Android Jelly Bean SDK released to public

Android 4.1 SDK now available to the general public

Google's Android development team announced Wednesday evening that the full software development kit for Android 4.1 (a.k.a. Jelly Bean) is now available to the general public, and provided some tips and tricks for working with the new software, to boot.

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Android engineer Nick Butcher says in an official blog post that developers should take a look at the new features available in the SDK and make sure their applications are making the best of what Jelly Bean has to offer.

"For many people, their first taste of Jelly Bean will be on the beautiful Nexus 7 tablet]. While most applications will run just fine on Nexus 7, who wants their app to be just fine?" he asked.

In the post, Butcher offered tips for scaling and customization of apps running in Android 4.1, which helps avoid the problem of programs designed for phone-sized screens appearing strange or incomplete on a tablet display.

He also urged developers not to impose too many feature requirements on their apps. For example, due to the Nexus 7's lack of a standard rear-mounted camera, apps requiring the android.hardware.camera feature won't be made available to the tablet's users.

Developers are also encouraged to experiment with the new SDK features in Android 4.1, including richer notification information, hardware-accelerated rendering (Google's Project Butter), and the action bar.

The Jelly Bean source code was released last week, along with factory images for the Galaxy Nexus smartphone and Nexus 7 tablet. Official updates are expected soon for the older Nexus S smartphone, though users of the CDMA version may have to wait a little bit longer. However, community-made unofficial ROMs for several devices are available to those with root access and a willingness to tinker.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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