Guest Feature: Android Donut – What does the end user get?

by Ben Smith on 22nd September 2009

Friend of the site Richard Hyndman (@GeekYouUp in all the places that matter…) knows Android.

He’s Mr Android and he lives on Android street (kinda).

Actually, he’s CTO at Mippin (the mobile-web gurus), but when he’s not doing that, he’s a well-known Android virtuoso.  In this guest feature he cracks the lid on the much anticipated next release of Android – 1.6 aka ‘donut’ – to give us an insight into the changes that matter.

This is part 2 of a series he’s posting at his own blog (part 1 covers the additional screen sizes 1.6 will support) so go there immediately for more Android-y goodness (once you’ve read this).

Over to him…

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I’ve been running Android 1.6 (donut) on my handset for a week now, so here is a quick guide of what to expect, tied to a little expectation management.

Android Market Updates:

The most obvious update is the much needed revamp of the Android Market. The new UI provides a far more compelling end user experience, now including application screenshots.

Good job, well done. Although I’d still love to see a recommendation engine included so you get a ‘you may like’ section. It is still quite easy to miss decent apps/games in the ‘Just In’ section and the Featured apps list is quite limited.

Quick Search Widget:

A great little addition to the default Android widgets. This little puppy lets you search contacts, applications, bookmarks and web information without actually launching the browser. It is location sensitive and I’ve used it a lot, +1 for productivity.


Battery Monitor:

So the bad news is that my battery life isn’t any better, but on the plus side I can now tell where it is all going. The handy Battery Monitor is very quick to point out the Wireless LAN is a great big battery hog.


VPN Connectivity:

If your home or office has a VPN then this will be a very pleasant little suprise, built in VPN connectivity.

Toggle Switches Widget:

Another nice little add-on, makes simple tasks that little bit easier by giving you instant access to Wifi, Bluetooth, GPS, Sync and Brightness settings. Does a good job of making a lot of Market apps completely redundant.


Speech Synthesis:

So far only slightly interesting as all it can do is say its test phrase in multiple languages. Hopefully we’ll see some apps using this soon.

General System Performance:

Always slightly subjective as every single machine on this rock we call Earth is faster after a wipe and clean operating system install. However I’d claim that it is still absolutely flying after a week of installing 50+ apps and using it more than a tortoise uses its shell.

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