Well, Android 1.6 is due in about a month or so, reported by Android Developers Blog. This came to light as Android 1.6 SDK was released earlier. Fantastic. And there are few things you may want to be aware of.
First of all, big things are in store for devices that runs on Android. And there is a video associated with it.
- Support for additional screen resolutions
- new telephony API
- Gesture support
- Search integration - no need to go into the browser
- Updated Marketplace - improved discoverability - basically, closer to what iPhone users have.
Here's a bigger implication and I'll tell you what it is. Screen resolution. It means handset makers can use bigger screens than the 3 inch-ish ones that are used. It allows for smaller screens as well.
Then there's the gesture support. Rumor has it that in deference to Apple, Google left out multi-touch support. Well, lately, things between Apple and Google could be going through rough waters so it makes sense that we're now seeing a more robust gesture experience from Android. When I first started using the G1, I had the urge to pinch and spread with my thumb and index finger to zoom in and out of the screen. That came from using the iPhone.
Screen resolution. Gestures. It means greater freedom but it also mean Android tablets, like the just released Archos 5 Internet Tablet, may start trickling out. I'm not sure Archos' new tablet will support 1.6 from the get-go but it's only a matter of time.
So, right now, I'm pretty happy. There's a lot to be happy about. Oh, and here's the video.
More on Android 1.6 at Android Developers Blog