Android 2.0 gets torn apart, screenshot by screenshot


With Google having placed a canoe-sized Eclair on their lawn a few days ago, we know that the next update for Android (codenamed “Eclair”, version number 2.0) can’t be too far off. Google has kept their code surprisingly close to their chest, this time around; where as bits and pieces of each update generally show up in their code repositories to be explored months ahead of release, Eclair has gone mostly unseen.

Whether that’s because they wanted to keep things mum until the launch of the first 2.0 phone or what, we’ll never know – but either way, the cat’s out of the bag now. The Boy Genius Report got their hands on a Moto Sholes running 2.0, and gave it a fairly rigorous visual runthrough.

A lot of major components have seen major overhauls. Here’s the quick list:

  • The OS now has native support for Facebook, including contact syncing
  • Native Exchange support
  • There’s a new unified inbox that brings all of your emails to one place – except Gmail emails. Those are still handled through the Gmail app.
  • The maps application has been overhauled to support “layers”, which lets you toggle overlays such as Wikipedia entries, Latitude buddies, etc. There does appear to be multitouch support in the app, but you can not pinch to zoom.
  • The browser has been kicked up a notch in the speed department, along with an overall UI polish.
  • New Widgets, including an on-the-spot Youtube record/upload widget.
  • We’re not sure if this is part of 2.0 or something that the handset manufacturer added, but this build includes something called “Car Home”. Car Home allows you quick voice-based access to a bunch of functionality, limited to the scope of stuff you’d need while driving. You can, for example, launch a Google Maps search for nearby coffee.
  • The contacts screen has been dramatically cleaned up, removing much of the screen-to-screen clutter that has been dragging it down. Tap a name, and available contact methods pop out of a little speech bubble. Fun!

Check out the full runthrough here.