Android 1.6 with More Bells and Whistles

Sep 17, 2009

The new Android version code-named Donut comes with Kernel 2.6.29, more applications and usability improvements. Developers now have more possibilities with the new hardware capabilities of the software development kit (SDK).

Among the new Donut user features is a battery usage indicator per application to identify and adjust or drop resource-hungry apps. Another feature is a configuration control panel for various VPN types (L2TP, IPSEC, and PPTP). Add to that a quick search framework across multiple sources directly from the home screen. Searches increase in relevance by time, so that the more recently accessed contacts or apps are listed first. The quick search feature should also help developers in making their Android applications "searchable" in response to user queries.

OpenCore from the San Diego CA company PacketVideo provides multimedia support in Android.

The Android 1.6 SDK, updated for the operating system, also provides a series of new enhancements. The SDK provides its users immediate access to updates and extensions. The development environment itself, for example, has a larger selection of screen sizes and resolutions. Developers can now use the

<supports-screens>

element to set small, normal, large, any density and resizable screen values. In a similar vein, the

android.graphics

classes now support scaling for different screen densities.

The new

android.speech.tts

classes provide text-to-speech synthesis, in English, Italian, Spanish, French and German. A GestureBuilder tool allows recognizing and capturing users' on-screen gestures (strokes) and integrating them into Android apps. Android 1.6 also supports code division multiple access (CDMA) for broadband transfer in the telephony stack. Not least of all is inclusion of the Opencore 2 media engine, a product of the PacketVideo firm that integrated a multimedia subsystem into Android and is a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance.

The Android 1.6 SDK is available for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows at the developers download site.

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