06 December 2010

Android 2.3 Platform and Updated SDK Tools

Today we're announcing a new version of the Android platform — Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). It includes many new platform technologies and APIs to help developers create great apps. Some of the highlights include:

Enhancements for game development: To improve overall responsiveness, we’ve added a new concurrent garbage collector and optimized the platform’s overall event handling. We’ve also given developers native access to more parts of the system by exposing a broad set of native APIs. From native code, applications can now access input and sensor events, EGL/OpenGL ES, OpenSL ES, and assets, as well a new framework for managing lifecycle and windows. For precise motion processing, developers can use several new sensor types, including gyroscope.

Rich multimedia: To provide a great multimedia environment for games and other applications, we’ve added support for the new video formats VP8 and WebM, as well as support for AAC and AMR-wideband encoding. The platform also provides new audio effects such as reverb, equalization, headphone virtualization, and bass boost.

New forms of communication: The platform now includes support for front-facing camera, SIP/VOIP, and Near Field Communications (NFC), to let developers include new capabilities in their applications.

For a complete overview of what’s new in the platform, see the Android 2.3 Platform Highlights.

Alongside the new platform, we are releasing updates to the SDK Tools (r8), NDK, and ADT Plugin for Eclipse (8.0.0). New features include:

Simplified debug builds: Developers can easily generate debug packages without having to manually configure the application’s manifest, making workflow more efficient.

Integrated ProGuard support: ProGuard is now packaged with the SDK Tools. Developers can now obfuscate their code as an integrated part of a release build.

HierarchyViewer improvements: The HierarchyViewer tool includes an updated UI and is now accessible directly from the ADT Plugin.

Preview of new UI Builder: An early release of a new visual layout editor lets developers create layouts in ADT by dragging and dropping UI elements from contextual menus. It’s a work in progress and we intend to iterate quickly on it.

To get started developing or testing applications on Android 2.3, visit the Android Developers site for information about the Android 2.3 platform, the SDK Tools, the ADT Plugin and the new NDK.

Check out the video below to learn more about the new developer features in Android 2.3.