Google released Android 1.6, the Donut release, to programmers. The build supports CDMA with new telephony APIs, as well as QVGA and WVGA screen resolutions to enable greater application coverage on more Android devices. The new Quick Search Box lets users search their phones for contacts and applications from a search widget on the home screen. Another perk is the text-to-speech engine, which could help Android smartphones better compete with the red-hot Apple iPhone.
Google's Android team Sept. 15 released to developers Android
1.6, the oft-blogged about
Donut branch build from the Android open-source
As expected, the build supports CDMA with new telephony APIs, as well as QVGA
and WVGA screen resolutions to enable greater application coverage on more
Android devices. There is also a Quick Search Box, which lets users search
their phones for contacts and applications from a search widget on the home screen.
Another perk is the text-to-speech engine. As this
implies, Android apps will be able to voice what users text into their
smartphones. Voice-enabling applications are becoming a huge deal, particularly
in the wake of the popularity of Google's Voice Search technology
, which lets users speak into their Android and
Apple iPhone smartphones to find search results.
Google Android team member Xavier Ducrohet said in a blog
the Android 1.6 SDK will be available on smartphones in October, though apps written for older
versions of Android will continue to run on devices with Android 1.6. Both the Motorola CLIQ
and the Sprint HTC Hero
are expected to hit the shelves next month, so it's not a
stretch to think they both will be running Android 1.6.
The Donut release is a positive development after the
poor press the platform received from a recent AdMob survey
of Android Market application sales, which are a pittance
compared to money iPhone app developers make from the Apple App Store.
The Android team tried
to make things better earlier this
month with some improvements to the Android Market.
Previously knocked for not being as polished as Apple's App
Store, the Android Market now lets developers promote their applications and
games with screenshots, promotional icons and descriptions. Google also created
sports, health, themes and comics sub-categories for new and existing
applications via the publisher Website.
Meanwhile, the Android team expects to publish
informational blog posts on how to port apps to support different screen sizes,
as well as how the Quick Search Box text-to-speech engine work in Android 1.6.
Ducrohet provides a video demonstration of the new Donut
features in a video, which you can see on Google Watch here
. Read more about Android
1.6 on TechMeme here