Google opens up Android SDK

Android is getting closer and closer to hitting the shelves. Google’s Android developers blog has just announced that a beta SDK of Android is now ready for use.

Google released a very early version of the SDK late last year and after gathering up all the feedback, it’s now releasing a beta proper, which it’s promising is “now pretty stable and we don’t expect any major changes”. it’s not quite a full release yet, but it’s getting there.

Here’s what’s new in the SDK, according to Google:

• First and most obviously, the new Home screen is included, along with a ton of UI changes for 1.0.
• Some new applications are included: an Alarm Clock, Calculator, Camera, Music player, Picture viewer, and Messaging (for SMS/MMS conversations.)
• Several new development tools were added, such as a graphical preview for XML layouts for users of Eclipse, and a tool for constructing 9-patch images.
• Since we’ve got a new Home screen application now, we thought the now-obsolete version from the M5 early-look SDK might be helpful to developers, so its source is included as a sample.
• A number of new APIs are fleshed out and improved, and others are now close to their final forms for 1.0.

Google’s also released a development roadmap, to give coders a bit of insight into what’s coming up. Good to see Google being so open – not a trait you’d normally associate with the company.

It looks like Android is finally taking shape and, to top it all off, HTC’s Dream has got FCC approval for a November launch. Hopefully HTC and Google will be able to learn from Apple’s mistakes and make sure both the device and any associated App Store are problem-free when they launch.

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