Android 2.2 ‘Froyo’ Unveiled, Features USB & Wi-Fi Tethering

by Gaurav Kheterpal on May 21, 2010

At its IO Conference in San Francisco yesterday, Google gave developers a peek at Android 2.2 (codename ‘Froyo’ – a short form for frozen yogurt). As expected, the new Android version will come with built-in tethering and WiFi hotspot support. This will let users access their phone’s 3G connection by either physically connecting the phone to their laptop, or over a temporary WiFi access point. Tethering also allows you to link multiple gadgets to your Android 2.2 phone so that they can share a single internet connection.

What else is new in Froyo? Let’s find out.

Looks can kill

From a UI perspective, Froyo offers minor aesthetic changes, smoother transitions and more enriched user experience as compared to Android 2.1.

Need for Speed

With Froyo, Google has taken the speed game to an altogether different level. Froyo is up to 5x faster than Eclair, thanks to a just-in-time compiler. The company also claims that Froyo features the world’s faster browser running on any mobile operating system. Google vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra said

“It is important to us to make the browser rock.”

And it certainly did appear to rock when it managed to beat the iPad browser comprehensively in a speed test.

Flashy Affair

Google said that Froyo will support the coming Flash Player 10.1 from Adobe Systems. Did I just say Flash running on a mobile device? Yes, that’s correct (I hope the folks at Apple have made note of this). That too, this Flash version has been optimized to run on mobile devices. I’ve a strong feeling that Flash might just turn out to be the differentiator for Google in the fight against Apple.

Portable Hotspot

Support for USB and Wi-Fi tethering is undoubtedly the USP of Froyo. Talking about the importance of tethering on a mobile device, Gundotra said

“If you are like me you have a plethora of devices you carry around with you. Now your android device can in fact become a portable hotspot and indeed serve the needs of the other devices… you go to another device that doesn’t have connectivity, lets say that iPad, and have one bill.”

Other Goodies

Froyo also features a host of other goodies including

  • voice recognition for search and Google Translate
  • apps on microSD
  • faster V8 javascript engine
  • (optional) automatic app updates
  • OpenGL ES 2.0
  • a new one-handed camera UI
  • revamped Google voice search, and
  • desktop to handset music streaming

Many analysts believe that it would be a close fight in this high-stakes battle between Android 2.2 and iPhone OS 4.0. Google has set the ball rolling with the Froyo sneak-peak yesterday and I’m eagerly looking forward to the response from Apple. WWDC on June 7th is not too far!

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. >. Follow > by: RSS>, Twitter >, >, or Friendfeed >

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