Android 1.5 'Early Look' SDK Now Available, Major Features Added

Google has just announced an "Early Look" SDK for Android 1.5 which is based off the much ballyhooed Cupcake development branch. Android 1.5 packs a lot of goodies such as APIs for soft keyboards, live folders, home screen widgets, stereo bluetooth, and much, much more.

Android 1.5 is going to improve on the performance of Android, such as having a faster camera start up time, acquiring GPS location faster, smoother page scrolling, etc. There is also mention of some UI refinements. Overall, it looks like a hefty update to Android and we can't wait to see it trickle down to real-world usage.

What do you guys think?

Read on to see what's new in Android 1.5!

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

  • Refinement of all core UI elements
  • Animated window transitions (off by default)
  • Accelerometer-based application rotations
  • 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

  • Works in both portrait and landscape orientation
  • Support for user installation of 3rd party keyboards
  • User dictionary for custom words
  • Bundled home screen widgets include: analog clock, calendar, music player, picture frame, and search
  • Live folders
  • Video recording
  • Video playback (MPEG-4 & 3GP formats)
  • Stereo Bluetooth support (A2DP and AVCRP profiles)
  • Auto-pairing
  • Improved handsfree experience
  • Updated with latest Webkit browser & Squirrelfish Javascript engines
  • Copy 'n paste in browser
  • Search within a page
  • User-selectable text-encoding
  • Unified Go and Search box
  • Tabbed bookmarks/history/most-visited screen
  • 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
  • New Linux kernel (version 2.6.27)
  • SD card filesystem auto-checking and repair
  • SIM Application Toolkit 1.0
  • 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

  • Framework for easier background/UI thread interaction
  • New SlidingDrawer widget
  • Horizontal ScrollView widget
  • APIs for creating secure home screen widgets
  • APIs for populating live folders with custom content
  • 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
  • Text prediction engine
  • Ability to provide downloadable IMEs to users
  • Support for using speech recognition libraries via Intent
  • 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
  • Support for multiple versions of Android in a single SDK installation
  • Improved JUnit support in ADT
  • Easier application performance profiling
Casey Chan