Last week saw a large scale over-the-air rollout of Android 2.2 (aka Froyo) to the Google Nexus One. With most Nexus Ones now running the latest version of Android we’ve taken a quick look at what the upgrade has to offer.
In addition to bringing us what we expected: install apps to SD, Wi-Fi tethering, etc – there are a few smaller but equally welcome changes in Froyo. Read on to find out how Android 2.2’s finer features work and what else it has brought to the table.
Image credit [Flickr user nutmeg]
Installing apps to SD cards – This is a big deal. You have all these great apps to download from the Android Market, but until now you were restricted to saving them all to your phone’s memory.
Seeing as most Android phones typically come with small abouts of internal memory, that 16GB card you’d whack in the side could only really be used to store pictures, MP3s and some miscellaneous cache data. Now thanks to Froyo you can free up your phone’s memory by moving apps to and from the SD card at will.
At present there are only a finite number of apps which you can actually move to the SD card. In order to use this functionality, app developers have to release an update for their Android apps allowing you to move them from internal memory to an SD card. Keep checking the Android Market for updates. Speaking of which…
Automatic updating of apps and mass updating – The most annoying thing about Android was having to devote a good half an hour or so to manually installing updates to everything you’d ever downloaded from the Market.
Now the next time you check for updates after having installed Android 2.2, you can simply tap the nice friendly ‘Update all’ button at the bottom of the screen and get on with something more useful like feeding the cat or making a cup of tea.
Additionally, when you download a new app from the Market, there’ll be a small checkbox you can tick which will automatically install any new updates the moment they become available.
Improved app management – The Settings > Applications > Running services menu now acts as an all all in one task manager, showing you which apps are currently running and giving you the power to force close them one by one. The coloured bar at the bottom of the screen displays available memory and which apps you need to close in order to save battery/improve your phone’s performance.
Improved search – Using the search bar widget, you can now search for anything stored on your phone including apps, contacts and the web. In the settings you can add the option to search for other things on your phone, such as specific MP3s, Spotify playlists, text messages and tweets.
Improved home screen – In previous versions of the native Android setup, whenever you scrolled between homescreens, the grey tab of the app launcher would always be at the bottom of the screen wherever you went.
In Android 2.2 the app launcher is joined by both the dialler and Google Search, meaning you always have the primary function of your phone and the browser at your fingertips This isn’t so much of a big deal for HTC owners who have been able to do this ever since Sense arrived on the HTC Hero.
Wi-Fi Tethering is incredibly easy to set up on a Froyo-enabled Android phone. Simply dive into Settings > Wireless & Network and you’ll see the revelent Tethering & Portable Hotspot menu option right in front of you.
Check the Portable Wi-Fi option and head into the menu below to configure your network and decide whether or not to have it open or to encrypt it. Ecryption is of the WPA2 variety and naturally you can set your password from this menu.
This is great if your broadband router at home breaks down or you’re working at something important on your laptop and you absolutely have to send this email. We’d recommend that you watch your data usage to avoid any nasty surprises.
Much has been made about Flash Player 10.1 and while Android 2.2 does support it, it doesn’t come installed with the update. You’ll need to download it yourself. There is currently no Market link available for this, so follow it through this link on your Android phone’s browser.
After installing Flash 10.1 we enjoyed a few videos on Newgrounds and played some games on Kongregate. The games worked fine and the videos looked great, sadly, we couldn’t satisfactorily emulate the desktop experience of Robot Unicorn Attack. We know that there’s an iPhone port, so we’ll just have to wait and hope for the real thing before we can make our dreams come true on an Android phone.