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UPDATE: Google releases Android 1.6 aka Donut
Posted by Arne Hess - on Wednesday, 16.09.09 - 11:01:31 CET under 04 - Android News - Viewed 16702x
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Google has finally released Android 1.6 what so far was known under its code name "Donut". While Android 1.6 is fully compatible to Android 1.6 (Cupcake), it brings some new features and extensions for customers and developers. However, the new Android version also enhances the device support. For instance 1.6 now expands the support for screen densities and resolutions which is important to get devices beside the so far typical Android HVGA screen resolution; Android 1.6 now also supports QVGA and WVGA. Furthermore, Android 1.6 now includes support for CDMA in the telephony stack. which brings it a step closer to U.S. networks.

Quick Search Box for Android: Android 1.6 includes a redesigned search framework that provides a quick, effective and consistent way for users to search across multiple sources - such as browser bookmarks & history, contacts and the web - directly from the home screen.

The system constantly learns which search results are more relevant based on what is clicked. So popular contacts or apps that have previously been picked will bubble up to the top when a user types the first few letters of a relevant query.

Camera, Camcorder and Gallery: An updated user interface provides an integrated camera, camcorder and gallery experience. Users can quickly toggle between still and video capture modes. Additionally, the gallery enables users to select multiple photos for deletion.

Android 1.6 also provides a much faster camera experience. Compared to the previous release, launching the camera is now 39 % faster and there is a 28 % improvement in the time from completing one shot to the next.

Battery Usage 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.

Accessibility: Users will be able to download new accessibility services built on the new accessibility framework and enable them in Settings.

Android Market Updates: The latest version improves the overall user experience and makes it easier for users to discover great apps and games from developers.

At the startscreen, users can choose among Apps, Games and Downloads. Inside a category, users can explore titles that are Top paid, Top free and Just in. For each title, users can now see screenshots submitted by developers in addition to reviews from other users.

VPN, 802.1x: A new Virtual Private Network (VPN) control panel in Settings allows users to configure and connect to the following types of VPNs: L2TP/IPSEC pre-shared key based VPN, L2TP/IPsec certificate based VPN, L2TP only VPN, PPTP only VPN

Text-to-Speech Engine: Android 1.6 features a multi-lingual speech synthesis engine called Pico. It allows any Android application to "speak" a string of text with an accent that matches the language. The engine supports the following languages: English (American and British accents), French, Italian, German and Spanish. If you're using a T-Mobile G1 or Dream device, you'll need to download the SpeechSynthesis Data Installer from Android Market, which includes the "voices" needed by the text-to-speech engine.

While some of these improvements and enhancements are minor cosmetics, some are pretty major and all of them together make Android an even better mobile OS. Still not on the same level with other mobile OS in the market but as a framework, on which ODMs can manufacture their devices, it's definitely getting more interesting now.
According to the Android Developers blog, first devices - which include Android 1.6 aka Donut - can be expected in the market as early as October with the HTC Tattoo most likely being the first.

Cheers ~ Arne

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