The newest version of the Android software development kit is now available.
Android 1.6 adds new telephony APIs for CDMA networks, additional screen resolutions including QVGA and WVGA, and a new virtual private network (VPN) control panel with support for a range of VPN types.
A list of highlights is posted on the Android site for developers.
Android is finally starting to gain traction among device makers. Motorola, which is betting on Android to power a return to prominence in the smartphone market, just introduced the Cliq, its first phone with the open source device operating system. LG followed days later with the LG-GW620.
HTC recently introduced its third Android phone, the HTC Hero. It's first Android device is available in the U.S. from T-Mobile as the G1.
The new 6.1 version of the OS also includes a redesigned search framework. It creates a quick, consistent search across several sources, such as browser bookmarks, contacts, etc, from the home screen. The new framework can "learn" which results are more relevant, so that popular contacts for example will appear near the top of the list in response to the first few letters of the search query.
The software has a new gestures framework that lets developers create, store, and recognize fingertip gestures adn associate them with specific actions.
There is an update user interface to encompass an integrated camera, camcorder and image gallery. The camera launch is now faster by nearly 40% and you can move from one shot to the next nearly 30% faster.
The 1.6 release includes a speech synthesis program called Pico, which lets any Android application speak a text string wiht an appropriate language accent.
The new SDK can be downloaded at the Android developer site.
Android recently updated its Android Market Website, the online catalog for Android applications, with new features designed for the 1.6 release. Among other changes,developers now can upload screenshots, promotional icons and detailed descriptions of their software.