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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  • Saumitra - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    Good point, but the AMOLED or the more recent Super AMOLED screens are only present on the high-end devices from HTC or Samsung. Since majority of the devices are still on TFT screens, I guess black text on white is a step in the right direction. ;) Reply
  • mpschan - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    I thought 2.2 was supposed to include bluetooth dialing.

    http://developer.android.com/sdk/android-2.2-highl...

    So my question is: Does Froyo include bluetooth dialing or not? If it is included like , how in the world could the author not mention it. That is a deal breaker for so many of us as many states ban hand-held phone use in cars.

    Hell, I'd love to see the feature just so my iPhone loving friends lose another talking point as to why iPhones are superior.
    Reply
  • Saumitra - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    Well, I was aware of the Bluetooth dialing feature, but I didn't have a Bluetooth headset to test it out. Sorry for the confusion! Reply
  • mpschan - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    Understood.

    But let me stress how important a feature this is. I will not buy a new Android device until this feature is implemented. The risk of getting a ticket or having to pull over to the side of the road to make a call is ridiculous.

    Since you put in something about how you couldn't test exchange, I'd recommend doing something similar for bluetooth dialing.
    Reply
  • homebredcorgi - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    Do you mean the ability to just speak the contacts name in the headset and have it dial? If so, it is there...I did it yesterday on my N1. Reply
  • CombatChuk - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    HTC actually pays Microsoft to put an actual Activesync license on devices that have Sense UI. Having the license on there enables Remote Wipe, Pattern Recognition all the features that Server admins like to run. Google with their Nexus One DID NOT pay for this licensing, so if the Server admin doesn't enable those security features (which he should if he's worth anything) then the stock Android 2.2 OS does not have full exchange support... Reply
  • Red Storm - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    When oh when will we get some sort options in the market? I'd love to be able to sort apps by their rating, download count, release date, name, etc. Reply
  • homebredcorgi - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    Seriously. The market is a mess without sorting abilities. I was very sad to see that Froyo did nothing to address this issue. Reply
  • Jingato - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    I guess it doesn't have the one feature I was hoping for and really think it is lacking. That's the ability to begin entering a phone umber and have it populate a drop down of all the matching contacts and recent calls that match. :-( Reply
  • Saumitra - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    Although the dialer does not have that feature natively, there's an app called aContacts or Dialer One that gives you that feature so give one of them a shot, they're free. ;) Reply

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