What To Expect From Android 1.6 Donut


Google released the SDK for Android OS 1.6 last week to allow developers to test their applications before the actual update rolls out next month.  Curious about what you can expect?  Read on and find out.

Two changes come in as the most notable of the lot for current users, namely the new Quick Search Box and the overhauled Android Market.  The universal search comes with a redesigned framework for finding items from all over, poring through every nook and cranny you allow it to, including contacts, apps, browser history and more.  It integrates a learning mechanism that takes note of your searching habits to facilitate faster results.

For the Android Market, there's an obvious push towards enticing users to make more purchases.  Navigation, for instance, has been updated to put a spotlight on paid apps, while the addition of screenshots should help users find interesting software much easier.

CDMA phones (e.g. Verizon and Sprint handsets) and Wi-Fi networks with WPA2 encryption are now supported for this update, allowing the platform to further expand its reach.  There's also a new VPN control panel for business users needing access to a remote machine.

Never been a fan of the cameras on current Android phones, but Donut should make them a bit more usable.  According to Google, OS 1.6 should see considerably faster launch and shot-to-shot times with the camera's UI, as well as an easier time toggling between different screens.  Other changes include an improved battery usage screen, accessibility features for disabled users,  a gesture control framework, multilingual text-to-speech and better security.

Android OS 1.6 Donut should work on all current Android phones, including the G1, despite the phone's limited storage space.  Expect it to be available for end users by next month or November at the latest.


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