Android "Cupcake" build nearly golden brown: Preview SDK released, feature list finalized

Four months of discovery and hearsay later, the Android build that we’ve all been waiting for is nigh. Run inside, everyone – run inside and charge your G1s, for Cupcake (Firmware v1.5) is nearly upon us. (Actually, it’s still a few weeks away. But you should charge your G1 anyway, seeing as it’s a G1 and the day is halfway over, so the battery’s probably almost dead.)

The Android Developers Blog announced today the availability of an “early look” Android 1.5 SDK. This release seems like a mostly complete version of the final release, though Google warns that some of the APIs are bound to change.

Beyond the features that v1.5 brings to the end user (see below), the new SDK carries a few key changes:

  • The SDK now supports multiple versions of the platform, so developers can continue to work on applications for the current release (v1.1) while preparing their apps for the next one.
  • Developers can now install SDK add-ons. This allows carriers, OEMs, and other third-parties to easily expand the SDK for their needs without Google having to hold their hand.

With Google releasing a preview version of the SDK (thus allowing developers to ensure their apps are in working order), it seems quite likely that Cupcake will start to roll out to the end user as soon as the final version of the SDK goes live – which should happen ” around the end of this month”.

With the release approaching, the final feature list has been disclosed. Though anyone who’s kept an eye on our continued Android coverage should recognize most of the list, a few tidbits manage to sneak in under the radar.

The Highlights:

  • On-screen keyboard support, with support for auto-correct, text prediction, user dictionaries, and third-party keyboard layouts
  • Live folders (Auto-updating folder shortcuts for things such as YouTube favorites, Starred Contacts, and, with the API now available, whatever else developers conjure up)
  • Video Recording
  • MPEG4 and 3GP Video Playback
  • Stereo Bluetooth
  • Browser enhancements: New ultrafast “Squirrelfish” javascript engine, search within a page, copy and paste, UI changes
  • New Linux Kernel
  • Google Application enhancements: View Google Talk friend statuses in contacts, SMS, MMS, Gmail, and Email
  • New frameworks for developers to build upon: Widget creation, Live Folder creation, Raw audio recording/playback, Video recording, Speech recognition
  • Faster GPS, Faster camera startup, faster Gmail scrolling, and smoother browser scrolling

Want to read the full list? Check it out here.