Monday, July 18, 2011

Several New Android Updates

Android API Level 13 is
Android 3.2 is
The Android team has posted several new updates in the last few days. The most obvious, which was already rolling out to consumer devices, is the Android 3.2 SDK. This is API Level 13 and is the most recent incremental update to Honeycomb. It's main new features revolve around expanded screen compatibility support. New resource qualifiers are available to developers and official support is in place for devices with screen resolutions of 1024x600 (most frequently found on 7" tablets).

The Android NDK was updated to release 6. This adds support for the x86 Application Binary Interface (ABI). Although it doesn't say as much, we're assuming this is in advance of broad availability of Android applications for Google TV devices, many of which are on Intel x86 platforms (such as the Logitech Revue, which is built around an Intel Atom processor).

The Compatibility Package has been updated to Release 3. This release marks a change from previous releases in that it now has both API Level 4 compatibility classes, several classes that are no longer exclusively for compatibility, but rather add new, useful features for developers. This includes versions of these classes for API Level 13, such that those classes behave more appropriately on the new Honeycomb release (we assume).

This has left us wondering about the future of the Compatibility Package. We've found it incredibly useful and one of the best ideas out of the Android team for adding higher level features that could be implemented on old platforms. What we're wondering is if this will become a pattern? Instead of adding a new, higher level, feature to the base API and then adding compatibility classes, will they start adding such classes directly to the Compatibility Package and now to the the base API? This would ultimately result in more efficient APIs on all SDK levels.

Either way, the Compatibility Package continues to be a very important piece of the Android picture.

Which of these updates is most interesting to you? What new opportunities do they allow for you as application developers. We love to know what you're working on!


Al said...

Where should I post a question about some problem I'm having following you book? You see, I'm on chapter 3 of Android Wireless Application Development 2nd Edition, and I'm having some trouble with getting GPS to work both on the emulator and on my Android smartphone. I've taken screenshots and recorded the LogCat logs, and I'd like to post them somewhere with a thorough description of the problem, and I don't know if this is the place to do it.

Shane Conder said...

Hi Al,

Given what you have, it would probably be best to email use directly. However, you might also look at Chapter 14 and it's code, which is on LBS an using the GPS.

The coding in chapter 3 is very high level and quick.

Al said...

Thanks. When I read chapter 14, I'll e-mail you if I still have any problems in that case.

Mike Bosch said...

Thanks for updating all of us.