As Verizon Wireless prepares to unveil its new Motorola Droid smartphone tomorrow, Google today released the SDK for the much-anticipated 2.0 update to the operating system. Code-named Eclair, Android 2.0 offers a number of feature improvements and interface tweaks. As expected, we will get multitouch support (yay!), but Google has some surprises up its sleeve. Here are the highlights that users should see.
- Syncing for multiple e-mail accounts, including Exchange accounts and contacts. According to the small print, however, "handset manufacturers can choose whether to include Exchange support in their devices." Ick.
- Developers can create sync adapters for additional data sources.
- The capability to e-mail, text, or call a contact by tapping their photo. What's more, this "Quick Contact widget" can reside in multiple apps such as such as e-mail, Messaging, and the calendar.
- A combined e-mail in-box
- Improved camera controls with digital zoom, a scene mode, white balance controls, color effects, and a macro focus
- A revamped Android virtual keyboard layout for faster, more accurate typing. Also, as Google puts it, "the multitouch support ensures that key presses aren't missed while typing rapidly with two fingers."
- A smarter dictionary that will include contact names
- Bluetooth 2.1 with object push and phone book access profiles
- Refurbished browser user interface with improved search and navigation, bookmarks with Web page thumbnail support for HTML5, and support for double-tap zoom
- Text and multimedia message search
- In the calendar app, the agenda view has infinite scrolling. Events indicate the attending status for each invitee and you can invite new guests to events.
Verizon's Droid will offer the new OS, but it's unknown at this time when, and if, it will push out to existing Google Android devices. Once we get a Droid review model, we'll consume Eclair and report back on how good it tastes.