October 31, 2014

Android 3.1 SDK Overview

Google I/O is going strong, especially with all the awesome Android news that has been announced. Amidst all the excitement and sessions, Google has unleashed the Android 3.1 SDK, giving devs access to some exciting new functionality.  Read on after the break to find out more.

 

Android 3.1 UI is designed to be more streamlined and user friendly. What this means basically is that Android just got a face lift. Most of the standard Google apps have been updated. Screen transitions are now smoother from homescreen to app drawer. Android 3.1 now allows users to adjust text color, positioning to allow for personal preference. Now you can tweak your settings to make a custom theme to suit your taste. Also among the UI tweaks is the ADW-like ability to customize the size of your widgets. Tablet users can just stretch or shrink that widget to their hearts content.

Now 3.1 is not just a bunch of dress up of the UI, oh no. Google added a slew of other features and integrations into the 3.1 SDK. Developers you might want to pay attention now.

Android 3.1 now adds support for a wide range of USB devices. This means keyboards, joysticks, gamepads, cameras and mice, oh my. The list doesn’t end there. Google is trying to perfect the Plug N Play we love so much on our computers. When you attach your USB device the Android framework will look for the appropriate application that goes with that USB device. If not found, it can present you with the URL to download the right application.

Ok devs, you have your work cut out for you now. With the Open Accessory API and the USB API developers can now begin working on apps to connect our devices to well…..everything. Just about anything that has USB capability. Google doesn’t want to send out bloated firmware to all of our handsets, that’s the carriers job. Google is giving the community the choice. If there is a need to support a device I’m sure a dev somewhere will make an app for it. This allows Android’s wardrobe to grow extensively according to the need of its users.

To make the Open Accessory API available to a wide variety of devices, we have backported it to Android 2.3.4 as an optional library. Nexus S is the first device to offer support for this feature. For developers, the 2.3.4 version of the Open Accessory API is available in the updated Google APIs Add-On. android-developers.blogspot

Now it wouldn’t be an update if we didn’t have some performance enhancements. Caching has been improved to reduce time spent computing or downloading data from the network. Reducing your cache gives you more of your system memory so the OS doesn’t lag when changing screens or loading apps etc…

This was just taste. Check out developer.android.com for the specifics about the new Android 3.1 SDK.