Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich SDK Download Now Available

Google [GOOG] has launched the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich SDK to developers. The new operating system was announced earlier today and brings a number of new features to the Android platform. This includes rich notifications, multitasking as well as a number of other tweaks and features.

The new SDK brings a number of APIs that developers can access. Some of them include:

* Unified UI toolkit: A single set of UI components, styles, and capabilities for phones, tablets, and other devices.
* Rich communication and sharing: New social and calendar APIs, Android Beam for NFC-based instant sharing, Wi-Fi Direct support, Bluetooth Health Device Profile support.
* Deep interactivity and customization: Improved notifications, lockscreen with camera and music controls, and improved app management in the launcher.
* New graphics, camera, and media capabilities: Image and video effects, precise camera metering and face detection, new media codecs and containers.
* Interface and input: Hardware-accelerated 2D drawing, new grid-based layout, improved soft keyboard, spell-checker API, stylus input support, and better mouse support.
* Improved accessibility: New accessibility APIs and text-to-speech APIs for writing new engines.
* Enhancements for enterprise: Keychain and VPN APIs for managing credentials and connections, a new administrator policy for disabling the camera.

Overall my first impressions of Android 4.0 are that it looks like an excellent competitor to iOS 5 although we need some time to test it first of course.

You can find out more about the SDK over here which also includes links to where you can start downloading it now.

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