Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) issued its Android 2.3 mobile operating system update, which arrives via the new Nexus S smartphone, developed in collaboration with Samsung. According to Google, Android 2.3 is the fastest Android iteration to date, boasting a series of user interface refinements, a new keyboard and text selection tool and improved copy/paste functionality. "We'll be open-sourcing Gingerbread in the coming weeks and look forward to new contributions from the Android ecosystem in the months ahead," writes Google vice president of engineering Andy Rubin on The Official Google Blog.
Google also issued its Android 2.3 SDK/NDK, available for download here. Highlights of the new platform technologies and APIs include a concurrent garbage collector and improved event handling designed to improve overall responsiveness, particularly for mobile gaming. "We've also given developers native access to more parts of the system by exposing a broad set of native APIs," writes Android SDK Tech Lead Xavier Ducrochet on the Android Developers Blog. "From native code, applications can now access input and sensor events, EGL/OpenGL ES, OpenSL ES, and assets, as well a new framework for managing lifecycle and windows. For precise motion processing, developers can use several new sensor types, including gyroscope."
Also new in the Android 2.3 SDK: Rich multimedia enhancements, led by support for video formats VP8 and WebM. Gingerbread also supports AAC and AMR-wideband encoding and provides new audio effects like reverb, equalization, headphone virtualization and bass boost. Additional bells and whistles include support for front-facing cameras, SIP/VoIP and Near Field Communications.
Alongside the Android platform update, Google is releasing updates to the SDK Tools (r8), NDK, and ADT Plugin for Eclipse (8.0.0). Features include simplified debug builds, Integrated ProGuard support, HierarchyViewer improvements and a preview of a new UI Builder that enables developers to create layouts in ADT by dragging and dropping UI elements from contextual menus.
- read this Android Developers Blog entry
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