Google tinkers with Android

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Google has released a new version of the software development kit for its Android mobile phone platform..

The latest 'm5-rc14' release includes a new user interface, location-based geocoder functions, support for new media codecs and the ability to create layout animations.

The geocoder options allow developers on the open platform to turn an address into a coordinate, and vice-versa, as well as allowing users to search for businesses.

"We are continuing the early look at the Android SDK that we started in November by providing updates to the Android APIs and developer tools, based in part on the great feedback and suggestions developers have been giving us," Google 'developer advocate' Jason Chen wrote on the Android developers' blog.

However, user comments on the Hello Android blog were divided on the new interface.

Half of the posts described the interface as "very nice", while some were clearly dismayed by its appearance.

"Guys, honestly I don't see anything nice there," wrote Nikolay Klimchuk. " User controls are ugly and inconsistent, size of font is unreasonable, contrast and colours are weak. In terms of GUI design it looks like Windows 3.1 or old Linux."

Another user wrote: "I can't believe they changed the home screen bar thing to a bunch of buttons."
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