Details of Android’s forthcoming Donut update have been few and far between. Over the weekend, however, developers were able to get their hands on some new Android code from Google and now fresh information regarding its features is starting to emerge. Contrary to rumors, Donut is not Android 2.0, but many of its capabilities will likely be found in the next official firmware update.

First the bad news: system wide multi-touch with gesture support is still not available for Android, even though the platform can clearly handle it as it has been demonstrated by unofficial sources. The feature is considered to be the single most important distinction between Android and Apple's iPhone or Palm’s Pre. But Donut still brings a slew of much lauded features; including CDMA support, universal search, text to speech, WPA enterprise Wi-Fi encryption, support for VPN, and automated backups.

A new camera application and improved camera performance are also expected, as well as some new widgets built into the user interface for quickly powering on or off functions such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.

No word on when existing Android devices will have access to these new features; and since Donut is a development branch, its code is there as a test bed and is not guaranteed to appear in whichever official Android release comes next. That said, Google has also shared plans to issue biannual updates for Android, so a 2.0 release with most (if not all) of the aforementioned features will likely arrive towards the end of the year.