May 28th, 2009

Parts of the world still have yet to get their hands on Android 1.5 Cupcake but yesterday at Google IO, attendees got a sneak peak at the version of Android after that – Android 2.0 Donut. Two of the most exciting additions will be Android Search and a Text-To-Speech API and engine.

Here is Romain Guy speaking at the Keynote Presentation, demonstrating the above features. The video is 10 minutes long but jump to about 2:30 in to find the beginning of the Android discussion:

I love this “Android Search” concept. It is essentially a universal search widget that searches all applications and shows results on an application by application basis, listing the most relevant results – based on an algo that includes habits and history – at the top. The T-Mobile G1 keyboard has a dedicated search key that I thought I would use more than I do – but Android Search is much different and much more powerful. Press your screen, start typing and touch the relevant action you’re trying to complete. Better yet is that developers are able to incorporate their applications so relevant results for their application – whether it be local restaurants or books you’ve read – become part of the results.

The Text-To-Speech API is also pretty darn amazing. The voice sounds choppy but it is clear that there is only one direction to go… UP! And two elements make me incredibly excited about Android Text-To-Speech:

  • It works with Google Translate
  • In addition to the API, the Text-To-Speech Engine is included and Open Source meaning this thing will inevitably improve over time as Android updates and grows. Open Source victory.

I’m sure there are still tons of improvements coming in Donut that are being worked on. Some we might learn about today (this video is from yesterday) and some may not even be planned yet. And thus is the beauty of Android – an ever changing platform that is constantly growing. And us – consumers, developers and enthusiasts – get to grow with it.

What do you think of the new features?