Google preps next version of Android
The updated version will support soft keyboards and allow widget creation in the home screen
IDG News Service - Developers will be able to take a look at the SDK (software development kit) for the next version of the Android platform, Google Inc. announced on Monday on its developer blog.
Version 1.5 of the smartphone platform will include support for soft keyboards, including ones from third parties, live folders and speech recognition.
Another feature that is drawing interest from at least one developer is the ability to create widgets for the home screen. "That is something people have been longing for. ... Users don't have to start the application because it's just on your home screen," said Konrad Hübner, founder of SkyCoders, whose Cab4me application reached the top 10 in the Android Developer Challenge.
Google also promises better camera and GPS performance, support for video recording and the stereo version of Bluetooth.
Improvements for developers include the option to target different Android platform versions from within a single SDK installation, and to install Android SDK add-ons to access extended functionality that might be provided by, for example, operators, the blog post stated.
Google, however, will also have to make it easier for developers to make money from their applications if it wants to keep them interested, according to Hübner. Apple has done a better job in that regard, he said.
A final version of the SDK is expected later this month, and Version 1.5 will be available as an over-the-air update for Android-based smartphones soon thereafter, according a Google spokesman.
There are still only two phones based on the open-source operating system: the HTC Dream -- also known as the T-Mobile G1 -- and Vodafone's HTC Magic, which will start shipping this month in countries, including Germany and the U.K., according to a Vodafone spokeswoman.
Android has a tremendous amount of support from phone manufacturers, but it has gotten off to a slow start, said Geoff Blaber, analyst at CCS Insight. The progress it has made in a short time shouldn't be underestimated, but the smartphone space is highly competitive, so the sooner Google can start ramping up the volume the better, he said.
Blaber said he expects more than six products to be available by the end of the year with more being announced for 2010.
Samsung has said it will launch three Android phones this year, while release dates from Android backers LG Electronic, Motorola and Sony Ericsson are uncertain.
The lack of phones isn't a big problem for developers, according to Hübner. It was obvious from the beginning that it would take some time before many devices became available, and it has allowed developers more time to get comfortable with the platform, Hübner said.
Operators will also continue to play an important role in the rollout of Android-based smartphones. However, there are still questions around the platform and uncertainty about what it means for operator business models going forward, Blaber said. It is taking some time for wireless carriers to meet with Google and determine how the relationship will work in a way that will benefit both parties, he said.
But the interest is there. Vodafone has come to the conclusion it's something it can't risk being without, and more operators will follow in its footsteps, Blaber said.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
As emerging technologies evolve they often find an initial niche in highly specialized scenarios, or in specific industry verticals, before expanding to wider areas of applicability. Within these initial niches, the early adopters can be anything from digital enthusiasts to fashionistas, or they can be folks simply using the technology because it serves a specific need extremely well. (free registration required) more