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For all those eagerly awaiting the release of Android 2.0, Google has now released support for Android 2.0 via an update to its SDK.
For all the developers out there, this means you can start building applications for Android 2.0 already. The new update dubbed "Android SDK Tools, Revision 3" adds support for the Android 2.0 SDK as an addon for the current SDK.
The update includes the new Android 2.0 library, and as usual, a system image with an emulator. So you can fire up the emulator and test Android 2.0 for yourself before it even comes out on devices.
We have heard a lot about Android 2.0 recently, with the leak of information about Motorola Droid and screenshots from the OS, however now it is all official, and here is what you have to look forward to:
Contacts and accounts: Anroid 2.0 now supports multiple accounts for email and can syncronize contacts with external services. handset manufactureres will also have the option of enabling support for Exchange. Developers can write adapters which enable two way sync with custom services.
The new Quick Contact for Android is a widget interface which provides information about contacts from any place where a contanc is displayed. The widget provides ata glance information and shows common calling and messaging options.
Email: The email application on Android 2.0 comes with support for Exchange. Also, it now has a unified interface for all your email accounts.
Messaging: New in messaging features in Android 2.0 is the ability to search through your SMS / MMS messages. To conserve space, Android 2.0 allows for automatic deletion of old messages based on a specified threshold.
Camera: Mobile phone cameras are constantly evolving, and Android is trying to keep up. With version 2.0 it now has built in support for flash, digital zoom, and macro focus. It now also supports color effects, white balance, and a scene mode.
Android virtual keyboard: Since Android devices utilize touch screens, a good virtual keyboard in necessary. Android 2.0 imporves on its virtual keyboard in many ways. Firstly, the keyboard layout has been improved to allow for faster speed and greater accuracy. Secondly, it noew supports multi-touch devices and allows you to trye with two fingers at a time, without worrying about missing keys. Finally, it features a new adaptive dictionary which lears from your word usage, and can utilize the contacts databse to suggest contact names.
Browser: The new Android 2.0 browser features an updated UI with an improved mult-functio URL bar. The new URL bar allows you to search, and perform other actions as well. The new browser can ow display thumbnails for bookmarked webpages, and supports zooming on double-tap. On the compatability side, the new browser now has support for HTML5, including geolocation, client side databases, offline apps support, and <video> tag support.
Calendar: The calender in the Android 2.0 OS has gained new features which allow one to invite guests to events that they create, and can update the status of these guests. The agenda view now scrolls infinately through all your tasks, events, reminders etc.
Media Framework: Better hardware acceleration support is present in Android 2.0, and the entire graphics system has been revamped to improve performance.
Bluetooth: Android 2.0 supports bluetooth 2.1, and adds the new Object Push and Phone Book Access Profiles.
Android 2.0 also comes with new framework APIs for application developers.
For more information about Android 2.0 features visit http://developer.android.com/sdk/android-2.0-highlights.html
Watch a video by Google introducing Android 2.0: