Android 2.2 APIs

API Level: 8

Android 2.2 is a minor platform release including user features, developer features, API changes, and bug fixes. For information on developer features and API changes, see the Framework API section.

For developers, the Android 2.2 platform is available as a downloadable component for the Android SDK. The downloadable platform includes an Android library and system image, as well as a set of emulator skins and more. To get started developing or testing against Android 2.2, use the Android SDK Manager to download the platform into your SDK.

Platform Highlights

For a list of new user features and platform highlights, see the Android 2.2 Platform Highlights document.

API Level

The Android 2.2 platform delivers an updated version of the framework API. The Android 2.2 API is assigned an integer identifier — 8 — that is stored in the system itself. This identifier, called the "API Level", allows the system to correctly determine whether an application is compatible with the system, prior to installing the application.

To use APIs introduced in Android 2.2 in your application, you need to set the proper value, "8", in the android:minSdkVersion attributes of the <uses-sdk> element in your application's manifest.

For more information about how to use API Level, see the API Levels document.

Framework API Changes

The sections below provide information about changes made to the application framework API provided by the Android 2.2 platform.

App installation on external storage media

The Android platform now allows applications to request installation onto the device's external storage media (such as the SD card), as an alternative to installation onto the device's internal memory.

Application developers can express the preferred installation location for their applications by means of a new attribute of <manifest> in the manifest file, android:installLocation. The attribute supports three values: "internalOnly", "preferExternal", and "auto". At install time, the system checks the value of android:installLocation and installs the application .apk according to the preferred location, if possible. If the application has requested external installation, the system installs it into a private, encrypted partition in the external media. Once an application .apk is installed externally, the system lets the user change the storage location of the .apk and move it onto the device's internal memory if needed (and vice versa), through Manage Applications in the user settings.

By default, the system installs all applications onto the device's internal memory, except for those that explicitly request external installation. This means that the system will always install legacy applications onto internal memory, since they do not have access to the android:installLocation attribute. However, it is possible to configure and compile a legacy application such that it is installed internally on older versions of the platform and externally on Android 2.2 and later platforms, if necessary.

Note that requesting installation onto the device's external media is not suitable for all applications, particularly because the external media may be removable and unmounting/remounting may disrupt the user experience and system settings.

For more information about setting a preferred install location for your application, including a discussion of what types of applications should and should not request external installation, please read the App Install Location document.

Data backup

The platform now provides a generalized backup service that applications can use to backup and restore user data, to ensure that users can maintain their data when switching devices or reinstalling the application. The Backup Manager handles the work of transporting the application data to and from the backup storage area in the cloud. The Backup Manager can store any type of data, from arbitrary data to files, and manages backup and restore operations in an atomic manner. For more information, see Data Backup.



Speech recognition and third-party recognition engines

  • The platform provides new speech-recognition APIs that allow applications to have a richer interaction with the available voice recognizer. For example, the APIs are sufficient to integrate voice recognition deeply into an IME.
  • The platform also provides a RecognitionService base class that lets third-party developers create plug-in recognition engines.
  • New RecognitionListener interface to receive callbacks.
  • New RecognizerIntent extras that let a requester app specify details as preferred language, minimum length in milliseconds, and so on.

Camera and camcorder

Device policy manager

New device policy management APIs allow developers to write "device administrator" applications that can control security features of the device, such as the minimum password strength, data wipe, and so on. Users can select the administrators that are enabled on their devices. For more information, see the classees or the example application code in

UI Framework

  • New UI modes "car mode" and "night mode" and UiModeManager let applications adjust their application UI for specific user modes.
  • New ScaleGestureDetector that lets Views detect and handle transformation gestures that involve more than one pointer (multitouch) using the supplied MotionEvents.
  • Improvements in the way that multitouch events are reported in MotionEvent objects.
  • The layout attribute fill_parent is renamed to match_parent. This affects both XML and Java code (see ViewGroup.LayoutParams). Note that the platform will continue to honor uses of fill_parent in legacy applications.
  • New layout attributes tabStripEnabled, tabStripRight, and tabStripLeft let developers customize the bottom strip of TabWidgets.
  • Better support for managed dialogs in Activity.

Accounts and sync

  • New method AddPeriodicSync() lets you schedule a periodic sync with a specific account, authority, and extras at the given frequency.

New manifest elements and attributes

  • For specifying the application's preferred install location (see App Installation on External Storage Media, above):
    • New android:installLocation attribute of the <manifest> element. Specifies the default install location defined by an application.
  • For managing user data backup (see Backup manager, above, for more information):
    • New android:backupAgent attribute of the <application> element. Specifies the component name of the BackupAgent subclass provided by the application to handle backup/restore operations, if any.
    • New android:restoreAnyVersion attribute of the <application> element. Boolean value that indicates whether the application is prepared to attempt a restore of any backed-up dataset, even if the backup is apparently from a newer version of the application than is currently installed on the device.
  • For managing the platform's JIT compiler:
    • New android:vmSafeMode attribute of the <application> element. Boolean value that specifies whether to disable JIT compiler optimizations when running the application.


  • android.permission.BIND_DEVICE_ADMIN — Any device administration broadcast receiver must require this permission, to ensure that only the system can interact with it.
  • android.permission.KILL_BACKGROUND_PROCESSES — Allows an application to call killBackgroundProcesses(String).
  • android.permission.BIND_WALLPAPER — Any WallpaperService must require this permission, to ensure that only the system can interact with it.
  • android.permission.SET_TIME — Allows an application to set the system time.

API differences report

For a detailed view of all API changes in Android 2.2 (API Level 8), see the API Differences Report.