Remember what we told you about the Android 2.0 SDK requiring an NDA? Scratch that – the Android Developers Blog have just announced that the SDK now supports 2.0 Eclair! I’m guessing that NDA was used because the “test devices” were Motorola Droid and THAT was what should have been kept hush hush.
Check out the video Google put together to highlight the important updates and additions of our latest yummy dessert – Eclair!
Here is a quick overview of the reasons to be excited:
Android 2.0 brings new developer APIs for sync, Bluetooth, and a few other areas. Using the new sync, account manager and contacts APIs, you can write applications to enable users to sync their devices to various contact sources. You can also give users a faster way to communicate with others by embedding Quick Contact within your application. With the new Bluetooth API, you can now easily add peer-to-peer connectivity or gaming to your applications. To get a more complete list of the new capabilities you can add to your applications, please go to the Android 2.0 highlights page.
The Bluetooth API with peer-to-peer communication and proximity based social interactions looks absolutely AWESOME and I’m eager to see how developers utilize this new capability. Of course it’ll be difficult to test with unless you have an Android 2.0 capable device which there are currently ZERO of on the market… but that will Soon Change.
The centralized account manager will also provide a new level of tighter integration between your phone and your accounts elsewhere in the world. As one Android Developer told us:
This means developers can now have apps read (with permission, I assume) the accounts from the phone so tighter integration with google apps will be possible
What does this all mean in terms of new and updated features for the consumer? Some of the neatest and simplest updated include Exchange Support, combined inbox, digital zoom and other camera upgrades, multi-touch, HTML 5 support and calendar improvements.
Google provided a more complete list:
Contacts and accounts
* Multiple accounts can be added to a device for email and contact synchronization, including Exchange accounts. (Handset manufacturers can choose whether to include Exchange support in their devices.)
* Developers can create sync adapters that provide synchronization with additional data sources.
* Quick Contact for Android provides instant access to a contact’s information and communication modes. For example, a user can tap a contact photo and select to call, SMS, or email the person. Other applications such as Email, Messaging, and Calendar can also reveal the Quick Contact widget when you touch a contact photo or status icon.
* Exchange support.
* Combined inbox to browse email from multiple accounts in one page.
* Search functionality for all saved SMS and MMS messages.
* Auto delete the oldest messages in a conversation when a defined limit is reached.
* Built-in flash support
* Digital zoom
* Scene mode
* White balance
* Color effect
* Macro focus
Android virtual keyboard
* An improved keyboard layout to makes it easier to hit the correct characters and improve typing speed.
* The framework’s multi-touch support ensures that key presses aren’t missed while typing rapidly with two fingers.
* A smarter dictionary learns from word usage and automatically includes contact names as suggestions.
* Refreshed UI with actionable browser URL bar enables users to directly tap the address bar for instant searches and navigation.
* Bookmarks with web page thumbnails.
* Support for double-tap zoom.
* Support for HTML5:
o Database API support, for client-side databases using SQL.
o Application cache support, for offline applications.
o Geolocation API support, to provide location information about the device.
* Agenda view provides infinite scrolling.
* Events indicate the attending status for each invitee.
* Invite new guests to events.
Unfortunately pinch/zoom still appears to be a patented/licensed thing that Google hasn’t/cannot include in Android 2.0 but that may or may not appear on your device depending on the manufacturer/carrier. For example, we all know the HTC Sense devices have pinch/zoom functionality but that is a device-by-device determination.
We’re always excited about updates that improve device speed and we see some help on the graphics side with 2.0:
Revamped graphics architecture for improved performance that enables better hardware acceleration.
We’re told there are some pretty exciting things in Android 2.0 hidden underneath the surface, so when/if we dig up some extra info worth sharing we’ll make sure to let you know. In the meantime – enjoy all the 2.0 Eclair info out there and make sure to Tip Us if you uncover something awesome!
And by the way… nothing is ever perfect and you can already see the complaints rolling in! Valid or not?