Android 1.5: Early Look SDK


The next release of Android will be version1.5 and Google has just announced that the 1.5 Early Look SDK is now available so developers can start messing around will all the new features of the platform itself. With the upcoming launch of several Android Phones, the 1.5 SDK also includes capabilities that will allow developers to more easily make applications that seamlessly across different versions and locations:


The bottom line is that you can create many emulator configurations, or “AVDs”, each with their own system image and, more importantly, each with their own user data and SD card data. Then tell Eclipse or the emulator which AVD to use when debugging or running your applications.”

Android Developer and Phandroid Contributor Joey Sochacki broke that down in layman’s terms:

“The cool thing about that is, you can define a bunch of AVDs and have tons of different ‘device setups’ so to speak to test on. Different resolutions, different API level, different sd card, different hardware, etc… so when new devices come out, you add a new avd for it and then test against that one.”

So for us non-technical types, what the heck is an AVD?

“An Android Virtual Device (AVD) models a single virtual device running the Android platform that has, at least, its own kernel, system image and data partition.”

The more burning question is probably what will the Android 1.5 SDK enable developers to do on the application side in terms of features and whatnot – but the ins and outs of that question won’t be explored until some devs dive into the Early Look ADK. And Google reminds us several times that it is JUST that (an ealry look) and changes to the official 1.5 SDK can and likely will be made.

But until these developers get some practical, hands on experience with the new SDK, Google has graced us with a full list of improvements and updates, pasted below:

Android 1.5 Highlights

April 2009

The Android 1.5 platform introduces many new features for users and developers. The list below provides an overview of the changes.

User interface refinements

  • System-wide:
    • Refinement of all core UI elements
    • Animated window transitions (off by default)
    • Accelerometer-based application rotations
  • UI polish for:
    • In-call experience
    • Contacts, Call log, and Favorites
    • SMS & MMS
    • Browser
    • Gmail
    • Calendar
    • Email
    • Camera & Gallery
    • Application management

Performance improvements

  • Faster Camera start-up and image capture
  • Much faster acquisition of GPS location (powered by SUPL AGPS)
  • Smoother page scrolling in Browser
  • Speedier GMail conversation list scrolling

New features

  • On-screen soft keyboard
    • Works in both portrait and landscape orientation
    • Support for user installation of 3rd party keyboards
    • User dictionary for custom words
  • Home screen
    • Widgets
      • Bundled home screen widgets include: analog clock, calendar, music player, picture frame, and search
    • Live folders
  • Camera & Gallery
    • Video recording
    • Video playback (MPEG-4 & 3GP formats)
  • Bluetooth
    • Stereo Bluetooth support (A2DP and AVCRP profiles)
    • Auto-pairing
    • Improved handsfree experience
  • Browser
    • Updated with latest Webkit browser & Squirrelfish Javascript engines
    • Copy ‘n paste in browser
    • Search within a page
    • User-selectable text-encoding
    • UI changes include:
      • Unified Go and Search box
      • Tabbed bookmarks/history/most-visited screen
  • Contacts
    • Shows user picture for Favorites
    • Specific date/time stamp for events in call log
    • One-touch access to a contact card from call log event
  • System
    • New Linux kernel (version 2.6.27)
    • SD card filesystem auto-checking and repair
    • SIM Application Toolkit 1.0
  • Google applications
    • View Google Talk friends’ status in Contacts, SMS, MMS, GMail, and Email applications
    • Batch actions such as archive, delete, and label on Gmail messages
    • Upload videos to Youtube
    • Upload photos on Picasa

New APIs and developer tools

  • UI framework
    • Framework for easier background/UI thread interaction
    • New SlidingDrawer widget
    • Horizontal ScrollView widget
  • Home Screen framework
    • APIs for creating secure home screen widgets
    • APIs for populating live folders with custom content
  • Media framework
    • Raw audio recording and playback APIs
    • Interactive MIDI playback engine
    • Video recording APIs for developers (3GP format)
    • Video and photo sharing Intents
    • Media search Intent
  • Input Method framework
    • Text prediction engine
    • Ability to provide downloadable IMEs to users
  • Speech recognition framework
    • Support for using speech recognition libraries via Intent
  • Misc API additions
    • LocationManager – Applications can get location change updates via Intent
    • WebView – Touch start/end/move/cancel DOM event support
    • SensorManager – redesigned sensor APIs
    • GLSurfaceView – convenience framework for creating OpenGL applications
    • Broadcast Intent for app update install succeeded – for smoother app upgrade experience
  • Developer tools
    • Support for multiple versions of Android in a single SDK installation
    • Improved JUnit support in ADT
    • Easier application performance profiling

What do we find most exciting about these updates? How about ALL the UI and Permormance Improvements along with ON-SCREEN SOFT KEYBOARD, live folders and other great widgets, video recording with upload to youtube…. okay suffice to say EVERYTHING. This is just going to be an AWESOME update.

How about from a developer’s point of view – what in here is most compelling to them? Joey mentioned the following:
  • Text prediction engine, Support for using speech recognition libraries via Intent
  • AVD, Raw audio recording and playback APIs, Video recording APIs for developers (3GP format), SIM toolkit (STK)

And there you have it… Android 1.5 SDK is on the way and looking good… you heard it here first!

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. So, lets see…

    No Bluetooth FTP nor HID (nor BIP)

    No Gmail “send as” nor filter edit/create

    No Google Reader keyboard shortcuts nor tag add/edit/create

    No IM expansion (more than one Talk account, more Jabber servers than just Google Talk, more than one active IM account at a given time)

    No Google Docs read/write

    I’m having a very hard time finding much to get excited about. Lots of “ho hum” (soft keyboard, cut/copy and paste, etc.). At least one “WTF? that’s STUPID” (unified “go” and “search” box in the web browser!?).

    I hope the general speed ups and detail clean ups are worth it, because it otherwise sounds like a waste of time.

  2. I just hope it makes it’s way to the G1, I would seriously hate to find out all of us early adopters get screwed.

  3. johnkzin

    You didnt mention one single thing that I would personally give a shit about.

    Why would anyone care about your silly wish list on non priority iems for a phone?

  4. bluetooth FTP is nice to have. sharing songs and videos via bluetooth is something i do a lot with my friends.

  5. its so funny you cant please everyone no matter what you do. That list is rather impressive and still someone manages to complain about something it doesnt have….??? think about this…if that is a list of improvements for a OS thats been out for just 7 months or so on the G1 i think its safe to say that youll see further advancement and at a very fast pace. I’ve been using a build of the 1.5 myself for a little bit and I really am pleased it does everything better my g1 is faster, i have video, copy paste from anywhere, bluetooth stereo, pdf support, exchange support official auto rotate i mean the list goes on….. this is bottom line WELL WORTH THE WAIT. I can only imagine what developers will do with all the api widgets and keyboards.

  6. If it makes it to the G1, I’d be pleased to see these bits in particular:

    UI polish for all items – could be good if they’re polishing the right bits.
    Faster Camera
    Faster GPS
    Video recording & playback
    Latest webkit & squirrelfish
    Multi-version SDK

    While the Accelerometer-based application rotations had better be optional. It really bugs me when apps flip between orientations at the wrong time!

  7. Is the G1 camera capable of video recording?
    Or is that just for the newer models?

  8. It is

    here is one i recorded with my german g1 with haykuros 5.0G Cupcake Build (Android 1.5)!
    I uploaded it directly from my G1 =)

  9. johnkzin is an iphone troll

    nobody would give a shit about any of those features.

  10. When????????!!!!!!!

  11. @johnkzin

    You’re just nit-picking everything stated in this post is a HUGE advancement for the Android OS. Additionally don’t expect everything that’s been asked for to just magically show up in one update, that’s not how it works.

    I’m very excited about the UI updates myself. The soft-keyboard is nice, maybe some more manufacturers will pick up Android now that they don’t have to front for a Physical Keyboard. Video recording is a big big plus. Music Player and Calendar widget is another big plus! Stereo blutooth? big big big plus!

  12. @myself stop saying big plus you tool.

  13. I’m very excited for this SDK to be released. Of course it will make it to the G1! I’d imagine that almost all android devices, especially ones as similar as these first few released, can all run the same builds.

    In the rare chance that this release isnt intended for the G1.. Its only a matter of time before someone like JesusFreke releases a modified build for the G1!

    Im also stoaked about the predictive text input and the custom word list. That is one thing i miss about my blackberry.. but thats about it.

  14. If you are to request a feature, do it somewhere like on Google Groups or feature requests.

    You can’t complain unless you are prepared to fix it yourself.

  15. Whoops, got sniped!

    The Magic firmware has already been ported to the G1 on xda. Lol

  16. Now again where is, SIP , or VOIP

  17. I think this update is gonna rock. And its completely stupid to be complaining if u get an update that’s gonna b totally free n which includes a whole bunch of stuff the g1 needs, and still be whining about it, that’s just stupid. But 1 thing I agree that they should have put in the update was the ability to transfer files via bluetooth. Whatevr the case, I’m lookin forward to a future update with that feature included. Or at least sum1 to hack so we could do that on rooted phones if worst comes 2 worst…

  18. How about a HEADPHONE port??

  19. I had the T-Mobile Wing, running Windows Mobile 6 for over a year and had a grand total of


    This phone has had two small updates that have added new functionality and fixed other issues, and this list shows even more progress, and all at the grand price of zero dollars. The OS is free, half the apps out there are free, and yet some a$$ can’t be happy. Some people just love being Debby Downer. They have such an overactive sense of entitlment, they actually think they’re being jerked around. Sad part is he probably has himself convinced he’s being helpful.

  20. Four thumbs up for the above comment :D

  21. if you install haykuro rom you get everything on that list

  22. Well… lets see… If the non-official build came out on February… and the G1 came out on November(i think)… that means that the OS should be finished by now… all they’re adding are other features we really dont need but are neat… we should have this update by the end of may… (fingers crossed) :)

  23. we can only hope that these will come to the G1- G1 updates are regulated by T-Mobile and HTC NOT Google. If they were I think we’d have it already.

  24. I don’t understand is this supposed to be cupcake? if not what the hell happened to cupcake?!?! and we were promised improvements by feb, and than it was pushed to late march and than april wtf!!! I’m tired of waiting, all i want is an on screen keyboard and a revamp of the UI so its faster! and for those two measley things i’ve been waiting what feels like an eternity.

  25. i totally agree with tmonews

  26. IF YOU WANT TO USE Cupcake/Android 1.5 on your G1 RIGHT NOW, you can use the latest ported development snapshot at:

    It works and it is GREAT!

    This was the build that Utz referred to above. I’m running the HTC native (e.g. Chinese version) with the language flipped to English… interestingly enough, the dial-pad characters are in Japanese (go figure).


  27. Well lets see. I have used windows Mobile for the last 3 years. (I have received updates by the way). The feature that I miss most that is not on the G1 (1.5) is Hands Free control over the phone. Mostly hands Free Dialing. The G1 seems to be going there and it seems to work ok wit the phone but over Bluetooth its sucks. If I have no numbers in my Call Log or Favorites I can hold the button on my BlueTooth headset down for a couple of seconds and the G1 will launch the Voice Dialer. However if I have made a call on the phone previously and hold the Button on my Bluetooth for a couple of seconds it will just redial the number.
    Hands Free Dialing (voice dialing) has been available for Windows Mobile for many years (I know how much you guys hate Windows) and I would think that all of us would want Good Hands Free dialing available for the Android. Its a must have application!

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