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.

Settings & UI Tweaks
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  • Zirconium - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    Nope, dguy6789 is right. If it takes you 10 seconds to complete something that only takes me 5, then I am 100% faster than you, not 50%. Think of it like this: you and I are running a race (in this case, Android 2.1 and 2.2 are racing to complete a task). If I finish in half the time as you, then I am running twice as fast, or 100% faster. According to the numbers posted, Android 2.2 is about 140% faster on BenchmarkPi and 155% faster on SunSpider.

    Is it just me, or is it sad that I have to explain basic math on a tech site?
    Reply
  • Saumitra - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    That's right, I just saw the spreadsheet I had with the numbers and noticed an error in the formula! Let me update that ASAP! Reply
  • hughlle - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    haha, i'm just tired and confused. i'm sat here thinking that if something is 100% faster, that it is not though a 100% performance increase. just ignore me today haha Reply
  • cleric7x9 - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    Actually, since you are using the word "faster" as a qualifier, you begin with the slower (higher) value. Therefore, 5, in relation to 10, is 50% slower, or in other words, 100% faster.

    Is it just me, or is it sad that I have to explain basic math on a tech site?
    Reply
  • djc263 - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    Actually you aren't using math skills anymore. English language skills interpret objects and comparative language. You admitted the math skills were correct, while disagreeing that he had identified the object of the comparative phrase. Reply
  • ekerazha - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    The fact that Android lacks WPA-Enterprise support (auth through certificates) and a decent proxy support, makes it unusable with "advanced" network infrastructures therefore useless for many people. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    http://pboos.ch/wordpress/2009/04/android-using-wp...
    Requires some work, but there you go. :)
    Reply
  • ekerazha - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    It's hackish and the phone must be rooted, so it's not an acceptable solution. Reply
  • fepple - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    I thought the Nexus one update was official? I remember seeing links to the ROM on a google.com domain? Also I thought I saw instructions for installing it with the standard (locked) boot loader?

    One thing I've noticed is my GPS seems to pick up a signal way when I turn it on than 2.1. Also I grabbed a radio update at the same time, which gives me loads better 3G - but I think thats cause I put a crappy update on before :)
    Reply
  • Spoelie - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    I'm not convinced it was the best choice to standardize on "black text on white background". This makes sense if most devices are TFT with poor blacks, poor viewing angles, high brightness and constant power consumption - but aren't most new devices AMOLED? On those screens, a white screen consumes a lot more power than a black screen, and you don't have any contrast problems. It would make sense to invert the colors on those devices. Why not make it switchable?

    Or a make it switchable?
    Reply

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