Android 2.3 SDK released: video walkthrough and new feature highlights

Not only did Google formally announce Android 2.3 earlier, they have also released the Android 2.3 SDK as well. You may be wondering what some of the exciting new features are, so we’re going to tell you about them! Continue reading after the break for a video walkthrough straight from Google, and a rundown of some of the most important new features of Gingerbread.

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Now that you’ve watched the video, let’s run down some of the new features one by one, shall we?

UI refinements for simplicity and speed

While the UI did not receive a total overhaul, Google is really plugging the speed and simplicity tweaks that were made with the stock Android UI. By making things a bit simpler, Google was able to cut down on the CPU load which will ultimately increase battery life. They are also touting its speed, which is one of the things I am looking forward to the most.

Faster, more intuitive text input

I’ve always been a big fan of the stock Android keyboard, so it’s nice to hear that they’ve decided to make it even better by slightly reshaping and repositioning the keys for faster input and better accuracy. Also added is the ability to correct entered words from dictionary suggestions. If a user selects a word they have already entered, the keyboard will bring up a number of suggestions from the dictionary to replace that word (see above).

Another great new feature of the keyboard is one-touch word selection and one-touch copy and paste. Users can simply press and hold a word to copy and paste to the clipboard, and simply pressing a word will allow the user to drag a set of arrows to select the range of text they wish to copy and paste.

Improved power management

One of my most anticipated new features in Android 2.3 are the improved power and task management changes Google has made. Android 2.3 takes a more active role in managing apps now, watching for apps that are running in the background and wasting too much CPU power and closing them if necessary. If it works well, this should help improve battery life across all Android devices, which is something that definitely needed to be addressed. Google has also added a shortcut to Manage Applications in the Options Menu in the Home screen and Launcher, which makes it a lot easier to manage apps.

Enhancements for gaming include:

  • Native input and sensor events
  • Gyroscope and other new sensors, for improved 3D motion processing
  • Open API for native audio
  • Native graphics management
  • Native access to Activity lifecycle, window management
  • Native access to assets, storage
  • Robust native development environment

Also, a full list of new platform technologies include:

Media Framework

  • New media framework fully replaces OpenCore, maintaining all previous codec/container support for encoding and decoding.
  • Integrated support for the VP8 open video compression format and the WebM open container format
  • Adds AAC encoding and AMR wideband encoding

Linux Kernel

  • Upgraded to 2.6.35

Networking

  • SIP stack, configurable by device manufacturer
  • Support for Near Field Communications (NFC), configurable by device manufacturer
  • Updated BlueZ stack

Dalvik runtime

  • Dalvik VM:
    • Concurrent garbage collector (target sub-3ms pauses)
    • Adds further JIT (code-generation) optimizations
    • Improved code verification
    • StrictMode debugging, for identifying performance and memory issues
  • Core libraries:
    • Expanded I18N support (full worldwide encodings, more locales)
    • Faster Formatter and number formatting. For example, float formatting is 2.5x faster.
    • HTTP responses are gzipped by default. XML and JSON API response sizes may be reduced by 60% or more.
    • New collections and utilities APIs
    • Improved network APIs
    • Improved file read and write controls
    • Updated JDBC
  • Updates from upstream projects:
    • OpenSSL 1.0.0a
    • BouncyCastle 1.45
    • ICU 4.4
    • zlib 1.2.5

There’s a lot of stuff to digest right now, I know. Over the next couple of weeks we will be looking at a lot of these features more closely as new information begins to emerge, so stay tuned for all the latest and greatest

[via Android Developer]

» See more articles by Tyler Cunningham


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