Google announces Android 1.5 features

Google announces Android 1.5 features

The Android platform is receiving a major overhaul for version 1.5 - and it looks like Google is listening to users' demands.

Anyone hoping to see dramatic improvements in Google's Android mobile platform will be enthused to hear that a sneak peek version of Android 1.5's software development kit has been made available.

According to an article over on Gizmodo, the next major version of the Linux-based mobile platform is set to bring a veritable plethora of goodies – some pretty fundamental, some just nice to have.

In the nice to have category are such things as animated window transitions – which will be disabled by default to avoid bringing slower devices to their knees – and general polish to the user interface of all internal applications and programs. Applications will also be able to sense screen orientation via the internal accelerometer and lay themselves out accordingly – similar to the iPhone and Symbian S60 GUI.

The OS has been given an overhaul in the performance department as well, with assisted GPS allowing the in-built GPS system to get a location lock much faster than previous iterations. The camera has had its startup and image capture times shaved as well, and the browser now features far smoother page scrolling.

Perhaps the most asked-for feature will finally arrive with Android 1.5: an on-screen software-based keyboard available in both portrait and landscape orientation, which finally does away with the need to rotate the device and slide out the hardware keyboard simply to enter a single line of text.

The home screen has also been updated with support for the ever popular “widgets” - by default, Andriod 1.5's home screen's widgets will include an analogue clock, a calendar, a simple music player, a customisable picture frame, and a Google-powered search box.

Android-based devices with a camera will now be able to record video, and play back captures in both MPEG-4 and 3GP formats. Neatly, the video recording functionality includes the ability to upload captured video to Google's YouTube video sharing service without the need to transfer it to a host computer first. To go with the new video capabilities, audio has been upgraded to include support for the A2DP and AVCRP Bluetooth audio profiles, and the hands-free operation has been given a tweak.

As well as the improved scrolling speed, the browser has been update to the latest Webkit engine, and copy and past functionality has finally been introduced – as has the ability to search for text within a page. The Squirrelfish Javascript engine has also had an overhaul which promises better compatibility and performance on script-heavy sites.

With the underlying Linux kernel updated, and neat internal features like filesystem checking and automatic repair on the SD card slot enabled, it's clear that Google certainly hasn't been resting on its laurels.

Does it look like the 1.5 update will finally get you interested in an Android-based device, or does Google still have some way to go before you give up your Mac OS X, Symbian, or Windows Mobile based smartphone? Share your thoughts over in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
500mph 15th April 2009, 13:06 Quote
Now how easy will the upgrade to 1.5 be?
Lots of good development and customer interaction on googles part.
wuyanxu 15th April 2009, 13:56 Quote
video recording and added onscreen keyboard all in a .5 increment?

that's progress! unlike Apple's now 3.0 and still can't get official video recording
War-Rasta 15th April 2009, 14:00 Quote
I want an Android phone!
konsta 15th April 2009, 15:46 Quote
I like what I've seen of Android's functionality, but as yet it is not an attractive OS. The graphical styling looks like Win 95 to Apple's OSX, or the Palm Pre.

If I'm going to be using a device many times per day for at least a year, I would like it to look really nice.

The only way that Android will get any real traction though will be if the App Marketplace gets populated with more exciting apps. iPhone is just about to hit it's billionth app download - and that is because so many of the iPhone apps are just really cool.
fodder 15th April 2009, 18:00 Quote
The upgrades/updates are normally flagged up as available by the phone (G1), you then hit update and it does it all itself. Brilliant. No Itune like bloatware on your pc or mac needed.
LordPyrinc 16th April 2009, 02:36 Quote
Im definitely intrigued by the Android, however, I got about 18 months more on a two yr contract with my Blackberry. More importantly, I can't have a phone with a camera where I work (one of the reasons I went with the Blackberry - no cam on this model, but still has a full qwerty keyboard).

Android does sound like a pretty sweet phone/media device. Shouldn't really call these things phones anymore these days since they can do so much more.
Primoz 16th April 2009, 20:10 Quote
I'd love an Android phone, but they are non-existing in Slovenia. And in the world in fact, appart from G1. And since we don't have T-Mobile...
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