Native Screen Capture Comes With Android 2.3.3

Today I learned something new coming with Android 2.3.3 that now makes me eager to install it on my Android phones. According to AndroidCentral, the source code supports the ability to take screenshots without having to root the phone.

You might notice that most of my posts about Android apps include a screenshot of the app. What you probably don’t realize is that in order for me to take that screenshot I had to install the entire Android software development kit on my PC. I am not a programmer, so why do I have to install an SDK to take screenshots, which is something iOS had built-in from day one? To take a screenshot of my Nexus S, I connect the phone to my PC with a USB cable, then run an app on my PC that captures what is displayed on the Nexus S.

Frankly, I have never understood why Google, which is supposed to be developer friendly, would have not included an ability to take screenshots of phones. Developers, after all, are the most likely, next to writers like myself, to need screenshots. Sure, they probably have the development tools, but they aren’t carrying those tools with them every where they go. Amongst Microsoft’s many face-plants with Windows Phone 7, they also failed to include the ability take screenshots of the phone.

Lest you think that only geeks care about taking screenshots, consider this very real use case. Imagine someone using Evernote on their Nexus S and they get an error message. They can try to jot down what the error message says so that they can provide it to Evernote’s support, or they could easily snap a screenshot and include a picture of what they saw. Which approach provides Evernote with the most useful information?

Including the ability to take screenshots cannot possibily cause the phone to use more battery life or slow the phone down. Screenshots ought to be a fundamental function of the operating system. I am glad that Google appears to have finally received the message. Now, will they kindly push the Android 2.3.3 update to either my Nexus One or Nexus S?