Sep 16th, 2009

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?

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