An early look at the software development kits (SDKs) for the new version of the Android mobile OS was released today. Android 1.5 is expected to be released soon, and today’s preview gives mobile developers an idea of what to expect from the new platform.
The new platform has quite a lot of new features for both users and developers. Here’s an overview of the main areas Android has updated:
User interface refinements: the new platform has refined the user interface for Android, including animate window transitions and accelerometer-based rotations for applications. It has also “polished” core functions from in-call and SMS to picture galleries and app management.
Performance improvements: a number of functions have had speed improvements, including the camera, GPS, and browser scrolling.
New features: there have been a lot of new features added. The most immediately interesting ones are:
- a selection of bundled home-screen widgets including a clock, calendar, music players and search apps;
- Web browser now includes copy’n paste in-browser, search within a page and tabbed bookmarks/history/most-visited screen
- a bunch of new Google applications: Google Talk is now integrated into Contacts, SMS, MMS, GMail, and Email applications. Batch actions are allowed on Gmail messages. You can upload videos to Youtube and photos to Picasa
New APIs and developer tools: a large selection of new and update APIs are available.
Google’s list is available here: http://developer.android.com/sdk/preview/
What we think?
I can’t really comment on the developer-side of this update, but from the consumer end it looks good. Users have long been fans of ease-of-use, and the home-screen apps that Android is shipping will make it’s devices closer in use to the computer desktop that people are used to. The integration of Google Talk into pretty much every communication channel on the device is a good step as well – being able IM your friends easily from different contact lists will be a popular move. And concentrating on browser speed increases is a solid plan.