In Anticipation Of An Actual Phone, Android Releases A New SDK

Now that the first Android phone has been approved by the FCC, Google figured it might be a good time to update the software development kit for the mobile OS. There were hints that this would happen earlier today, but now it is official. According to the Android Developer’s Blog, here is what is new:

* First and most obviously, the new Home screen is included, along with a ton of UI changes for 1.0.
* Some new applications are included: an Alarm Clock, Calculator, Camera, Music player, Picture viewer, and Messaging (for SMS/MMS conversations.)
* Several new development tools were added, such as a graphical preview for XML layouts for users of Eclipse, and a tool for constructing 9-patch images.
* Since we’ve got a new Home screen application now, we thought the now-obsolete version from the M5 early-look SDK might be helpful to developers, so its source is included as a sample.
* A number of new APIs are fleshed out and improved, and others are now close to their final forms for 1.0.
* Tons of bugs were fixed, of course. (If you had problems with the MediaPlayer, try it now!)

This SDK is still not the 1.0 release. (It is version 0.9). There are still bugs and some features that had to be removed because of security reasons, such as support for GTalk and Bluetooth. (That won’t do). But those should return once the bugs are fixed, hopefully by the time the 1.0 version is available in September.

This release has been long overdue, but now that it is out may begin to appease many of the mobile app developers out there who have been frustrated by the general lack of access to the latest SDK. But with T-Mobile’s Android phone only two or three months away, it doesn’t give them a lot of time to create jaw-dropping apps. The new SDK can be downloaded here. (And screen shots can be found at Hello Android).

MobileCrunch has a cavalcade of screenshots showing the actual browser interface.