Android News

Android 1.6 (Donut) SDK released, adds several new features

September 16, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka

Android OS

Android 1.6 (Donut) SDK released, adds several new features

The developer kit for Android 1.6 is now available. Android 1.6, also known as the Donut build, includes several new features and optimization tricks designed to greatly enhance the next version of Android. The SDK and the Android Developers blog have revealed some interesting previews of those features.

Quick Search

Android has universal search in Donut, which will scan all areas of a phone’s data – e-mail, SMS messages, and even third-party apps that are “searchable.” The system is able to recognize which results are most important to users, so contacts or apps that have been previously clicked will move to the top of future searches.

Improved Camera, Camcorder, Gallery

The Android Camera, Camcorder, and Gallery apps have been updated with an interface that makes it easier to navigate between each. Switching from camera to camcorder is easier, and the camera moves 39% faster than previous versions. There is also a 28% improvement in speed when taking one photo and moving along to next.

New Android Market

We knew this was coming but I bet you’re still happy to see there is a noticeable improvement. The Market has a new interface; options to pick between most popular paid apps, most popular free apps, and newest apps; screenshots if the app developer added them.

Text-to-speech engine

The multi-language/accent “Pico” will make Android speak text in English (American or British), French, Italian, German, and Spanish. From the description, I’d gather that this is better than the current TTS library previously seen on Android. G1 or Dream users will have to download the new engine once it is released.

Gestures

App developers can now take advantage of in-app gestures. Swipes in any direction would perform any function that the developer ties to those movements.

There is also a new Battery Usage Indicator, support for CDMA (Sprint and Verizon networks), expanded support for different screen resolutions and densities, and a new version of OpenCore with audio codecs.

When will I get Donut on my phone?

That depends on your carrier and luck. If recent history is any indication, it could be as early as sometime next month. The over the air update for Cupcake started for some users shortly after the SDK was released.  However, each carrier in each market will have its own roll-out plans, so there’s no universal answer.

With the Sprint Hero set to be released next month, Donut including CDMA support, and the fact that the CyanogenMod ROM for rooted phones already includes Donut features, some users may see it as early as October.