Introduction

With great regret I was forced into upgrading my dusty rusty and trusty 5 year old Motorola mobile for a brand spanking new Android Smart Phone.  I did a hands-on review of this ‘computer’ some months back and you can read it here. 

 

When I wrote this review I predicted that Android would soon take over from Apple as the market leader and it was only two weeks later when this happened!  It was big news in the industry and pundits in both camps argued over the validity of the study, but now never months later there is no doubt.  Android is the clear market leader by virtue of more manufacturers marketing Android phones vs. only Apple marketing Iphones. (if we ignore the Chinese knockoffs)  So really, Android is it and for good reason!

 

When I wrote this review I predicted that Android would soon take over from Apple as the market leader and it was only two weeks later when this happened!  It was big news in the industry and pundits in both camps argued over the validity of the study, but now never months later there is no doubt.  Android is the clear market leader by virtue of more manufacturers marketing Android phones vs. only Apple marketing Iphones. (if we ignore the Chinese knockoffs)  So really, Android is it and for good reason! 

My choice was the HTC Desire.  It’s a medium size well built and solid Droid, not too big and not too small.  It fits in my back pocket just right.   

 

My choice was the HTC Desire.  It’s a medium size well built and solid Droid, not too big and not too small.  It fits in my back pocket just right.

  

At the time of my review I mentioned we’d soon be getting Android 2.2 codenamed Froyo.  The USA and EU got the upgrade just a few weeks later, while it was only last week those of use with Asia model phones got a taste of yogurt.  My phone bleeped, it notified me 2.2 was ready for download, I told it okay, and by the time I got to where I was going I was all updated with all my data and Ap’s just as I left them.  A perfect seamless upgrade! 

 

At the time of my review I mentioned we’d soon be getting Android 2.2 codenamed Froyo.  The USA and EU got the upgrade just a few weeks later, while it was only last week those of use with Asia model phones got a taste of yogurt.  My phone bleeped, it notified me 2.2 was ready for download, I told it okay, and by the time I got to where I was going I was all updated with all my data and Ap’s just as I left them.  A perfect seamless upgrade!

 

  

Android 2.2 Code-named Froyo

This is not your standard incremental upgrade.  Android 2.2 is to Android 2.1 as Windows 7 is to Windows Vista.  The code is much lighter and better coded so there are significant performance upgrades.  If the phone felt ‘zippy’ before, now it feels downright fast. 

Some of the phones that should definitely be getting Froyo 2.2 are the Motorola Droid, Nexus One, HTC Incredible, HTC Evo, HTC Wildfire, and Mytouch 3g.  There are others, so if you don’t see yours listed here check with your provider. 

Phones that ‘might’ get Froyo include the HTC Eris, HTC Hero, Motorola Backflip, and for sure the T-Mobile G1 and Samsung Behold II won’t be getting Froyo.  Again, ask your provider if you’re not sure. 

Some phones that don’t have 2.1 might get bumped directly to 2.2, like the Motorola Cliq and Cliq XT. Ask. 

 

What Else Besides Snappy Performance?


Tips Widget:  This lets you more easily configure your home screen through dedicated shortcuts.


Exchange Support:  More secure password options, Remote Wipe, Calendars, and Auto Discovery for Exchange 2007 and higher.  Global address lookup too. 

Camera Enhancements:  Peek into picture stacks with a zoom gesture, and the LED flashes are now largely supported for the camcorder modes. 

Portable Hotspot:  I love this one.  Your Android 2.2 device can now be turned into a portable WIFI hotspot for up to 5-8 devices depending on model.  This means your 3/4G connection can be shared among a group of computer users using pure wifi, no Bluetooth or USB cables needed.  I heard there’s an ap that takes a WIFI connections such as you’d get in a hotel room, and ports that connection through the portable hotspot.  The potential savings for a family traveling with several laptops or a company meeting in a hotel would be huge. 

Multiple Keyboard Languages:  If you’ve had an Asian model being able to switch back and forth between languages was a given, but now we can add Latin based languages as well. 

Improved Performance:  It feels like someone supercharged my phone!  The browser is much faster, memory is handled better, and you get a 2x-5x boost for CPU heavy code with Dalvik JIT. 

New Platform Technologies:  New media framework supports progressive streaming.  A feature you’ll find handy if you’re using the new Android Slingplayer Portable.

 

 

New Platform Technologies:  New media framework supports progressive streaming.  A feature you’ll find handy if you’re using the new Android Slingplayer Portable

  

I’ve enjoyed watching my cable tv while waiting in line, eating lunch, or whenever I get a bit bored.

  

I’ve enjoyed watching my cable tv while waiting in line, eating lunch, or whenever I get a bit bored.

 

Application Storage:  You can now designate where your Ap’s will be stored, in the phones memory, or on its mini-SD card. 

Cloud storage:  Froyo 2.2 now supports cloud to device messaging.  This is big if your company supports this.

Camera and Camcorder:  A new API doubes the frame rate from 10fps to 20fps.  New zoom controls, portrait orientation, access to exposure control, and a thumbnail utility. 

Graphics:  New API’s for OpenGL ES 2.0.  I’m not sure you’ll be playing many intense games with your phone, but maybe some games equal to Playstation Portable are on the way?

Data Backup:  New features make data backup easier. 

User Interface Framework:  You get a new “car mode” and “nightmode” controls which custom tunes your UI to be easier manipulated in dim light. 

 

Summary

 

As you can see this is much more than your standard upgrade.  It’s like I left my house with one phone, and arrived at my destination with a brand new toy!  I especially love the wifi hotspot, it’s something I use often when traveling in Thailand.  I can ‘tether’ my HTC Desire via a USB cable to charge my battery, and use the WIFI hotspot wireless at the same time to access the internet.  Or my phone can stay in my pocket while in the back of a cab, and provide internet access to my laptop while I get some work done on the way to my destination.

 

As you can see this is much more than your standard upgrade.  It’s like I left my house with one phone, and arrived at my destination with a brand new toy!  I especially love the wifi hotspot, it’s something I use often when traveling in Thailand.  I can ‘tether’ my HTC Desire via a USB cable to charge my battery, and use the WIFI hotspot wireless at the same time to access the internet.  Or my phone can stay in my pocket while in the back of a cab, and provide internet access to my laptop while I get some work done on the way to my destination. 

Overall I notice my HTC Desire being much faster, more responsive, and the many little menu and access improvements are noticed most every time I use the phone.  If you felt Adroid was not as refined as the Iphone before you might have had a point, but  now it’s every bit as refined and offers features the Iphone doesn’t yet offer. 

I remain convinced, the Android system, made and supported by Google, with integrated GPS support, Gmail support, and all that Google offers, remains the best smartphone system available.  If your occupation chains you to a phone, it might as well be an Android with 2.2 Froyo!