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Android 2.1 released as Linux 2.6.33 hits rc4

Jan 14, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

The Android community released the SDK for Android 2.1, which ships with Google's new Nexus One phone, and the Motorola Backflip phone is rumored for a March AT&T launch. Meanwhile, the Linux kernel that drives Android, as well as numerous devices, desktops, and servers, was released in a WiFi-focused Linux 2.6.33-rc4.

This week, the Google-sponsored Android project released the software development kit (SDK) for Android 2.1, the distribution that's pre-loaded on the new HTC-manufactured, Google-branded Nexus One. Google's Android team describes Android 2.1 as a "minor platform release" that includes API changes and bug fixes. The SDK is said to include an Android library, system image, emulator skins, and sample applications.

New APIs include improvements to the WebKit browser engine, says a Clint Boulton story in our sister publication, eWEEK. The release also offers new view methods, hooks enabling programmers to write "live" or animated wallpapers, and the addition of a class that provides information about the device's current network signal, writes Boulton.

Additional enhancements are said to include new methods to manipulate Web storage databases, gain and set geolocation permissions, and manage settings for application cache, web storage, and zooming based on screen density. Developers can also call upon novel methods for handling video, browsing history, custom views, and app cache limits, says the story.

Modders have already patched version 2.1 onto Verizon's Droid by Motorola (pictured at left), and after high user demand, Motorola has vowed to soon bring the new version to both the Droid and the Motorola Cliq, writes Boulton.

Android 2.1 is claimed to be faster, although this is difficult to say considering the Nexus One's faster Snapdragon processor, says the story. eWEEK soon plans to test version 2.1 on the Droid and other phones to get a better feeling for the extent of the speed bump.

As for Motorola's newest Android phone, the Backflip, Phandroid has published a rumor from an anonymous tipster stating that the double-jointed phone will be launched on AT&T for $324 on March 7. The report seems likely to be accurate, as AT&T recently announced that it would offer a new Motorola Android phone with the MotoBlur UI (available on the Backflip) in an exclusive arrangement this year.

 Linux 2.6.33 reaches rc4, fills in WiFi gaps

Linus Torvalds (pictured) announced the the fourth release candidate of Linux kernel 2.6.33, and invited Linux developers to "Go forth and compile." Torvalds calls Linux 2.6.33-rc4 an "odd release," in that "something like 40% of the patches are in DRM."

According to a summary by Thorsten Leemhuis posted on The H, Linux 2.6.33 is primarily focused on providing new and improved drivers for WiFi chips by Intel, Ralink and Realtek. Other additions include various LAN chip drivers and several improvements to the network stack, write Leemhuis.

In early December, Torvalds announced the release of Linux 2.6.32. This more major release included the implementation of kernel-based mode setting (KMS), plus 3D graphics support for new Radeon cards, new kernel shared memory (KSM) technology for KVM virtualization, power-saving and performance improvements, and a faster "Devtmpfs" boot technology.


More information on the Android 2.1 SDK (with links to downloads) may be found here. eWEEK's story on the Android 2.1 SDK may be found here.

The Phandroid item on the Motorola Backflip for AT&T rumor may be found here.

Torvalds' Linux 2.6.33 notice on may be found here, and the story by The H should be here.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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