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Android 1.6 (Donut): SDK Available, Big Backend Updates

We teased you last week when we told you that Cupcake had arrived… but now it really has – at least for developers. In a post on the Android Developers Blog, Xavier Duchrohet announced the availability of Android 1.6 SDK and provided a list of changes. Among them are support for additional screen resolutions (QVGA, WVGA), CDMA telphony APIs (Yay Verizon/Sprint), gesture APIs, text-to-speech, Quick Search integration, Android Market updates, camera improvements and more:

One update that might SEEM small but sounds INCREDIBLY useful and not mentioned much elsewhere is the new battery status indicator:

A new battery usage screen lets users see which apps and services are consuming battery power. If the user determines that a particular service or application is using too much power, they can take action to save the battery by adjusting settings, stopping the application, or uninstalling the application.

With smartphones the increasingly long list of awesome capabilities often comes with the question – “but how is batterly life?” If this feature helps users to accurately make that assessment themselves, it’ll go a LONG way to improving overall usability of Android phones and devices.

By the way, the text-to-speech engine combined with the automatic language translation is absolutely AWESOME! I’m wondering if this requires an internet connection for translation and text-to-speech or not. This could be a godsend in a foreign country, but many people turn off their data services when abroad to prevent incurring ridiculous roaming fees. Anyone that can chime in on this?

You can learn about all the changes in more depth by reading the Android 1.6 Platform Highlights. A couple questions… what new feature are you most excited about? When do you think this will get pushed to phones as a consumer ready OTA update?




  • son

    text to speech is great, does it work the other way around… i mean if i want to send a text message, i just sort of dictate and translated into texts, then send the sms… am anxious to see how the camera improves….

  • son

    oh yeah one more thing bluetooth for file/data transfer… phone as modem as well while at it…

  • qlimax

    Expanded support for screen densities and resolutions

    Android 1.6 adds screen support that enables applications to be rendered properly on different display resolutions and densities. Developers can also specify the types of screens supported by their application.

    Nice Work Google !

  • Utz
  • http://headtoheadracing.appspot.com/ Craig

    “We teased you last week when we told you that Cupcake had arrived” … I think you mean “Donut”. :)

  • Dweller

    What happened to multitouch? Is it still coming in donut?

  • Phil

    Why do people look over the VMP options as bing big. Thats major if you ask me. It was the last hurdle for me to be able to really get some work done for my job on the go. I have to maintain some servers and the combination of VPN and ssh will let me do that wherever I am. It opens up alot of possibilities.

  • powermite

    That battery usage feature does sound really cool..

  • stjojsdofg

    Is there any information available concerning the adding of WPA2 Enterprise encryption capabilities for Wifi?

  • ryan

    dang i dont get any kinda of shout out?

  • Rob Jackson

    @ryan lol i was so late on this that i had about 1234524 billion people tip it. so i’ll thank you here in the comments for being one of them. thank you. :)

  • Alex

    You can already get TTS on the phone from a market applicaiton, and various apps use it (bubble, i think some compass ones, etc.) so if you wanna try it out before donut, then go for it. I think it’s called “TTS Service”. Also, it doesn’t require an internet connection.

  • Luke

    @Dweller here is an overview of the new features (it does talk about a new gesture framework) http://developer.android.com/sdk/android-1.6-highlights.html

  • ryan

    no worries rob just giving you a hard time

    but anyways well since its available for devs. i would imagine it has to be coming sometime soon?

    how long did the devs have 1.5 before it was released?

  • Dennis

    The battery indicator thing does sound nice.. I’m sure there are things I kill to save battery, that I probably don’t need to.

  • http://www.atlalabs.com Jonathan

    You missed the most important feature update there is: THE ABILITY TO STOP APPLICATIONS ON THE FLY FROM THE OS… this feature gets masked under the notion of an improved battery monitor (which can stop power-hungry apps), but the exclusion of user control over processes was the biggest mistake of the original Android architecture.