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Android 1.5 Platform Highlights

April 2009

The Android 1.5 platform introduces many new features for users and developers. The list below provides an overview of the changes.

User Interface Refinements

  • System-wide:
    • Refinement of all core UI elements
    • Animated window transitions (off by default)
    • Accelerometer-based application rotations
  • UI polish for:
    • In-call experience
    • Contacts, Call log, and Favorites
    • SMS & MMS
    • Browser
    • Gmail
    • Calendar
    • Email
    • Camera & Gallery
    • Application management

Performance Improvements

  • Faster Camera start-up and image capture
  • Much faster acquisition of GPS location (powered by SUPL AGPS)
  • Smoother page scrolling in Browser
  • Speedier GMail conversation list scrolling

New Features

  • On-screen soft keyboard
    • Works in both portrait and landscape orientation
    • Support for user installation of 3rd party keyboards
    • User dictionary for custom words
  • Home screen
    • Widgets
      • Bundled home screen widgets include: analog clock, calendar, music player, picture frame, and search
    • Live folders
  • Camera & Gallery
    • Video recording
    • Video playback (MPEG-4 & 3GP formats)
  • Bluetooth 
    • Stereo Bluetooth support (A2DP and AVCRP profiles)
    • Auto-pairing
    • Improved handsfree experience
  • Browser
    • Updated with latest Webkit browser & Squirrelfish Javascript engines
    • Copy 'n paste in browser
    • Search within a page
    • User-selectable text-encoding
    • UI changes include:
      • Unified Go and Search box
      • Tabbed bookmarks/history/most-visited screen
  • Contacts
    • Shows user picture for Favorites
    • Specific date/time stamp for events in call log
    • One-touch access to a contact card from call log event
  • System
    • New Linux kernel (version 2.6.27)
    • SD card filesystem auto-checking and repair
    • SIM Application Toolkit 1.0
  • Google applications (not available in the Android 1.5 System Image that is included in the Android SDK)
    • View Google Talk friends' status in Contacts, SMS, MMS, GMail, and Email applications
    • Batch actions such as archive, delete, and label on Gmail messages
    • Upload videos to Youtube
    • Upload photos on Picasa

New APIs and Manifest Elements

  • UI framework
  • AppWidget framework
  • Media framework
    • Raw audio recording and playback APIs
    • Interactive MIDI playback engine
    • Video Recording APIs for developers (3GP format).
    • Video and photo sharing Intents
    • Media search Intent
  • Input Method framework
    • Input Method Service framework
    • Text-prediction engine
    • Ability to provide downloadable IMEs to users
  • Application-defined hardware requirements

    Applications can now use a new element in their manifest files, <uses- configuration> to indicate to the Android system what hardware features they require in order to function properly. For example, an application might use the element to specify that it requires a physical keyboard or a particular navigation device, such as a trackball. Prior to installing the application, the Android system checks the attributes defined for the <uses-configuration> element and allows the installation to continue only if the required hardware is present.

  • Speech recognition framework
    • Support for using speech recognition libraries via Intent. See RecognizerIntent.
  • Miscellaneous API additions
    • LocationManager - Applications can get location change updates via Intent
    • WebView - Touch start/end/move/cancel DOM event support
    • Redesigned Sensor Manager APIs
    • GLSurfaceView - convenience framework for creating OpenGL applications
    • Broadcast Intent for app update install succeeded - for smoother app upgrade experience
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