Along with the new features, the cupcake update also rights some of the issues early Android adopters had with version 1.0, adding faster camera startup, speedier Web and Gmail conversation scrolling and swifter GPS location acquisition.
The SDK offers dozens of new APIs and developer tools for the application and software creation, including support for multiple versions of Android in a single SDK installation; improved JUnit support in ADT; and easier application profiling.
Google cautioned, however, that the preview is an "early look" and some things are subject to change.
"This is an early look at SDK only," Google's Android developers team wrote. "The tools and documentation are not complete."
Because the SDK is not completely finalized, Google said developers can get familiar with the APIs, but they shouldn't release applications for Android 1.5 just yet. The official SDK should be ready by the end of the month, Google said, but it was unclear Tuesday when Android device users will have access to the updated software.
Android 1.5 offers the first Android update since the Android made its public debut in October on the HTC-made T-Mobile G1. Since the G1 was released, smartphone makers like Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and others have announced plans to develop devices around Android.
Additionally, T-Mobile recently revealed that it is building a home phone and a tablet that will be Android-based, while rumors continue to circulate that some computer makers, including Hewlett-Packard, are planning to build netbooks around the open-source operating system.
The updated Android platform, which has been rumored since December, comes as Android's chief rival, the Apple iPhone, readies an operating system overhaul of its own with iPhone OS 3.0 software, which is due to be released sometime this summer. The new software puts Android in a better position to compete, with the addition of video recording and other features that Apple is still lacking, while some of the new Android features, like video playback and a virtual keyboard, are already standard iPhone functions.
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