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Android 5.1 SDK released, new APIs for dual-SIM devices and carrier apps

Hot on the heels of yesterday's Android 5.1 Lollipop announcement, Google has released the Android 5.1 SDK to developers, along with details of the dev-facing stuff contained in the new version of the OS. Firstly, Android 5.1 brings the platform up to API level 22, which includes new APIs for devices with more than one SIM, as well as additional APIs for carrier services.

Dual SIM

In contrast to the enormous number of new APIs debuting in API level 21 (Android 5.0), API 22 adds only a "small number" of new APIs, according to Google. There's new stuff to help app developers manage network activities on phones with two or more SIM slots — for instance, detecting which SIM is in use, and whether a particular SIM is roaming.

There are also new APIs to allow carrier-developed apps, distributed through Google Play, to perform network provisioning tasks and other functions in the telephony system. Communicating directly with the network interface is now possible via an app with "carrier privileges." Previously only the Android system could do this, and updating these sorts of things often required a firmware update.

This is a step towards pulling network features out of the system and will allow for easier — and hopefully faster — updates in the future.

As Google explains:

These APIs provide a secure and flexible way for carrier-developed apps to perform these tasks and be distributed through Google Play. Apps that use these functions must be signed by a certificate that matches the certificate in the device's Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC).

While there's no evidence of a direct link between the two, it's interesting to see this stuff rolling out right as we're expecting the Verizon Nexus 6 to rear its head.

The updated SDK files are available from Google's developer site at the source link. Updates for Nexus tablets from the Nexus 7 (2012) and up, and phones from the Nexus 4 and up, are slated for the "next few weeks."

Read More: What's new in Android 5.1 Lollipop

Source: Android Developers

Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

7 Comments
  • Interesting,... next few weeks
  • and no VoLTE or wifi calling for N5
  • The new bloatware API. Allows Nexus devices to properly receive bloat, like the ATT version of the Nexus 6. I suppose bloat that is downloaded via play store is better than bloat baked into a rom though.
  • The bigger deal here is what this might mean for non-Nexus devices...
  • if its downloaded via playstore it doesnt make it a bloatware
  • So, if it can be downloaded from Play, does that mean that it can also NOT be downloaded from Play? That it could be uninstalled? Because that would mean that it would no longer be bloat. It would be an option. Posted from the redheaded stepchild of the Nexii
  • 16giga