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?

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. 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….

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

  3. 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 !

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

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

  6. 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.

  7. That battery usage feature does sound really cool..

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

  9. dang i dont get any kinda of shout out?

  10. @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. :)

  11. 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.

  12. @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

  13. 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?

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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