Android 2.0, the next version of Google’s operating system for smartphones, has been officially unveiled. This will include a number of enhancements, most notably support for synchronizing with Microsoft Exchange.
Support for the Exchange servers used by many businesses is one of the most requested features for this OS, and the new version will bring syncing of both e-mail and contacts. Whether this feature will be included on each model will be up to the handset manufacturer.
In addition, Android 2.0 will let users synchronize multiple accounts, like several Gmail mail-boxes and an Exchange account. Messages from all of these will be collected into a single inbox.
The Contacts app is going to include a pop-up window called “Quick Contact” that will allow users to perform common tasks, like call or send a text, without having to open the full contact screen.
Google is going make changes to the on-screen keyboard layout that it hopes will make it easier to hit the correct characters and improve typing speed.
The Android 2.0 web browser will support HTML5, and allow users to zoom in by double-tapping on the screen.
The camera software is going to gain a number of new features: built-in flash support, digital zoom, scene mode, White balance, color effect, and macro focus.
The announcement of Android 2.0 comes just a day before the official unveiling for the first smartphone to run it, Verizon’s Motorola Droid. This device is expected to go on sale in early November.
Other models with this new version are expected to be released in the coming weeks. Which of the current models running Google’s operating system will be receiving upgrades is not yet known.
Google has prepared a short video demonstration some of the new features in Android 2.0: