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Building on the momentum of the first demos of prototype Android handsets at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the internet's favorite search engine has released a new version of the Android software development kit (SDK).

The upgrade - which includes an improved user interface and extended media support - had been widely anticipated after, ahem, significant feedback from developers about bugs and limitations found in earlier versions. These problems prompted Google to extend the deadline for its $10 million Android developer challenge to April 14. Developers can submit applications to the challenge built with any version of the SDK.

The Android SDK still has some way to go in meeting developers' demands, but its presence at least puts Google at the forefront of a new wave mobile platform development. Apple has yet to produce an SDK for the iPhone - although a limited version is reported to be imminent. And the LiMo Foundation plans to release its full Eclipse-based SDK in the second half of 2008, with a first version due next month.®

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