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14 April 2009, 09:51

Android 1.5 "Early Look" SDK available

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The Google Android Developers have announced the release of an "early look" of the Software Development Kit (SDK) for Android version 1.5. The new SDK provides a preview of the cupcake branch of the open source mobile platform and is based on the 2.6.27 Linux kernel. The SDK now works with different versions of the Android platform, allowing developers to easily switch between the current 1.1 Android release and the early look version of Android 1.5.

The release includes several new features, such as home screen widgets, soft keyboards (on-screen software keyboards), live folders and speech recognition. New APIs and developer tools include a Home Screen framework for creating home screen widgets and live folders, a Media framework for recording and playing back audio and video files and speech recognition that uses libraries via the Internet. Performance improvements have been made to camera start-up time, GPS acquisition and browser scrolling.

Add-on functionality has also been introduced that allows Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and carriers to provide extensions to Android. The Google Maps API, previously built into the "core" SDK, has now been moved into an add-on, which would allow an OEM to offer their own mapping API and remove Google Maps if they wished.

The Android 1.5 SDK is expected to be released at the end of this month. Vodafone in the UK is expected to release the HTC Magic Android-based smartphone, running the cupcake branch of Android, by the 1st of May. The Developers will be releasing a series of articles on their Android Developers Blog in the "next few weeks" covering the new APIs and changes. As this release is an early look at the upcoming SDK, the tools and documentation are not yet finalised.

More details about the release can be found in the Android 1.5 Highlights. The Android 1.5 Early Look SDK is available to download for interested developers.

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