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Google debuts Android 2.2 Froyo with 2-5X speed boost

updated 12:15 pm EDT, Thu May 20, 2010

Update brings Flash, apps improvements

Google has officially debuted Android 2.2, referred to by the monicker Froyo. The latest version features a variety of improvements, most notably a new virtual machine that is claimed to provide a speed boost of between 2X and 5X compared to v2.1. The OS also backs up app data through an API, allowing the system to migrate apps and their respective data to a new phone. The method also allows users to push map directions from Google Maps on a desktop computer to a smartphone.

The browser is also said to boost speed by 2X-3X, as it utilizes the same V8 JavaScript engine as the desktop version of Chrome. Android also allows the browser to access features such as the camera and magnetometer, which previously were limited to native apps. A demo at the company's I/O conference showed Google Maps automatically reorienting the map based on the user's heading, while still remaining in the browser. As expected, users will finally be able to access Flash content with the v2.2 update.

Tethering has been confirmed, although it is still unclear if the feature will be restricted by certain carriers. The company also made improvements to the voice search function, which now recognizes intent. The OS will know to dial a contact after the user simply tells the phone to "call ____."

Confirming earlier reports, the software will allow users to install apps to the SD card rather than the internal memory. The market also provides a button to update all applications at once, or automatically update content as new versions are released. The market will be available via a web-based interface, accessible from desktop systems, with any downloaded content automatically pushed to the handset. The feature also works in a similar way with Amazon MP3 purchases.

A time-frame for Android 2.2 updates remains unclear, as manufacturers must now adapt the OS to work on various smartphones.

by MacNN Staff



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