Google recently updated its SDK license terms for the first time in a long while. While most changes are minor, one change has been grabbing quite a few headlines – Google's proclamation that those using the SDK are disallowed from taking "any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android". Here's the full clause in question:
Today, with the official release of the Nexus 4, Nexus 10, and Nexus 7 HSPA+, Google has released the Android 4.2 SDK, "a new and improved Jelly Bean."
Along with the SDK release, Google has made available SDK Tools r21, the Android NDK, and of course some helpful API documents. Highlighting some of the benefits of the new SDK (and, by extension, Android 4.2), Google touts "Renderscript computation directly in the GPU" for the Nexus 10, "a first for any mobile computation platform," lock screen widgets, Daydream, incredibly enhanced support for external displays, and optimizations for international users.
Before we get started, let's clarify something: this information is probably not relevant to you, unless you work for a major game publisher. Today, Ouya announced that they have some more Dev Kits available for pre-order if you want to get early access to the Android-based gaming console. The price tag (and this is why it's not relevant for you) is sitting way up there at $800.
For the cash, those purchasing the Dev Kit will receive one console, two controllers, and the OUYA Developer Kit.
We've been covering the OUYA since its original debut as an ambitious idea on Kickstarter in July. Within a month, the campaign had raised an astounding $8.6 million. We've also heard that OUYA is partnering with Square Enix, will include OnLive support, and a whole lot more (thanks to Founder Julie Uhrman's AMA on Reddit).
After a brief pause in OUYA news, Uhrman recently published a post to the official OUYA blog, giving readers a "full update" on the project.
Previously, most of these titles were restricted to Sony's own Android phones, but the company has struck a deal that will bring 30 new titles from a variety of genres to selected Fujitsu and Sharp smartphones as well. This may not be big news for stateside customers, but it's particularly significant in the Japanese market.
One of the highlights of Samsung's Galaxy Note II announcement at IFA yesterday was the increased functionality carried by the device's hallmark S Pen stylus. The Note II's version of the Pen, besides being "ergonomically designed for the perfect grip," allows users to quickly clip, crop, and edit screen content, adding further illustration and handwritten keyword recognition. The Pen now also features a unique "hover" functionality, whereby an app can recognize that the Pen is near the screen and react accordingly with contextual menus or other activities.
The Android developers' tools team, headed by the usual suspects Xavier Ducrohet and Tor Norbye, led a session at I/O 2012 today dedicated to improvements and new features coming to the tools devs use to make apps - ADT for Eclipse and SDK Tools.
Everything they showed took around an hour of nonstop talking, arm flailing, and cracking jokes about the French, but among all the new goodies one prominently stood out - multi-configuration editing.
Version 2 of the SDK, which has just been announced by Google, now includes full mobile support for both Android and iOS apps, allowing mobile apps to read and write directly to Google Drive. Android Drive users will also be able to choose from a list of supported applications when opening a file from Drive, allowing them to edit files on the go using either a phone or tablet.
Coinciding with the announcement of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Android developers can now pull down a new revision of Android's SDK tools – revision 20, along with a new version of the ADT Plugin, also r20 (which Eclipse users will need to use SDK r20).
The revised SDK tools bring several improvements. One of the notable additions to the SDK tools is System Trace (otherwise known as systrace), a tool (included in Project Butter) that helps monitor system activities, allowing developers to pinpoint graphical rendering or other issues.
Qualcomm, the company behind the S4 processor that so many US devices are receiving as consolation prizes in exchange for LTE, has announced that it will be releasing its own SDK for Snapdragon processors. The SDK will initially support the S4, and continue to support future processors as they're released, supporting multiple tiers of hardware.
The company touts the SDK as enabling developers to more tightly integrate their apps with Qualcomm hardware, as well as enabling access to more powerful hardware features, like so:
- facial processing, such as blink and smile detection, which makes it easier to take better pictures of people in groups;
- burst capture, which leverages zero shutter lag to photograph a stream of images at once to select the best shot;
- surround sound recording for better audio capture;
- hardware echo cancellation for better real-time audio experiences;
- sensor gestures (tap-left/tap-right, push/pull, face-up/face-down, tilt) that enable developers and device makers to push the envelope on new, differentiated user interfaces;
- low power always on geofencing capabilities; and
- indoor location that enables apps to continue providing accurate location information even when the user is indoors.