Google on Feb. 13 released a new software development kit for its open-source Android mobile operating system.
This marks the first update of the SDK since the original version was launched in November 2007.
"On behalf of the entire Android team, I'm happy to let you know that an updated version of the Android SDK-we're calling it m5-rc14-is now available," Jason Chen, an Android developer advocate, wrote in his blog.
"Today, we're continuing the early look at the Android SDK that we started back in November by providing updates to the Android APIs and the developer tools based, in part, on the great feedback and suggestions developers have been giving us," Chen wrote. "We're excited about the progress that we've made and look forward to making additional updates in the future as the platform evolves towards production-readiness."
Key improvements in the SDK, according to Chen, are a new user interface ("still a work in progress"); layout animations using the capabilities in the android.view.animation package; geo-coding, which enables developers to translate an address into a coordinate and vice versa; new media codecs, with added support for the Ogg Vorbis, MIDI, XMF, iMelody, RTTTL/RTX and OTA audio file formats; and an updated Eclipse plug-in for that open-source tool kit.
One of the major advantages for developers coding for Android is that the SDK allows them to quickly write applications for mobile phones without having to pay licensing fees and deal with other restrictions.
Proprietary operating systems from companies such as Microsoft or Symbian are more difficult for developers to handle in administrative and business terms.