A Taste of Froyo: Google Android 2.2 Exploredby Saumitra Bhagwat on June 23, 2010 1:03 AM EST
Since last year, the Android platform has seen a string of sugary, feature-filled updates starting with Cupcake (v1.5), followed by Donut (v1.6) and finally Éclair (v2.0/2.1) in November 2009. Each release has effectively addressed bugs and has introduced several new features like UI tweaks, Exchange support, HTML5 support and so on. Android v2.2 continues the tradition of the confectionary-themed nomenclature and is codenamed “Froyo”; short for Frozen Yogurt if you didn't know. The new features and improvements in Froyo aren’t exactly groundbreaking by themselves, but in the grand scheme of things, they’ve made Android an extremely refined, usable and robust OS that is a real alternative to other mobile operating systems out today. Couple this with manufacturers like HTC churning out some seriously capable hardware and you’ve got the best version of Android to date. Read on for the full review!
Playing the Waiting Game
Android 2.2 isn't officially available on any device today. The only things floating around are leaked builds that aren't final. The closest you can get is the leaked Android 2.2 build available for the Google Nexus One on T-Mobile. It is feature complete and polished enough to upgrade as if it were final. Even AT&T Nexus One users don't have a simple path to upgrading yet - without rooting. In the coming months we expect to see the major Android devices get 2.2 (e.g. the Nexus One and the Motorola Droid) while towards the end of the year HTC users will finally be able to jump on board.
This staggered deployment is an unfortunate side effect of Google's Android customization strategy that allows handset vendors to ship with their own customized versions of the OS. While that's great for differentiation, it also means that there will be an inevitable delay between when a major OS revision is released and when it'll be implemented across the board. That being said, it is part of the Android appeal.
We already have more than one smartphone device/OS vendor that favors the our way or the highway approach, we don't need another. Competitors don't compete by doing the exact same thing, they make us happy by giving us options or alternatives.
With that said, let's get to what's new in Froyo. If you aren't familiar with Android, take a look at our Nexus One Review.
The Home Screen
The first thing you’ll notice on the home screen is the new translucent navigation bar that lets you access the dialer, app tray and browser. The new UI is clean, crisp and helps distinguish Froyo from other versions of Android easily.
Google’s added two new widgets; the new helper widget provides handy tips to manage your home screen while the app market widget displays a slideshow of popular apps in the Android market. The Google search bar has undergone some modification and now lets you search the web, contacts or apps. The YouTube widget has been given a slight facelift and now shows previews of the most viewed videos. Froyo does not include any new wallpapers or sounds, so that’s about it for the new stuff on the home screen.
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probedb - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - linkA handy article being as I'm about to buy an HTC Desire.
Finally why is there no way to report spam posts? The two above me blatently are spam.
Brian Klug - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - linkJust nuked 'em ;)
hughlle - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link"but this is largely attributable to the responsiveness of the screens being used in many Android devices. One of the main reasons why navigating the iPhone is a pleasure is because of the incongruously more accurate and responsive capacitive display"
so the negative side of the screen on the android is that it is too responsive, and apple is better than them because of their phones being so responsive? sounds kinda contradictory.
it also comes off as if trying to say that iphones have a capacitive display and other phones dont. my htc's capacitive display is just lovely.
SkullOne - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - linkI agree with that. My Droid running the leaked FRF57 is very responsive. I have zero issues controlling the touch screen.
Froyo is visibly faster then Android 2.1. Most apps don't make use of the JIT compiler yet but then again Froyo isn't officially released so that will change.
I do enjoy Flash 10.1 Beta 3 immensely. Battery life isn't hit that hard and it's nice being able to actually browse the Internet without blue blocks everywhere. The plug-ins are able to be set to "On Demand" as well meaning if you don't want Flash loading automatically it doesn't have to. Flash ads aren't an issue either due to other applications on the Android Market. ;)
kenthaman - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - linkI agree. My Droid has been running exceptionally well with FroYo installed on it. I do however have to say that after initially loading it the responsiveness when scrolling through my app menu was still sluggish, but since the package that I installed is rooted I installed one of p3's kernel packages and the Overclocking Widget and now have my phone set to 1.1 Ghz rather than the stock 550Mhz and this effectively removed nearly all lag that I've experienced.
On a different note I have noticed a few things that still seem glitchy and expect that this is simply due to the beta (read:unofficial) image. Specifically I have been unable to install the latest version of Google Maps (4.3.0) from the market it downloads and attempts to install, but then reports installation unsuccessful. I'm not too worried about this as other apps have installed fine and again this isn't a final product.
Stuka87 - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - linkI believe what he means is the majority of the android phone screens lack responsiveness. And that the iPhones screen surpasses them in this regard.
And test done by other sites show this. The Nexus one screen is the closest out there to Apple in this regard. The Motorola Droid on the other hand was extremely bad. Which I notice every time I use one. This test was run before the Incredible came out however, so its quite possible its much closer to the iPhone. And in my experience using one briefly, I would say its pretty close.
pdusen - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - linkThe Motorola Droid screen is extremely bad? Come again? What universe are you living in? Have you ever even been in the same room as a Droid?
IanCutress - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - linkNice write up. I'm still waiting for my Hero to get 2.1 here in the UK - should be sometime before July, but they've put the date back six times already. There's also no plans to move to 2.2 on the Hero, which is a shame if the JIT in 2.2 is that much better than 2.1. May have to root and flash, see what that does.
dguy6789 - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - linkI believe there is a typo in the performance section of the article. It is mentioned that there is a 60% boost in performance in the Sunspyder and BenchmarkPi when the numbers in both of those tests show more than 100% speed increases.
hughlle - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - linkwrong way around. higher to smaller.
if something takes 10 seconds to complete and you get it to do it in 5 seconds, it is a 50% increase in performance. same applies for those benchmarks.