The new version of Google's open source mobile operating system was announced this morning on the Android Developers Blog. Android 2.0, also known as Eclair, provides new application program interfaces for contact accounts, Bluetooth and screen resolution support. The platform release will be deployed in November to Android handsets, and the software developer's kit is now available. Prior to this release, in Android 1.6 (AKA Donut), the Account manager had limited ability to sync contact data. The new API pulls from multiple accounts and supports two-way sync. Another feature is Quick Contact, where touching a contact icon shows the user all available communication methods - call, text, IM, e-mail, etc. Not only is this available in contact lists, the API can be used for any program that involves interacting with other people. The same motion of clicking the image of a user brings up the quick contact dialog list.
The new platform includes an API that allows applications to access Bluetooth on a device, using the protocol for proximity-based interactions. On the Eclair features video, an example game demonstrated multiple players interacting with an object that moved freely over more than one screen during gameplay.
Another feature of the new SDK allows a single application to be properly resized to accommodate any screen size. Because of this, a single version of an app can be rendered correctly on any Android-running device, without being coded for each screen resolution.
Along with these major improvements, Gizmodo lists some other power-ups: "Searchable SMS, Exchange support, more in-depth camera controls, a better keyboard with full multitouch, a revamped browser with a better UI and HTML5 support, and it goes on."
The newest Android phone, Motorola's Droid, will be launched tomorrow on the Verizon Wireless network. According to VentureBeat, the handset is poised for strong competition to the iPhone, as most pre-release smartphones are billed.