New Features In Android 1.6 Firmware

October 2009

The new Android Firmware version 1.6, nicknamed Donut, has now been released. This page lists the great new features you'll find in version 1.6.

What's New In Android 1.6 Firmware?

Android Market

Version 1.6 of the Android Market program has been given a spruce up and now has the ability to display screenshots of the Android apps before you download them. It's also easier and clearer choosing between free and paid-for apps, and quicker to navigate around.

Screen Rotation

The automatic screen rotation feature is quicker for 1.6 and is a vast improvement over the old slow fading out and rotating.

Home Screen Search

The Android home-screen search feature has been completely redesigned for 1.6. It now searches the web, your installed Android apps, your contacts and the music on your SD card as you type. You can switch those extra search features off if you prefer the old-style Google search, but it looks like a good way to search your contacts. It also has the ability to search other programs and data, so as Android developers add the search feature to their apps, it will search those apps' data too.

Camera

Android 1.6 Donut Camere Screenshot

A major improvement is the new camera app. A row of icons is now displayed down the right hand side of the screen, which now allows switching to and from video mode, the camera shutter button and all the old features. An icon for the last picture taken is displayed which lets you share and delete as before, but now you can flip back to previous pictures too, without having to open the Gallery. And, we now have some camera settings! Hooray! We can now choose between 1, 2 or 3 mega-pixel sized pictures, and between normal, fine and super-fine picture quality. We also have the ability to turn the auto-focus off, instead focusing on infinity. Unfortunately there's still no white balance setting, but the new settings are useful all the same. The best improvement of all is the speed of the camera app. The updated camera app starts up quicker, and the delay between taking pictures is much reduced. If nothing else, you will definitely notice an improvement in the camera app in Android 1.6.

Gallery

New for the Gallery is a Multi-Select feature which allows deletion of multiple pictures at once. At last!

Battery Use

Android 1.6 Donut Battery use Screenshot

There is a new Battery Use feature in the About Phone menu. From here, you can see the breakdown of exactly what your battery power has been used up on since the phone was last unplugged. I found that ShopSavvy and Tunewiki are using a fair bit of power even though I haven't even used them for a while. Pressing each of the items in the list brings up more details such as CPU processor time used, and the option of switching various things off, or stopping or uninstalling apps that are wasting battery power. This is very useful, and also interesting in a nerdy way.

VPNs

VPNs are now supported in Android 1.6 and can be set up in the Wireless menu. I have tested this with a couple of VPNs but haven't been able to get it working.

Speech Synthesis

Speech Synthesis is now supported and will allow future apps to use it to produce very good quality speech synthesis. I expect SatNav apps for Android will use this to speak road names, etc.

Conclusion

Overall, the 1.6 Donut firmware update enables a great set of new features for Android. Make sure you click "Install Update"!

Other Android Donut 1.6 ScreenShots

Android 1.6 Donut Home Screen Search Screenshot

Great new home-screen search searches contacts, web, music and apps.

Android 1.6 Donut Android Market Screenshot

Android Market now shows screenshots of apps before downloading.

Android 1.6 Donut Gallery Multiple Delete Pictures Screenshot

Gallery now allows multiple picture deletion.