Google has released an SDK for Android 2.0, revealing some new features that will come with the upgraded mobile operating system.
The news comes a day before a Verizon event in New York City that will introduce the operator's first Android phone, which will run Android 2.0. However, the upgrade path for existing Android phones, and some that are soon to go on sale, is uncertain.
Android 2.0 includes a number of new features, such as digital zoom on the camera, multi-touch control and an email inbox that combines messages from multiple accounts.
The new Quick Connect feature will let users touch the photo of a person in the contact list and then select call, text or email from a menu. It is designed to make it easy for users to communicate with contacts.
The feature is a welcome addition, said Avi Greengart, an analyst with Current Analysis. "The knock on Android has been that it's boring. The UI's whole functionality is not as polished as what you get on WebOS, iPhone or even Android with third-party overlays like the HTC Sense," he said. Sense is a user interface that HTC developed for some of its Android phones.
Android 2.0 also includes Exchange support. Android users have been able to get e-mail from Exchange in various ways, including through third-party applications or support provided by the hardware vendor. With the latest version of the operating system, Exchange support is built in, although Google specifically notes that handset makers can choose whether to include Exchange.