updated 01:55 pm EDT, Tue October 27, 2009
Android 2 has new browser, multiple accounts
Google today at last provided full details for Android 2.0, its first major update to its mobile OS. The platform brings a much improved approach to mail that allows both for multiple accounts and native Microsoft Exchange support. The web browser has similarly been upgraded and is only the second HTML5-capable mobile browser outside of Safari; it further brings some of the earliest multi-touch support and recognizes double-tap zooms.
Many of the other updates either add support for more modern hardware and less conspicuous but important interface changes. Cameras can now use digital zoom and flash as well as basic image adjustments like white balance. The touchscreen keyboard has been improved and uses multi-touch to better recognize quick typing, and the contact list now has a Quick Contact shortcut that provides options to call, locate and message users from the top level.
Underneath, Android 2.0 now has better hooks for hardware graphics acceleration and recognizes Bluetooth 2.1. Earlier Android 1.6 updates like the streamlined Android Market also supplement the release.
The software is likely to prove crucial for Google as it seeks adoption for Android both in offices as well as in more advanced devices that have normally been off-limits to the platform. Its importance has been highlighted in a prominent rumor that suggests Google co-designed the Motorola Droid and will use the Verizon smartphone as its signature Android device when it's unveiled tomorrow and ships next month.