Google previews next version of Android

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Google previews next version of Android

Google has released a developer preview of the next version of its Android mobile operating system.

The update introduces new application programming interfaces (APIs) along with other useful features, according to Google software engineer Xavier Ducrohet.

"Android 1.5 introduces APIs for features such as [on-screen] soft keyboards, home screen widgets, live folders and speech recognition," he said in a blog post.

Google's own applications on the platform, including Gmail, Google Talk, YouTube and Picasa, have all been tweaked and offer a number of usability enhancements, Ducrohet said.

Many typical mobile phone elements now have a revamped user interface, while performance has been improved in GPS use, message and browser scrolling, and camera startup and capture, according to the firm.

Developers will get a range of supporting documentation designed to help them prepare for new Android-based devices as they are released.

"To help you prepare your applications for the release of Android 1.5 on phones, over the next few weeks we'll be publishing a series of articles on this blog to highlight new APIs and other changes," said Ducrohet.

"In addition to the new APIs that I've mentioned, we'll cover topics such as OpenGL, asynchronous tasks, system settings and new Activity callbacks."

Despite these benefits, Ducrohet had a final word of caution for impatient developers.

"I encourage you to start working with this early-look software development kit [SDK], but please know that the APIs for Android 1.5 have not been finalised," he said.

"The majority of the APIs are settled, but there may be some changes before the final release. As a result, it's very important that you don't release applications based on this early-look SDK, since they may not work on real devices."

The finished Android 1.5 SDK is expected to be released at the end of this month.

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