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20 May 2010

Android 2.2 and developers goodies.

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Today at Google I/O we announced that Android 2.2 is right around the corner. This is our seventh platform release since we launched Android 1.0 in September 2008. We wanted to highlight five areas in particular:

Performance & speed: The new Dalvik JIT compiler in Android 2.2 delivers between a 2-5X performance improvement in CPU-bound code vs. Android 2.1 according to various benchmarks.

New enterprise capabilities: We’ve added Exchange capabilities such as account auto-discovery and calendar sync. Device policy management APIs allow developers to write applications that can control security features of the device such as the remote wipe, minimum password, lockscreen timeout etc.

Faster, more powerful browser: We have brought the V8 JavaScript engine to the Android browser as part of 2.2. This has resulted in a 2-3X improvement in JavaScript performance vs. 2.1.

Rich set of new APIs and services: New data backup APIs enable apps to participate in data backup and restore, allowing an application's last data to be restored when installed on a new or a reset device. Apps can utilize Android Cloud to Device Messaging to enable mobile alert, send to phone, and two-way push sync functionality. Developers can now declare whether their app should be installed on internal memory or an SD card. They can also let the system automatically determine the install location. On the native side, a new API now gives access to Skia bitmaps.

Additions to Android Market: Android Market provides Android Application Error Reports, a new bug reporting feature, giving developers access to crash and freeze reports from users. Developers will be able to access these reports via their account on the Android Market publisher website.

For a complete list of everything we’ve included in Android 2.2, please see the platform highlights.

Developers can now download the Android 2.2 SDK and Android NDK, Revision 4 from the Android developer site.

Tools update

We are releasing new version of the Android SDK Tools, Revision 6, Eclipse plug-in ADT 0.9.7 and Android NDK, Revision 4.

Android SDK Tools, Revision 6, Eclipse plug-in 0.9.7

These new versions include support for library projects that will help you share code and resources across several Android projects.

Android NDK, Revision 4

Workflow improvements The new NDK brings a host of workflow improvement, from compilation, to debugging. Starting with 2.2, the NDK enables debugging native code on production devices.

ARMv7 instruction set support This release enables the generation of machine code for the ARMv7-A instruction set. Benefits include higher performance, as well as full use of the hardware FPU for devices that support it.

ARM Advanced SIMD (a.k.a. NEON) instruction support The NEON instruction set extension can be used to perform scalar computations on integers and floating points. However, it is an optional CPU feature and will not be supported by all Android ARMv7-A based devices. The NDK includes a tiny library named "cpufeatures" that can be used by native code to test at runtime the features supported by the device's target CPU.

For more information, please see the releases notes for the SDK Tools, ADT, and NDK.

As I said at the beginning, Android 2.2 will be here soon, and some devices will get the update in the coming weeks. I invite application developers to download the new SDK and tools and test your applications today.

Check out the video below to learn more about Android 2.2.