Google releases Android 1.5 Early-Look SDK

Google offered developers their first look at the forthcoming Android OS 1.5, releasing an early-look SDK available for download here. Writing on the Android Developers blog, Android engineer Xavier Ducrohet notes Version 1.5 is based on the cupcake branch from the Android Open Source Project, and introduces APIs for features such as soft keyboards, homescreen widgets, live folders and speech recognition. Ducrohet nevertheless stresses that the Android 1.5 APIs have not been finalized, and there may be some changes before the final release--as a result, developers should not release applications based on this early-look SDK, because they may not work on real devices. He adds that the final Android 1.5 SDK release will be available around the end of this month.

"We've also made changes to the developer tools and the structure of the SDK itself," Ducrohet writes. "Future Android SDK releases will include multiple versions of the Android platform. For example, this early-look includes Android platform versions 1.1 and 1.5. One benefit of this change is that developers can target different Android platform versions from within a single SDK installation. Another is that it enables developers to install Android SDK add-ons to access extended functionality that might be provided by OEMs, carriers or other providers."

In a separate Android Developers blog posting, engineer Romain Guy reports Android 1.5 also brings a new default look for the Android UI framework in an effort to refine and polish the system's appearance. In conjunction with the refresh, the minimum size of some widgets has changed--for example, while Android 1.1 buttons have a minimum size of 44x48 pixels, Android 1.5 buttons now have a minimum size of 24x48 pixels. Guy adds that if developers rely on the button's minimum size, then the layout of their application may not be the same in Android 1.5 as it was in Android 1.1 because of the change, suggesting the problem can be remedied by using the android:layout_weight attribute or by replacing the LinearLayout containers with a TableLayout.

For more on Android 1.5:
- read this Android Developers blog entry

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