MobileAndroid 2.2 and Its Previous Versions: A Sweet Developer Review

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The Android platform has really matured in the past year or so. With the latest Android 2.2 SDK just released at Google I/O 2010, we thought it would be fitting to do a little review of how far the platform has come.

In typical tech-sector lingo, the Android development team has used a naming theme for all the Android SDK versions, naming each (alphabetically) after sweets: Cupcake (Android 1.5), Donut (1.6), Éclair (2.0), Flan (2.1), FroYo (2.2), and the upcoming Gingerbread (3.0). Despite being referred to as “minor,” many of these releases have had major implications for developers and carrier/operators — not to mention users.

The Android development team has been adding features to the platform at a fast and furious pace — maybe too fast for some. In the past 18 months, they have produced eight separate Android releases, each of which was deemed important enough to have its own API Level number. Statistically, since Android 1.5, 19 new packages and 172 new classes have been added to the Android SDK. Along the way, even more changes (additions, removals, improvements, bug fixes, etc.) have been made to existing classes.

We’re now on API Level 8, which corresponds to the Android 2.2 SDK. Aptly named FroYo, the Android 2.2 SDK is leaner, faster and comes with a variety of new and interesting features (flavors?). Currently, though, there are really only three SDK versions running on devices: Android 1.5, 1.6, and 2.1. It’s pretty safe to assume that most Android 2.1 devices will receive an over-the-air firmware upgrade to 2.2 in the coming months.

Now let’s look at some of the areas in which the Android platform has grown the most.


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