My oh my, the air is smelling sweet today.
Google took the wraps off its next-generation Android operating system, Android 2.2, Thursday morning. Android 2.2 -- better known by its codename Froyo -- will add even more power and flexibility into the growing ecosystem of Android smartphones.
So what's Android Froyo all about, and what'll it do for you? Here are answers to all your burning questions.
What are the biggest new features in Android 2.2?
Where to start? The most significant core changes to the Android operating system revolve around these four points:
• Flash: Froyo will be the first Android edition with full support for Adobe Flash and Adobe Air. (If you don't want to use it, you don't have to. If you do, you can. Choice -- now, that's refreshing!)
• Tethering: Android 2.2 has built-in support for tethering, though carriers will likely have to choose to allow it. Of course, you can turn your Android phone into a wireless modem on your own -- right now, with or without Android 2.2 -- if you know how.
• Mobile hotspot support: Along with tethering comes the ability to use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot, spreading your 3G connection wirelessly to other devices. Again, carriers will presumably have to sign off on this and may or may not allow it for free.
(Time out: Are you seeing the Android 2.2 images on this page? If not, you may want to click here to view the story in its original location. That'll let you see screenshots of all these tasty Froyo features in action.)
How will apps change with Android 2.2?
Hey, good question; you're clearly an intelligent and amiable individual. The answer is that with Froyo, Google's giving us a bunch of new ways to take advantage of apps from the Android Market and beyond. The highlights:
• SD card installations: Yep, you'll finally be able to install apps on your SD card, smashing the space limitations of Android versions past. You'll be able to select where you want each app to be installed -- SD card or internal storage -- and even toggle it back and forth with a couple of clicks later.
• Auto-update and update-all functionality: Froyo introduces the option to have your apps automatically update themselves when new versions roll in; you just configure the permissions to your likings and Android does the rest. If you decide to stick with manual updates, Android 2.2 will let you update multiple apps at the same time with a new "Update All" button inside the Android Market.
• App backup: A new option within the Android settings menu lets you back up and restore your apps' data. You could use this to recover lost information or even just move data and settings from one phone to another.
• Cloud-to-device messaging: It's as cool as it sounds. Android 2.2's new cloud-to-device messaging capability means developers can build in Web-based functions that will communicate directly with your phone. So, for example, you could click on a button in a Google Map on your PC and have it automatically open the same map -- complete with driving directions -- on your phone. Not too shabby.
Next page: Bluetooth voice dialing, the Froyo interface, the new Android Market, and when Froyo will hit your phone.