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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  • The0ne - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    This is why I hate apps in general. For some of the most basic and common sense stuff, it requires apps to do them. Why? Is it so hard to type a number and have a list come up? Seriously?

    I need to apply to better design the UI. Personally, it's horrible and outdated.
    Reply
  • bla5t3d - Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - link

    Ummm my 1.5 Magic Sense UI has that? Or am I mixing this up with something else. Reply
  • dmjazzijeff - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    While I'm not keen on Android (disclaimer: I've only had light hands-on time with a Droid while I configured it to work with a client's Exchange 2007 server), I have to admit that the Android WiFi hotspot feature makes me envious.
    Do the various and sundry carriers ding you with a tethering fee to cover this (AT&T, I'm specifically looking at you)?
    How does battery life fare when you're using your phone as a hotspot?
    Reply
  • keyibua - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    Hello, summer, good place for shopping, fashion, sexy, personality, maturity, from here to begin. Are you ready? Reply
  • ScruffyNerfherder - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    Please add performance comparison to iPhone3GS, iPhone4 and iPad. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    right, I'm sure they are going to get right on comparing a pre-release OS to unreleased hardware. Reply
  • quasi51 - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    I'm in the market for a new smartphone but I need to be able to encrypt email on the device. I'd much rather buy an Android phone than an iPhone but I can't find any information on how to do this. This is available on the iPhone 3GS/4 with iOS4. Any suggestions for something similar on Android? As far as I know there aren't any Android devices with hardware encryption but I'd be content to try a software solution. Reply
  • Veroxious - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    I was hoping that the official Froyo release would have a native media player that could play divx etc......as this has been one of the big thing lacking imho.....that is the only thing I am soooo missing on this otherwise brilliant HTC Desire.

    Also a more simplistic manner of controlling data/updates etc via 3G. There have been many times where I just needed to do some 5 minute browsing using 3G only to have all the programs that access the internet starting up in the background and scoffing down megabytes that makes my head spin at the cost.

    Lastly, no navigation in Google maps yet?
    Reply
  • B3an - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    "However, things did get a little choppy on some of the more intensive websites like South Park Studios, which then, invariably took a toll on the battery life too. I’ll be honest, a warm Nexus One is not fun to hold in your hands...at all."

    You make it sound as if Flash is the only thing thats going to get the phone this warm. Playing Flash vids on Froyo does not drain the batter any faster than playing vids in a media player app, nor does it get the phone any hotter. The same goes for games.... but i dont see Apple not allowing video or games on there devices.

    Flash on Android 2.2 proves very well how well Flash can run on a phone (with a touch interface too), and that Apple, as usual, are talking BS.

    And i would have liked to of seen more on Flash performance in the article, not just a quick video mention on one site.
    Reply
  • ScruffyNerfherder - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    "right, I'm sure they are going to get right on comparing a pre-release OS to unreleased hardware."

    Uh, that's what this article is all about (a pre-release OS, duh) which as of today is officially released to open source.

    iPhone 3GS and iPad are already out (duh) and iOS4 for iPhone was released to the public earlier this week and has been available by other means for a while.

    Many if not most of Anandtech reviews are done on hardware that has yet to be released to the public (duh). And we are talking a few days from release to the public (double duh). If iPhone 4 is still not available to Anandtech or they aren't allowed to publish numbers yet, that's fine, just compare to iPhone 3GS and iPad.

    It seems like old news (go watch the Day 2 keynotes of this years Google I/O conference on youtube and Froyo 2.2 on Google Nexus performance is already compared to iPad) and Anandtech is usually on top of these type of comparisons. Maybe because its Apple, they are being extra super careful to get everything exactly straight before releasing comparison numbers and incurring the wrath of Jobs.

    After tasting this Froyo article, I'm ready for the main course. Bring it!!!
    Reply

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