Android 2.2 “FroYo” may be just around the corner

Android_22_froyo 

With 2.1 Eclair still the hot ticket in the Android ecosystem and the majority of existing devices yet to be upgraded, it may seem a little surprising that we are starting to hear news of the release of the next version in Google's mobile operating system. But this would be to forget that Android is the fastest evolving mobile OS currently, with new releases every few months since the launch of the 1.5 Cupcake SDK in April 2009.

Android 2.2, also called "FroYo," will be based on Linux Kernel 2.6.32 with the word going around that is just around the corner. Based on analytics reports from Android and Me, it seems that Google is currently testing the new version prior to its eventual public release, with additional sources in the know confirming this. A photo of a T-Mobile myTouch 3G (aka HTC Magic) appearing to run the latest firmware has also appeared over at Mobiflip.de this week (image after the break). As for the actual release date of 2.2, there is currently no official date, but many are speculating that it will be the 19th of May to coincide with the start of the Google I/O 2010 conference.

Android_22_htc_magic 

Although we are unaware of the complete feature set of FroYo, sources indicate it will mostly focus on improvements to performance with some possible features being:

  • JIT compiler
  • Freeing up additional RAM
  • OpenGL ES 2.0 enhancements
  • Flash 10.1 support
  • Fixing “crazy screen” issues / Resolution of cross multitouch
  • Activation of Color Trackball
  • Automatic app updates
  • Enabling FM radio (on Nexus One)

It seems certain that the first candidate to receive the update to Android 2.2 will be Google's own Nexus One smartphone. Alternatively, with the company providing every developer attending Google I/O 2010 with either a free Nexus One or Motorola Droid, it's possible that both devices could receive a simultaneous update. Some other rumors suggest the upcoming (and not delayed) Adobe Flash 10.1 Beta for Android may also be released at Google I/O 2010 as well.

It's nice to see Google's commitment and the rapid pace of development of Android, although I am still a bit concerned about the version fragmentation and as some readers have pointed out, app access fragmentation, excluding a large number of non-smartphone devices from gaining access to Android Market and the full Android Experience. With many Android smartphones due to receive the long-awaited update to 2.1 in the next month or so, there are also some concerns about when or whether some older devices will receive the update or even be able to run it. What do you make of the upcoming release of Android 2.2 and what features/improvements would you like to see?

[Android Community]

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Jeremy To

Jeremy is a former editor at Pocketables.