updated 03:25 pm EDT, Wed May 28, 2008
Android Demo at D Conf
Google's Android operating system has been demonstrated with new changes and on what appears to be a prototype of the HTC Dream, according to news from Android Community and others attending the company's I/O Conference. The latest version of the mobile operating system shows subtle but iPhone-like interface touches that haven't previously been seen in earlier builds, including multiple home screens and a tray of permanently visible icons for commonly used apps. A built-in mail client (primarily intended for Gmail) also shares cosmetic similarities to Apple's own application.
Unique to Google's implementation, however, are always-accessible menus: users can drag down the title bar to access recent notifications or tap and hold on a main screen to reach certain bookmarks or contacts. Phone users also have more options to customize the main interface; they can drag contacts and other items out to the home screen to have one-tap access, or add clocks and other widgets directly viewable from the desktop without having to launch a dedicated program.
Features in the presentation may also have revealed the feature set of the HTC Dream, which is understood to be one of the few named devices to carry Android. The three-by-five-inch device superficially resembles the iPhone with a chrome bezel around its touchscreen but is more notable for its interior features. In addition to 3G cellular Internet access, the Dream reportedly includes an accelerometer that can be used with Google's Street View mapping feature: users can pivot the phone itself to change the view and look at map markers from the same angle they see in real life.
No clues are provided as to the release date of Dream or any other Android phones, though the first are expected late this year.