Android 1.6 – the Donut update is now available for developers, but only for HTC Dream and HTC Magic. What about my Hero?! I will have to wait until later this month apparently. Argh!
What is new then?
- The biggest change is the introduction of a new and more powerful Android Market. This will make it much easier to discover and try great apps and games. Like the iPhone App store, the Market will break down categories of applications into Top paid, Top free, and newly released offerings. And at long last, you’ll be able to see screenshots of programs before you download them.
- The “g” icon is gone from the search box on the home screen. While it might not seem like much, this is a hint that you can now do much more than Google web searches using this widget. In 1.6, search now works across multiple sources such as the titles of all your applications, names in your contacts folder, browser bookmarks, and so forth. Over time, the system learns which search results you find relevant and will bubble those up to the top as you type in the first few letters of a query.
- The gallery, camera, and camcorder user interface has gotten a major facelift. Taking pictures is also much faster, up to 39% faster to take the first picture and 28% faster to take the second and subsequent ones.
- Ever wonder why your battery doesn’t last as long as it used to? Now you can find out by consulting a new battery usage screen. It will show which applications and services are consuming the most power, so you can decide to change the settings on those programs, stop them, or uninstall them as needed.
- You can now connect to your work network using one of several supported types of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).