Google Fleshes Out Details for Android 2.2

May 20, 2010

WiFi tethering, full Flash support and improved performance among features highlighted in demonstration.

Google officially unveiled the details for Android 2.2, codenamed "Froyo" today at their I/O Conference on May 20. Vic Gundotra, the Vice President of Engineering debuted the updated operating system, championing it as truly open.

Among the key features in the newest build of the Linux-based open source OS were WiFi tethering, Microsoft Exchange Server support and enhanced communication with the cloud. But one of the biggest announcements for consumers was that Android 2.2 will feature full support of Flash 10.1 both as a video container and in user interfaces.

"It turns out, people use Flash," Gundotra said, taking one of many jabs at Apple.

"Froyo" is now a requirement to run Flash on an Android device, as the APIs necessary are only available in 2.2. The 10.1 beta is available now, with the final version on track for June. Flash will be available in the Android App store.

Also demonstrated was a cloud-to-device API that pushed, not only data from one device to another, but was also capable of triggering Android intents. The demonstration given during the keynote showed a Google mapped trip route in the desktop version of Chrome. The user then clicked a button in-browser, which then sent the trip information to the mobile device, triggering the Google Map app to launch with the trip information preloaded.

Android 2.2 also uses the cloud to autoupdate apps, backup application data, and transfers of downloaded items from browser to device. Music or apps can be downloaded on a laptop or PC and will show-up on the Android 2.2-enabled mobile device soon after.

Google's acquisition of Simplify Media debuted its first Android implementation, as the ability to stream your home music library through a mobile phone was integrated directly into the Android 2.2 music player. Whether or not this feature will be limited to WiFi or available over 3G wasn't discussed.

Other app love included a bug report function that allows users to look at the bug history of any app, including full stack traces. It's also possible to save or move apps directly to an SD card. Finally, app data is indexed, so that not only names of apps show up in quick searches, but also accounts or other information associated with an app.

Google also demoed the V8 JavaScript Engine in Android 2.2 running on an Nexus One against another Nexus One running Android 2.1 and an iPad. Android 2.2 won the benchmark test and Gundotra touted it as the fastest mobile browser.

Gundotra also touted Google's advertising experience. Admob, AdSense, Doubleclick and Analytics will all work in Android 2.2. Rich advertisements available include drop-downs, location based custom ads, and click-to-calls, which allow potential customers to dial directly to a business or promotional offer.

The SDK for Android 2.2 is available now.

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