The last time there was an Android upgrade, I had to wait over 1 month to get mine. Fortunately this time it appears Europe had Android 1.5 launch date before users in the U.S. This is a much expected release because of the extensive list of new features.
Without further delay, here is the tour of what is new in Android Cupcake.
First, here is my home screen where you can add shortcuts, widgets and live folders:
We now have the new widgets Calendar and Music. In the “shortcuts” category, to be honest I had never used it before but here also goes a screenshot of what is offered:
I really enjoyed the calendar widget although I wish I could expand it a bit more to display more event information. Your music widget will display a cute little bar with the song currently playing or the option for you to select a playlist to start playing on your device.
Next cool feature is video recording!
The videos you record on the Android can be pushed directly to YouTube now with 2 simple clicks. A nice way for Google to tie its services well.
Next comes the soft-keyboard! I’m still struggling to get used to this new keyboard, it is so tiny compared to the ‘full sized’ one on the G1.
But, there is a very nice feature of suggested words. So, as you type the system tries to identify the word you wish to write and even if you get lost typing incorrect keys it still picks up misspellings quite well to suggest the correct word.
A nice little extra is automatic screen orientation. On the G1 you were able to get landscape view only once the keyboard was open. But, with new Android devices coming out soon without a keyboard, orientation was adjusted to how you’re holding the phone.
Last but not least, a few cosmetic changes were made. The background of the app menu is no longer transparent and the pull-down status menu had some minor visual improvements as well.
Unfortunately I couldn’t test the stereo bluetooth since the headset I used with my Nokia N96 was still not recognized.
Like mentioned, a whole lot of new things and that is not all, there is still:
- Linux kernel (version 2.6.27);
- Upload photos on Picasa;
- native video playback (MPEG-4 & 3GP formats).
The complete change log can be found here.
Unfortunately not everything is perfect… Loading some apps and going back to my home screen takes a bit longer than before. Plus, for some reason at times the app list gets loaded on-the-fly and I have to wait a few seconds for everything to get loaded and sorted alphabetically.
Overall, Cupcake is an awesome release and Android is now in a much better position to be released on more mobile phones and (rumors have it) netbooks!