At its recent Google I/O developer conference, Google dished out a preview demo of "Donut," the 2.0 version of the Android mobile operating system with new features such as speech-to-text, integrated local and web search, and Google Translate, among other new features. In addition, Google delivered an Oprah-like gift to all conference attendees - new, unlocked Android handsets free of charge.
At the Google I/O developer
conference in San Francisco, the search giant showed developers a
preview of the next major version of the Android mobile operating
system codenamed "Donut."
Donut, which is expected to appear in about three to six months, is
the codename for Android 2.0. The most recent developer branch of the
operating system is Android 1.5, which is codenamed "Cupcake." And some
sources say the follow-on version of Android after Donut is likely to
be codenamed "Eclair," in line with the recent naming conventions using
sweet baked goods and moving in alphabetical order.
At Google I/O, which ran May 27-28, Google officials showed some of
the new capabilities of Donut, including a new universal search feature
that enables users to search through contacts, calendars, music and
more locally on the device and for online information on the Internet.
Donut also will support text-to-speech capabilities via a new
text-to-speech API that will enable users to use Google Voice Search to
In addition to local search integrated with Web search and the
text-to-speech capability, Donut also supports handwriting gestures on
the Android phone as well as built in Google Translate, which
translates text in one language to another language.
Although the new Android features were well-received by the
developer audience at Google I/O, some developers said the enhancements
were more evolutionary.
"I think the enhanced search feature looks nice, but is available
today through app add-ons," said Nathan Freitas, a mobile application
developer with the Oliver Coady design and development firm in New York.
Added Freitas: "Handwriting? I hope it is more 'gestures' than
handwriting...speaking as an Apple Newton owner and former Palm
employee. I am not eager to have to deal with that world again."
Freitas previously headed up Java development at Palm.
Meanwhile, Brian Gupta, a mobile operating system expert and
developer with Brandorr in New York, said, "While the features of Donut
revealed at Google I/O are certainly useful, I would say for the most
part they are evolutionary rather than revolutionary. If the rumors are
true that this is going to be a 2.0 release, I'd have to assume that
there are some things Google is holding back, and would expect to hear
more details released over the next several months. That said, the big
Android news from Google I/O wasn't Donut, but rather the revealing of
just how many Android devices are scheduled for release this year -- at
last count as many as 20 worldwide."
In addition to serving up a preview of the Donut mobile operating
system, Google also dished out new, unlocked Google Android handsets
free of charge to all attendees. The conference drew more than 3,500
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.