It has been a long time coming, but it looks like Android 1.6 is nearing its final release. Google announced today that the Android 1.6 SDK is available for download. This means that developers can begin testing their apps with Android 1.6 to ensure compatibility with the new update.
Recent Android history suggest that end users might see an official OTA update in about one month. We had been speculating that Android 2.0 might also be released in October, but it appears to have been moved to an early December time frame.
Highlights of Android 1.6 include:
Android 1.6 includes a quick search box that allows you to search across a wide variety of sources (contacts, bookmarks, the web, etc). The quick search is constantly refining its results based on what has been clicked in the past. After some use, popular contacts and apps will pop up near the top of the list after typing in just the first few letters of the query.
New, faster camera and camcorder
Another updates comes in the way of the new camera, camcorder, and gallery. They’ve all got a new user interface that should making capturing and managing photos and videos easier than ever before. Compared to the previous release, launching the camera is now 39% faster and the gallery now allows you select and delete multiple images.
Battery usage indicator
A new battery usage screen lets users see which apps and services are consuming battery power. If you notice that a particular app is using too much power, you can take action to save the battery by adjusting settings or by stopping or uninstalling the application.
Android Market Updates
The latest version of the Market improves the overall user experience and makes it easier for users to discover great apps and games from developers. There are new categories filters (Top paid, Top free, and Just in), new screenshot options, and a completely overhauled user interface. Google has posted a video of the new Market in action.