Google reveals upcoming Android features

T-Mobile's G1, aka the HTC Dream, was the first phone with Google's Android.
(Credit: CNET)

Imminent enhancements to Google's Android mobile platform have been revealed last week, in the form of a development effort called "Cupcake".

Android is in the process of being turned by Google from its own development project into open source. This week, some of the changes made to the mobile operating system by a private group of developers came to light in Cupcake — the Android code the group shares with the outside world. Now, according to the Android road map, the Cupcake enhancements have started to be merged into the wider, open-source Android project.

The private development branch will continue to operate, and the current merging of the new features into the master Android branch will be completed in early January.

Some of the changes coming to Android are bug fixes, affecting elements such as email, conversation-list scrolling, and the alarm clock. Several new features are, however, also being added — for example, the ability to save MMS attachments. The Linux kernel upon which Android runs has been upgraded to version 2.6.27, and "basic x86 support" has been added.

The WebKit browser core has been updated, and support for the new SquirrelFish JavaScript engine has been added. The browser will now support cutting and pasting, and will also include a find function.

Android's camera functionality has received a major boost, with the addition of video capture. Download functionality has also been enhanced; applications can pause their downloads, and interrupted downloads can now be resumed instead of failing.

Virtual keyboards will also become possible, and third-party developers will be given the application programming interfaces to create their own input methods. A new API for speech recognition is also included, as is A2DP stereo Bluetooth support.



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