Where’s the Android 2.1 SDK?

The Android 2.0 SDK was available for about a week before the Motorola Droid (the first Android 2.0 device) went on sale. If the Nexus One is going on sale today then where is the 2.1 SDK?

This makes me think that there is something in the SDK that would give something away. Something like a cool new feature not seen in any applications on the preview handsets. VOIP? Integrated Google Voice? Speech-to-Text available in every app? Better 3D graphics? Pixie dust? A replicant personal assistant that follows you round and makes cups of tea? Who knows.

It could be that the Nexus One is just being announced today and won’t go on sale for a little while, giving Google time to get the Android 2.1 SDK released.

Update 19:33 2010/01/05: Looks like I was almost there! In the press conference they mentioned that every text field on the phone can now use Speech-to-text and a new “3D graphics framework” in Android 2.1. Can’t wait for the SDK!
Update 2010/01/12: Nope I was way off. The 2.1 SDK is a minor update.


Reader Widgets V2.3 out

I have just uploaded updates to both Reader Widget versions. Here is the changelog:

  • Migrated to JSON stream for headlines using Jackson. This speeds up updates for the large widget by about 25% and uses 25% less data.
  • Webview layout tweaks for landscape on larger screened devices like the Droid
  • Radio buttons on last config screen selected from preferences already saved
  • Bug fix: email links in the webview now work
  • Bug fix: reconfiguring time displayed on small widget used to display the wrong icon.
  • Bug fix: sometimes menus on the dialogue boxes (tag list and headline list) would not be at the bottom of the screen

Dear Santa…

… I’m not asking for anything for this Christmas but for next year I want the perfect Android phone to be released. Maybe a keyboardless Droid, maybe the Nexus One, Two or Three (or six?) but with the following:

  • 3.7 inch 854×480 screen
  • Decent camera with:
    • Flash (xenon if possible)
    • Physical button that can be half pressed for focus
    • 720p video recording
  • Running stock Android 2.x
  • Physical buttons on the front for home/back etc
  • Trackball
  • Decent amount of on board memory (1Gb+) for apps
  • 802.11n Wi-fi if possible

Although my next phone will probably be a stock Android 2.x device, I’ll still install the HTC Hero keyboard on it.


Reader Widgets V2.2 out

I have just uploaded updates to both Pro and Free Reader Widget. Here’s the change log:

  • Bug fix: Motorola Droid force close on docking
  • Bug fix: browser launch option goes to Reader start page as configured on the Reader site instead of the “Feeds” view
  • Bug fix: HTC Hero sometimes got stuck launching webview
  • Bug fix: headline list in large widget force closes if the widget is configured for a single feed.
  • Bug fix: headline list in large widget can now be sorted by headline title if the widget is configured for a single feed.
  • Exit button added to menus in pop-ups (headline list, webview, tag list).
  • Separate styles for spinner (drop down list) and spinner drop downs on the final configuration screen. This saves room and looks better

Is Google Ditching Gears?

Google Gears has been conspicuous by its absence in two places recently. The Droid no longer has Google Gears geolocation built into its browser. Instead it uses HTML5. In the recent Chrome OS announcement it was also HTML5 all the way. I think perhaps Google was using Gears as a stop gap until HTML5 came on stream. Now its supported by the Firefox 3.5, iPhone 3.x, Palm Pre and Android 2.0 there’s not much reason to keep Gears going. This is probably a Good Thing as now developers can being to concentrate on using one geolocation implementation.
Update 1st Dec: Looks like I’m not the only one who has noticed this: Gizmodo: Is Google Gears Dead?


Motorola Droid/Milestone thoughts

I liked the Droid. It has a really solid, heavy feel to it. Android 2.0 certainly looks better than previous stock versions and the screen is gorgeous. Most operations were snappy but for some reason swiping from home screen to home screen was a bit laggy. The physical keyboard is not as good as the G1’s in my opinion. It feels odd with no spacing between the keys and no offset between the rows. The virtual one is not as good as the Hero’s in my opinion despite being larger and faster. Hopefully somebody will port HTC’s to it, although that could be difficult because of the higher screen resolution. I didn’t like the capacitive home, menu and back buttons on the front and found myself missing the trackball. There’s the D-pad to the right of the physical keyboard but no equivalent when the phone is shut. The camera felt much better than the Hero’s although I didn’t get much time with it. The examples we got to play with were from the US so no multitouch and they only worked on Wifi.

Overall it is probably the best Android phone to date but I’ll be sticking with my Hero for now. I’ll wait for Sony Ericsson’s X10 or HTC’s rumoured Dragon/Passion, to see how they turn out. Although the Acer Liquid looks interesting.

The other phones I got to play with were not as exciting as the Droid. The LG Eve was probably the worst as the replacement interface was just plain bad. The app drawer tab was replaced with four icons and it was hard to tell their functions. One launched the app drawer but the apps were categorized which actually made them more difficult to find! The resistive screen was horrible too.
The HTC Tattoo wasn’t too bad. It’s screen is resistive but it only required a little pressure compared with the Eve and didn’t feel as squishy. The virtual keyboard was actually quite useable. It’s the smallest Android phone to date as far as I know and it’s cheap so it might entice many more people to the platform. Quite how HTC managed to squeeze it’s Sense UI onto such a small screen and still make it look pretty is beyond me!
I didn’t get any time with the Samsung Behold II but impressions from the other devs were not good. Samsung’s TouchWiz UI did not go down favourably.


Back from Android Developer Lab

I had a good day at the Android Developer Lab. It was pretty freeform with a short presentation, lunch and then diving right into device testing. We got our hands on:

  • Motorola Droid
  • HTC Tattoo
  • LG Eve
  • Samsung Behold II

I concentrated on the Tattoo and Droid because of their non-standard screen resolutions. The Reader Widgets worked with only minor alignment issues on the large widget on the Tattoo. A fix is on its way.


Android Developer Lab London 19th Nov

I applied to go to the first Android Developer Lab in London but that filled up too quickly. They’re putting on a second one on Thursday this week which I am going to. If anyone also attending wants to say hello, I’ll be carrying a blue backpack and answering to the code word ‘Ubik’. Or the name Mark. Looking forward to getting my hands on some shiny new Android 2.0 hardware and meeting some fellow devs.


Minor Reader Widget updates

I have just uploaded new versions of the Reader Widgets to the market. There are only minor updates:

Reader Widget Small V1.8:

  • Bug fix: Landscape orientation time text and icon getting cut off
  • Explicitly stated supported screen sizes in manifest

Reader Widget Pro V1.81:

  • Bug fix: database code tidied up. There was an issue when docking the Motorola Droid causing a force close. This should be resolved now.
  • Bug fix: Small widget landscape orientation
  • Bug fix: Large widget landscape orientation time text and icons getting cut off
  • Bug fix: Large widget landscape orientation gap on the right on new large screen devices like the Droid

Reader Widget updates for large screens

I have just uploaded updates to both Reader Widget Small and Reader Widget Pro. Both have a tweaked layout which is tidier and supports large screens like the one in the new Motorola Droid. Here are the full change logs:

Reader Widget Small V1.7:

  • New layout using 9 patch PNG file
  • Built with Android 1.6 SDK
  • Supports larger screens e.g. WVGA 800×480
  • PNG files run through optipng to save space
  • zipaligned APK file to improve performance

Reader Widget Pro V1.8:

  • New layout using 9 patch PNG file. This saves space compared to the old separate backgrounds for each widget size.
  • Built with Android 1.6 SDK
  • Supports larger screens e.g. WVGA 800×480