface.

That's because the app's elegant animation appearance was accompanied by incredible speed and stability. Importantly, the design was then available not only for the latest Android 5.0 and Android 4.0+, but also for older OS versions.

And it was also with this major update, in addition to new privacy features, that Telegram for Android got a full-text search feature. Back then, this was another revolution from Pavel Durov. All for the reason that search worked much faster than in Gmail.

Even with a few hundred thousand messages, they could be found almost instantly. The approach to making things fast is still evident to this day: a recent update, for example, introduced animated emoji with smooth animation - hundreds of these emoji are able to load simultaneously without glitches on any smartphone.

Epoch Three. Is sky the limit?

Of course, the Android client always had plenty of differences from the iOS version, as the Telegram app for iOS has always followed Apple's design philosophy, while the Android app has followed Google's hallmark.

On 10 December 2018, all that has changed. In version 5.0, Telegram for Android received a significant design update. Since then, for example, it's become much easier to access shared media from user accounts, groups, and channels.

These files then also got high quality clear previews and faster download speeds. Telegram has also redesigned its settings interface. The key design features of version 5.0 have remained in the Android app to this day. However, more and more new animations and features have been added to it.

On March 11, 2022, for example, the Telegram 8.6 update brought a translucent interface to Android, somewhat reminiscent of the iOS style that appeared in mid-2021. Improvements to Telegram's interface continue to appear. With each update, the app does seem more lively - thankfully, this doesn't spoil the eye, as the messenger tries to continue to retain a note of concise design.

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