Android 2.2, announced by Google at I/O last week, may give the impression that it’s a minor revision of Android 2.1, but Google’s latest and greatest is packing some really great features.
USB & Wireless Tethering
A feature that’s been available for a while on rooted Android devices is finally coming to stock Android! How the networks react to this addition will certainly be interesting, as lots more users will now be using mobile internet from their phone. From the consumer point of view, it’s a brilliant feature, with less technical customers being able to take advantage of a feature that rooted users have had for a while.
If you want to tether your android phone, you can easily do so by creating a wireless hotspot right from your phone or connecting via USB. Obviously, turning your phone into a mobile router will drain your battery, but it turns itself off after 15 minutes of inactivity, so you don’t have to worry about leaving it on when you’re not using it.
Install Apps On SD Card
Another great feature to come with FroYo is the ability to install android applications on to your SD card, so if you’re running out of internal storage, you don’t have to worry about not being able to install any more applications! This is one of the most requested features since the initial release of Android, so it’s great to see this finally implemented in 2.2.
With Android 2.0, Google introduced the ability to be able to dictate to your phone in any area where you could import text. As good as this feature was, it had a few problems with recognising my accent, as it’s programmed to recognise American English, not (English) English!
With Android 2.2, you can now choose between six different English dialects, so whether you’re from the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, India, you’re more likely to have an accurate voice recognition input.
Flash Player 10.1
Flash Player 10.1 is, without a doubt, the most significant addition coming to Android 2.2. Browsing the web on a phone with Flash enabled is quite refreshing, and a long time in coming! You can do a lot of things that you often take for granted when using a desktop OS, such as view embedded videos, use online TV services that run on Flash, play online games and do many other things.
Of course, everything still isn’t perfect. A lot of games aren’t optimised for touch input, but rather a keyboard and mouse, and some video won’t play back perfectly because it hasn’t been optimised for mobile playback. Despite this, Adobe and Google have gone to great efforts to ensure that Flash-enabled content on the web is handled as well as can be expected with Android 2.2, and on the whole, it’s a great experience, and a welcome addition to Android.
Update All Android Apps At The Same Time
Arguably one of the most minor changes in Android 2.2, the ability to update all applications to the latest version simultaneously is one of the features that I most wanted to see in the new update. Fortunately, we haven’t been disappointed, as Google have given us just that: the ability to update all apps at the same time.
Android 2.2 is a great update to the mobile OS, providing lots of small tweaks that make for an even better mobile experience, hopefully most of the recent Android mobile phones will get updated to this latest version, so that users can benefit from these new features and as a platform that would help prevent further Android version fragmentation. Froyo is already being rolled out over the air to Nexus One owners, so check for updates if you have one to see if you can download it yet.