18
Oct

Developers, start your engines. Fresh Ice Cream Sandwich versions of the SDK and ADT have been released. There is a ton of new stuff to learn and play with. For starters, take a look at the 4.0 platform page here, download the 4.0 SDK here, and instructions for ADT 14 are over here.

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I think I could write a book on all the new things in ICS, but here are the highlights for developers:

    • Unified UI framework for phones, tablets, and more - All the UI elements from Honeycomb, like the action bar and fragments.

    • Communication and sharing - "Applications can integrate contacts, profile data, and calendar events from any of the user’s activities or social networks." There are new APIs for Contacts, Calendar, and Visual Voicemail.

    • Android Beam - Share just about everything over NFC by tapping two phones together

    • Modular sharing widget - "The UI framework includes a new widget, ShareActionProvider, that lets developers quickly embed standard share functionality and UI in the Action Bar of their applications."

    • Low-level streaming multimedia - "Android 4.0 provides a direct, efficient path for low-level streaming multimedia." This sounds like DRM.

    • New camera capabilities - "ZSL exposure, continuous focus, and image zoom let apps capture better still and video images, including during video capture." You can also take pictures while recording video. There's also face detection.

    • Media effects for transforming images and video - "A set of high-performance transformation filters let developers apply rich effects to any image passed as an OpenGL ES 2.0 texture. Developers can adjust color levels and brightness, change backgrounds, sharpen, crop, rotate, add lens distortion, and apply other effects."

    • Audio remote controls - "Using the audio remote control API, any music or media app can register to receive media button events from the remote control and then manage play state accordingly."

    • Wi-Fi Direct - Ad-hoc networking

    • Bluetooth Health Device Profile (HDP) - For connecting to medical or fitness devices like the MotoActive.

    • GridLayout - "improves the performance of Android applications by supporting flatter view hierarchies that are faster to layout and render."

    • OpenGL ES texture views - "A new TextureView object lets developers directly integrate OpenGL ES textures as rendering targets in a UI hierarchy."

    • Hardware-accelerated 2D drawing - All Android-powered devices running Android 4.0 are required to support hardware-accelerated 2D drawing.

    • About a million other things - Stylus support, integrated spell checkers, a new framework for text-to-speech engines,  data usage, a VPN API, and policy management for the camera.

    Get to work devs, there's a lot to do.

    Source: Android Developers

    Ron Amadeo
    Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
    • Cam

      Can we get some roms? By... tomorrow maybe?

    • http://twitter.com/aslack12 Austin

      Holy hell. I was just thinking I wanted to get into Android development yesterday. This opens so many more doors it's insane.

      Anyone have a suggestion on where someone with no coding experience outside of HTML from 2002 should start?

    • Devin

      Honestly, read about java first.

      • Austin

        So, any good resources for that?

    • Josh

      What is 'ZSL exposure'. I've googled it and the internet won't tell me.

    • Thinh

      I think that "Ad-hoc networking" still not enable in this version. Do you know how to enable??