On April 27, 2009, Google released the new Android 1.5 patch and its SDK.  I didn’t have time until now to update my phone.  Before I go on showing some screen capture of what the new interface looks like, here are the information about the patch:

The Android Developers Blog post

Android 1.5 Platform Highlights

(http://developer.android.com/sdk/android-1.5-highlights.html)

User Interface Refinements

  • System-wide:
    • Refinement of all core UI elements
    • Animated window transitions (off by default)
    • Accelerometer-based application rotations
  • UI polish for:
    • In-call experience
    • Contacts, Call log, and Favorites
    • SMS & MMS
    • Browser
    • Gmail
    • Calendar
    • Email
    • Camera & Gallery
    • Application management

Performance Improvements

  • Faster Camera start-up and image capture
  • Much faster acquisition of GPS location (powered by SUPL AGPS)
  • Smoother page scrolling in Browser
  • Speedier GMail conversation list scrolling

New Features

  • On-screen soft keyboard
    • Works in both portrait and landscape orientation
    • Support for user installation of 3rd party keyboards
    • User dictionary for custom words
  • Home screen
    • Widgets
      • Bundled home screen widgets include: analog clock, calendar, music player, picture frame, and search
    • Live folders
  • Camera & Gallery
    • Video recording
    • Video playback (MPEG-4 & 3GP formats)
  • Bluetooth
    • Stereo Bluetooth support (A2DP and AVCRP profiles)
    • Auto-pairing
    • Improved handsfree experience
  • Browser
    • Updated with latest Webkit browser & Squirrelfish Javascript engines
    • Copy ‘n paste in browser
    • Search within a page
    • User-selectable text-encoding
    • UI changes include:
      • Unified Go and Search box
      • Tabbed bookmarks/history/most-visited screen
  • Contacts
    • Shows user picture for Favorites
    • Specific date/time stamp for events in call log
    • One-touch access to a contact card from call log event
  • System
    • New Linux kernel (version 2.6.27)
    • SD card filesystem auto-checking and repair
    • SIM Application Toolkit 1.0
  • Google applications (not available in the Android 1.5 System Image that is included in the Android SDK)
    • View Google Talk friends’ status in Contacts, SMS, MMS, GMail, and Email applications
    • Batch actions such as archive, delete, and label on Gmail messages
    • Upload videos to Youtube
    • Upload photos on Picasa

Android 1.5 Version Notes

(http://developer.android.com/sdk/RELEASENOTES.html)

This SDK release includes many new features for developers. Highlights of the changes include:

  • Multiple versions of the Android platform are included (Android 1.1, Android 1.5). The tools are updated to let you deploy your application on any platform in the SDK, which helps you ensure forward-compitility and, if applicable, backward-compatibility.
  • Introduces Android Virtual Devices — (AVD) configurations of options that you run in the emulator to better model actual devices. Each AVD gets its own dedicated storage area, making it much easier to work with multiple emulators that are running concurrently.
  • Support for SDK add-ons, which extend the Android SDK to give you access to one or more external Android libraries and/or a customized (but compliant) system image that can run in the emulator.
  • The new Eclipse ADT plugin (version 0.9.x) offers new Wizards to let you create projects targetted for specific Android configurations, generate XML resources (such as layouts, animations, and menus), generate alternate layouts, and export and sign your application for publishing.
  • Improved JUnit support in ADT
  • Easier profiling of performance
  • Easier management of localized applications. You can now include or exclude locale resources when building your APK from a single Android project.
  • A new tool called “android” replaces the activitycreator script.

Android Dev Phone Update

(http://www.htc.com/www/support/android/adp.html)

Instructions of how to update the Android Dev phone is available above.  In short, on a Windows machine:

  1. Download the Radio and Image files from the above link
  2. Download the Android 1.5 SDK and put it in the path (e.g. C:\Program Files\android-sdk-windows-1.5_r1\tools)
  3. Open a command line console in Windows
  4. Run: adb devices – and make sure your device is hooked up to the Windows box
  5. Run: adb push <radio-image-package>.zip /sdcard/update.zip
  6. Run: adb shell sync
  7. Reboot the device into recovery mode by holding down the HOME key during reboot. When the device enters recovery mode, it displays a “!” icon.
  8. With the recovery console displayed, open the sliding keyboard and hold down the ALT+l key combination to enable log output in the recovery console.
  9. Next, hold down the ALT+s key combination to install the update. An “installing update” icon and progress bar (or a similar status message) are displayed.  When the progress bar completes, the installation is finished.
  10. Press the HOME-BACK key combination to write the radio image, update the firmware, and automatically reboot. Note that if you do not use HOME-BACK at this point, the device will not load the updated radio image. After writing the radio image, the device shows a “updating firmware” icon for a few seconds and then automatically reboots in normal mode
  11. Reboot and enter fastboot mode – power up the device (or reboot it) while holding down the BACK key. Hold the BACK key down until the bootloader screen is visible and shows “FASTBOOT”
  12. Run: fastboot erase cache
  13. Run: fastboot update <imagepackage>.zip
  14. (Optional) Run: fastboot reboot

That’s it!  Fast and easy!

My Feedback

  • I like the general UI update they did in this release.  The new SMS, Browser, GMail, and Calendar interface looks a lot nicer. Unfortunately Power Manager, the previously free version no long work under 1.5.
  • When I try to uninstall the Power Manager (otherwise I’ll keep getting error messages), it was spinning, so I have to force a reboot or two to get that fixed.  In GMail, it now allows selecting multiple e-mails with options: Archive, Labels, and Delete, which is pretty nice.  However, when I click to get the context menu of an e-mail, the 3rd option down is “Mute”.  I am not entirely sure what it is for.  May be a bug?
  • When I launch the Maps, it asks me to join “Latitude” to share location with my friends.
  • The IM icon now say “Google Talk” which is probably more appropriate I guess.  It also have a “switch chat” options under the main menu.
  • Mashable also have a new post on – Google Android Now Supports Video Uploads to YouTube – personally I don’t use the camera on the phone, but this could be useful for folks who videoblog.