Android 2.0 aka Eclair shows us its goodies

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The Google Android development team announced that development of Android 2.0, codenamed Eclair, is far in development than first thought. In fact it will be released in November making its debut on Motorola’s Droid handset.

Not long ago Google pushed out the Android 1.6 aka Donut to handsets offering various improvements to performance along with some nice additional features such as a more visual indicator of processes using your battery, a power widget enabling you to toggle WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, Data Sync and Brightness, an improved camera, Speech Synthesis, Global Search and more. Look forward to a more indepth overview of what Donut brings to the table soon here on iLuvAndroid.

As soon as Donut was pushed over-the-air (OTA), many people started asking about the next firmware update, Eclair. This would be a major revision of the Android Platform, unifying many features that were previously only found on licensed handsets from HTC. Here’s a rundown of what to expect.

Contacts and accounts

  • Multiple accounts can be added to a device for email and contact synchronization, including Exchange accounts. (Handset manufacturers can choose whether to include Exchange support in their devices.)
  • Developers can create sync adapters that provide synchronization with additional data sources.
  • Quick Contact for Android provides instant access to a contact’s information and communication modes. For example, a user can tap a contact photo and select to call, SMS, or email the person. Other applications such as Email, Messaging, and Calendar can also reveal the Quick Contact widget when you touch a contact photo or status icon.

Email

  • Exchange support.
  • Combined inbox to browse email from multiple accounts in one page.

Messaging

  • Search functionality for all saved SMS and MMS messages.
  • Auto delete the oldest messages in a conversation when a defined limit is reached.

Camera

  • Built-in flash support
  • Digital zoom
  • Scene mode
  • White balance
  • Color effect
  • Macro focus

Android virtual keyboard

  • An improved keyboard layout to makes it easier to hit the correct characters and improve typing speed.
  • The framework’s multi-touch support ensures that key presses aren’t missed while typing rapidly with two fingers.
  • A smarter dictionary learns from word usage and automatically includes contact names as suggestions.

Browser

  • Refreshed UI with actionable browser URL bar enables users to directly tap the address bar for instant searches and navigation.
  • Bookmarks with web page thumbnails.
  • Support for double-tap zoom.
  • Support for HTML5:
    • Database API support, for client-side databases using SQL.
    • Application cache support, for offline applications.
    • Geolocation API support, to provide location information about the device.
    • <video> tag support in fullscreen mode.

Calendar

  • Agenda view provides infinite scrolling.
  • Events indicate the attending status for each invitee.
  • Invite new guests to events.
  • Sync support for contacts from multiple data sources including Exchange. Handset manufacturers can choose whether or not to include Exchange support in their devices.
  • New way to hover on a person to see more info and select communication mode (for example, phone, SMS, email).

Media Framework

Revamped graphics architecture for improved performance that enables better hardware acceleration.

Bluetooth

  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • New BT profiles: Object Push Profile (OPP) and Phone Book Access Profile (PBAP)

To help visualise what exactly all these changes mean and look like, check out the video below.

iLuvAndroid will be covering Eclair in more depth over the next few days, include the very exciting Google Navigation – Google’s answer to Satellite Navigation.