Google officials released a list of improvements with Android 2.2, including 5x faster performance on devices as compared to Android 2.1. The secret to the boost is from a new Dalvik JIT (Just In Time) compiler. Many users will also be pleased by the Flash 10.1 support available to Android 2.2, Google said. Besides the stuff that’s visible, like the new home screen widget and Androidâ that greets you the first time you boot the phone, obviously a lot of the work is under the hood.
For enterprise users, Google added more Exchange capabilities, such as calendar sync and APIs (application programming interface) for developers to write applications for controlling security in Android 2.2 phones, including remote wipe, minimum password, and locked screen timeout. With the improvements for enterprise users, there appear to be enough security and management enhancements in Android 2.2 for enterprises to adopt Android devices that run the new software with a minimal level of support. Encryption, which is still one shortcoming of 2.2 may hurt it’s chances. Google is also claiming that Froyo offers the world’s fastest mobile browser. Adobe Flash for mobile is finally here. Sort of. It’s in beta for Android 2.2 devices. Anup Murarka, Adobe’s Director of Technology Strategy, said Flash is finally ready to go on mobile devices. He said the company did a lot of work to make sure it responds well in a mobile environment, especially to the gestures and interfaces common on smart phones.
We’ve done a lot of work not only to make the platform scalable across devices but added features and capabilities to support new interaction models that are common in these devices, things like multi-touch and gestures, he said, things we don’t have to think about with Flash on the desktop but that becomes more important with touch devices.
He said some Flash applications and sites will need to be reformatted for mobile screens and input. But many will be able to work on mobile phone with no additional work. He also said Flash will come to additional platforms including Windows, Symbian, BlackBerry and PalmOS. The devices will need to be pretty powerful, though, to handle Flash 10.1. Generally a 600MHz processor will do, although 800MHz and faster is ideal.
We think this will provide a great experience, he said. You’ll see more capabilities and progress over time. It’s a solid release and a major move forward for the Flash platform.
We are seeing a LOT of talk about these features and they all look great. However, it’s hard to take it all in, so here is the master list of changes, direct from Google. Please note that ANY of these features can be yanked by the Carrier. We can assume that the Nexus One and probably the Motorola Droid will get the full monty. Hopefully!
New User Features
- New Home screen tips widget assists new users on how to configure the home screen with shortcuts and widgets and how to make use of multiple home screens.
- The Phone, applications Launcher, and Browser now have dedicated shortcuts on the Home screen, making it easy to access them from any of the 5 home screen panels.
- Improved security with the addition of numeric pin or alpha-numeric password options to unlock device. Exchange administrators can enforce password policy across devices.
- Remote wipe: Exchange administrators can remotely reset the device to factory defaults to secure data in case device is lost or stolen.
- Exchange Calendars are now supported in the Calendar application.
- Auto-discovery: you just need to know your user-name and password to easily set up and sync an Exchange account (available for Exchange 2007 and higher).
- Global Address Lists look-up is now available in the Email application, enabling users to auto-complete recipient names from the directory.
Camera and Gallery
- Gallery allows you to peek into picture stacks using a zoom gesture.
- Camera onscreen buttons provide easy access to a new UI for controlling zoom, flash, white balance, geo-tagging, focus and exposure. Camcorder also provides an easy way to set video size/quality for MMS and YouTube.
- With the LED flash now enabled for the Camcorder, videos can be shot at night or in low light settings.
- Certain devices like the Nexus One can be turned into a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that can be shared with up to 8 devices.
- You can use your Android-powered phone as a 3G connection for a Windows or Linux laptop by connecting their phone to the computer with a USB cable. The connection is then shared between the two devices.
Multiple keyboard languages
- Multi-lingual users can add multiple languages to the keyboard and switch between multiple Latin-based input languages by swiping across the space bar. This changes the keys as well as the auto-suggest dictionary.
- Dalvik Performance Boost: 2x-5x performance speedup for CPU-heavy code over Android 2.1 with Dalvik JIT.
- Kernel Memory Management Boost: Improved memory reclaim by up to 20x, which results in faster app switching and smoother performance on memory-constrained devices.
New Platform Technologies
- New media framework (Stagefright) that supports local file playback and HTTP progressive streaming
- Continued support for OpenCore in Android 2.2
- Voice dialing over Bluetooth
- Ability to share contacts with other phones
- Support for Bluetooth enabled car and desk docks
- Improved compatibility matrix with car kits and headsets
2.6.32 kernel upgrade
- HIGHMEM support for RAM >256MB
- SDIO scheduling and BT improvements
New Developer Services
Android Cloud to Device Messaging
- Apps can utilize Android Cloud to Device Messaging to enable mobile alert, send to phone, and two-way push sync functionality.
Android Application Error Reports
- New bug reporting feature for Android Market apps enables developers to receive crash and freeze reports from their users. The reports will be available when they log into their publisher account.
New Developer APIs
Apps on external storage
- Applications can now request installation on the shared external storage (such as an SD card).
- Provides new APIs for audio focus, routing audio to SCO, and auto-scan of files to media database. Also provides APIs to let applications detect completion of sound loading and auto-pause and auto-resume audio playback.
Camera and Camcorder
- New preview API doubles the frame rate from ~10FPS to ~20FPS. Camera now supports portrait orientation, zoom controls, access to exposure data, and a thumbnail utility. A new camcorder profile enables apps to determine device hardware capablities.
- New APIs for OpenGL ES 2.0, working with YUV image format, and ETC1 for texture compression.
- Apps can participate in data backup and restore, to ensure that users maintain their data after performing a factory reset or when switching devices.
Device policy manager
- New device policy management APIs allow developers to write “device administrator” applications that can control security features on the device, such as the minimum password strength, data wipe, and so on. Users can select the administrators that are enabled on their devices.
- New “car mode” and “night mode” controls and configurations allow applications to adjust their UI for these situations. A scale gesture detector API provides improved definition of multi-touch events. Applications can now customize the bottom strip of a TabWidget.
Apps Have More Abilities
- Apps can now send information to the Google server and have it send the info to the phone, wake it up and even load up whatever info they want.
Apps can also backup their settings for users so when a user switches phones or uninstalls and then reinstalls an app, all of its data can be restored back automatically as well.
- The browser can now utilize plug-ins like Flash, for instance. Flash 10.1 beta will be released at the same time as Android 2.2 and allow users to access Flash content on the internet on their phone.
Android Market Improvements
- The Market will now have an Update All button, and feature Auto-Update. Auto-Update will be able to be enabled per application and allow that app to automatically update itself whenever there is a new version to save you the time. For the Developers, a new reporting service will let the developers know of any crashes their app encounters.