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Google gives a peek of Android 1.5

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Google has announced the availability of an "early look" at the SDK for the next version of its Linux-based Android mobile operating system, version 1.5.

Highlights include UI refinements such as animated window transitions and accelerometer-based application rotation, a soft keyboard and support for third-party keyboards, home-screen widgets such as an analog clock, calendar, and music player.

There's also an updated Webkit browser with the Squirrelfish Javascript engine, cut-and-paste, in-page search, and tabbed bookmarks. Other additions include video upload to YouTube and photo upload to Picasa, and a raft of new APIs and developer tools.

One notable feature of the new SDK is that it contains Android versions 1.1 and 1.5, with future versions slated to include multiple versions are they are developed. The advantage of this multi-version, one-SDK approach is that developers will be able to target their work to multiple Android versions from within the same SDK.

Over the coming weeks, the Android Developers Blog has promised to publish a series of articles detailing the new APIs, plus on other topics such as OpenGL, asynchronous tasks, and more.

The SDK is good news not only for those who want to see the iPhone face stronger competition, but also for T-Mobile and HP, which are both reportedly investigating Android-based netbooks. It's also a shot in the arm to Linux-lovers frustrated by Windows' gains in the netbook market.

You can download a copy of the SDK version 1.5 here. ®

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