Top 5 features in Android 1.5 (Cupcake)
Android 1.5 is expected to be featured on the new HTC Magic that is coming out in Europe next month from Vodafone. There are unconfirmed reports of other several other Android phones this year (from Samsung, Lenovo, Motorola, Dell, and others), and it would make sense for them to be pre-loaded with Cupcake too, but we’ll see.
Check out the New and Improved page for a full list of the new features in 1.5. For this article I’ve picked 5 of my favorite features: 3 for users and 2 for developers.
From a user’s perspective the new features include:
- Support for an on-screen soft keyboard (like the iPhone). This will be essential, of course, for phones that do not have a hardware keyboard (like the Magic). But even if you do have a physical keyboard it’s sometimes not worth the trouble to slide it out just to type in a couple of words.
- Video recording and upload to YouTube. Now you can capture your barbershop frog quartet in action and post them for all the word to see.
- Faster and more polished user interface in all applications. It was already fast, but now it’s even more fasterer. Double-plus fast. With smoother, creamier controls and gradients.
Cupcake serves up a number of goodies for developers as well, including:
- Android Virtual Devices (AVDs). This is a convenience for developers who need to create and test their applications for multiple types of devices running the Android platform. For example you could create an AVD configuration for a G1-like emulator running Android version 1.1, a second AVD for a Magic-like emulator running Android 1.5, and a third for your Tesla Model S. Ok, maybe not the Tesla, but in any case several AVDs can run at at once on your development computer, so you can design multi-player games or other client-server applications.
- APIs for creating home screen widgets. Android 1.5 comes with several widgets built-in including a calendar, music player, and picture frame, but now developers will be able to write their own for users to download and enjoy.
In the coming days I’ll be digging into the new Android 1.5 “Cupcake” early release SDK and if I find anything interesting I’ll be sure to share it with you.
So what’s after Cupcake? The next development branch is called “Donut”. I sense a pattern developing.