Google is allowing developers an early look at the SDK for Version 1.5 of the Google Android platform. Based on the "cupcake" branch of the Android Open Source project, this new version includes APIs for a number of new features, including home screen widgets and speech recognition.
Developers can download the Android 1.5 "Early Look" SDK here.
The Early Look SDK features a different component structure than earlier Android SDK releases, meaning that the new SDK does not work with older Eclipse plug-ins (ADT 0.8), which in turn do not work with the new Eclipse plug-in (ADT 0.9).
The tools and documentation for the new SDK are also not complete. And the APIs provided could change before the final Android 1.5 SDK release. "You should not compile any applications for distribution using this version of the SDK," the developers' download site warns. "If you do so, your applications may not function properly when deployed to Android-powered devices running the final Android 1.5 platform."
The Android 1.5 platform includes a number of new and improved APIs and developer tools, including new UI (user interface) framework, home screen framework, media framework, input method framework and speech recognition framework.
Systemwide, there will be a refinement of core UI elements, accelerometer-based application rotations, and a UI polish for in-call experience, SMS & MMS, browser, Gmail, calendar, e-mail, application management and other elements.
A complete list of changes can be found here.
While it has been a growing component within the smartphone world since its premiere in August 2008 on the T-Mobile G1 smartphone from HTC, the Google Android OS is thought to be on the verge of expanding in a more computer-centric direction. T-Mobile could release a home phone that runs Android as early as 2010, followed by an Android-based tablet computer.
Samsung also reportedly plans to release three new phones running the Google Android operating system in 2009: two in the United States, likely from Sprint and T-Mobile, and one internationally.