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Developers now allowed early peek at SDK for Android 1.5

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As of yesterday, developers are now allowed to get the SDK for the next platform of Google’s open source OS, Android 1.5. This new build is based on the cupcake branch from the Android Open Source Project and includes APIs for features like a virtual QWERTY keyboard, widgets for the home screen, live folders and speech recognition. At the developer’s site you can download the early-view version of Android 1.5, learn about upgrading your Eclipse plug-in and learn what changes you will find in version 1.5. The SDK itself has been changed with improvements to the developer’s tools and will also include multiple versions of the Android software. For example, the early look SDK now offered not only includes version 1.5 of Android, but also includes version 1.1 so that multiple builds can be targeted with just one SDK installation. Google is telling developers not to release apps based on this version of Android 1.5 because there still could be some changes before the official release, which should be available at the end of the month. In the meanwhile, developers can download the Android 1.5 early look SDK by clicking on this link.

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And here is the full list of the new features:

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

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