SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. Developers gave a sneak peak of the next version of Android at Google I/O, showing new text-to-speech and basic handwriting recognition capabilities. Google also called for developers to use new capabilities in HTML5 to write rich applications that run inside a in a browser rather than on an operating system such as Microsoft Windows.
The next version of Android, called Donut, will sport a new text-to-speech applications programming interface that will not only speak out on-screen text but translate it into one of a handful of language. It also sports a new API that allows running search queries simultaneously on Web and on the mobile device's internal memory.
Romain Guy, an Android developer at Google, also showed support for handwriting recognition on Donut. The software correctly recognized basic letters written on a touch screen as a way to scroll to parts of an alphabetical list.
Android is now supported by 10 carriers in 12 countries and has a collection of about 4,900 applications, the company said. That's still far from the more than 20,000 apps available for the iPhone which is now sold in 70 countries.
To get a boost with developers, Google gave HTC Android handsets to the estimated 4,000 developers attending Google I/O here. It also launched a second contest for Android apps.
Separately, Google challenged developers to use new tags in HTML5 that enable support for drawing and video inside a browser without the need for plug ins or operating system features. The company also demonstrated a 3-D graphics API for browsers it released last month.
The newest browsers with these new functions can access CPU resources and graphics capabilities formerly limited to native apps," said Vic Gondotra, a vice president of engineering at Google. "We are closing the gap between browser and native apps," he said.
Browsers including Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari support HTML5. Microsoft has said it will support the standard in Internet Explorer, said Gondotra