Google on Thursday took the wraps off “Froyo,” the next version of Android that’s been bolstered with new speed, tethering capabilities and Flash support.
Announced at Google I/O, version 2.2 of Android is the seventh platform release since it was launched in 2008 — includes a ton of new features for both users and developers. It will arrive soon, with some devices getting the update “in the coming weeks,” Xavier Ducrohet, Android SDK Tech Lead, wrote on the Android Developers blog. Developers can now download the Android 2.2 SDK and Android NDK, Revision 4, from the Android developer site.
A Portable WiFi Hotspot
Then there are Android 2.2′s new tethering capabilities, which mean that devices including the Nexus One can be turned into a portable WiFi hotspot that can be shared with as many as eight devices. An Android-powered phone can also be used as a 3G connection for a Windows or Linux laptop by connecting the phone to the computer with a USB cable, allowing the connection to be shared between the two devices. “In the greatest irony at I/O, WiFi went down under the weight of 5,000 people simultaneously trying to access it,” Kameka noted. “It was crucial for several people, including me, to be able to use their phone’s connection to get on the Web. “I’m only able to do this through hacking the phone or using third-party solutions, but official support built into Android saves me the hassle and money, provided carriers permit tethering,” he added.
Android 2.2′s new auto-update feature, meanwhile, “is something I’ve wanted for months,” Kameka said. “Android previously required users to update their apps one at a time,” he explained. “Developers often update their apps, so it was common to have to manually update eight to 10 apps at once.” The new update feature will provide “a one-click option for getting new versions of the apps people love,” he said.
To Kill The Competition
Also included in Froyo are a Home screen tips widget and more dedicated shortcuts, better Exchange support, Bluetooth support, a 2.6.32 kernel upgrade, new features in the camera and gallery, and support for Adobe Flash. “Regardless of who wins the HTML5 vs. Flash debate in the future, Flash is one of the most important web technologies now,” Kameka pointed out. “Flash may not be a necessity for mobile devices, but it makes a tremendous difference in the amount of content users are able to access. Android will be increasingly attractive to people who want more media consumption options.” Android 2.2 also includes a raft of new developer APIs as well as new features for the Android Market. “Android is the second-best selling phone OS in the U.S., trailing only RIM’s BlackBerry,” Kameka noted. “After today’s announcement, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it achieve the number one spot. “Thanks to more attractive devices, increased speed and becoming more business-friendly,” he concluded, “Android adoption will likely have a leg up on both Apple and RIM.”