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May 21, 2010

Google raises the curtain on Android 2.2

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by Darren Allan

Google has unveiled the next step of operating system Android’s evolution at its I/O conference.

Android 2.2 is also known as Froyo – that’s short for frozen yoghurt, apparently. Seemingly they’ve moved away from the cake name theme (2.1 was Eclair), which is a shame as we were really looking forward to the Bakewell Tart OS.

Anyway, 2.2 will be available soon, and it brings with it an impressive raft of changes.

Speed for one thing. Tweaks have been made to the Dalvik JIT compiler, which sounds like something out of Doctor Who, but it actually means processor-heavy code will run a lot faster on 2.2 compared to 2.1.

Two to five times faster, Google reckons, according to what the company calls “various benchmarks”. That’s some serious extra nippiness.

The Android browser will also benefit from the addition of go-faster stripes, in the form of the V8 JavaScript engine, which Google claims represents a two to three times improvement in JavaScript performance.

Speaking of browsing, full Flash support is being brought to the OS with version 2.2.

New Exchange capabilities have also been added, such as account auto-discovery and calendar sync.

Xavier Ducrohet, Android SDK Tech Lead, enthused about a rich new set of APIs and services: “New data backup APIs enable apps to participate in data backup and restore, allowing an application’s last data to be restored when installed on a new or a reset device.”

“Apps can utilize Android Cloud to Device Messaging to enable mobile alert, send to phone, and two-way push sync functionality.”

New APIs will also allow developers to write apps which can control security features such as remote wipe.

Furthermore, Android 2.2 will allow for device tethering, and the ability to use your mobile as a wireless hotspot.

The seventh update in Android’s history is pretty impressive stuff indeed, we think, though some commentators have been a little more reserved on the matter.

The Times reports that a Senior Analyst at Gartner, Ray Valdes, said: “Froyo is not a game changer but it is more good stuff.”

“The Android train has momentum and it is rolling down the track,” he added, before exploding, leaving nothing but thick splatters of cliché all over the nearby walls.

Story link: Google raises the curtain on Android 2.2

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