An early look at Froyo, a.k.a Android 2.2

Well, it has been a long time since I wrote. Mostly because I was busy with *other stuff* and also because I was smitten by micro-blogging [read twitter]. Now that I am back, I will start with the talk of the town, Android.

For the last 2 days, I spent my nights watching youtube. But, before you come to weird conclusions, let me clarify, I was watching the GoogleIO live streaming like 25,000 other people around the world. And what I was primarily interested in was Froyo.

Froyo, typically means a dessert made of yoghurt {Frozen Yoghurt}. But Google meant a dessert of a different kind, it was the latest update for the Android OS, version-ed '2.2'. I was most amazed by the feature list that was unfolded by Gundotra. And right from then, I was restlessly checking on my Nexus One, whether it has been blessed with an Update from Google. After two [long] days of desperation, I came across a post in which was an howto on manually updating the phone with Froyo. And within 20 minutes and a few taps, my N1 was running the Froyo.

What's new?
Immediately after installation and boot, when I tried tapping and swiping I found the system was little jerky and bumpy. Maybe, because it was the first boot and it had not done with it. Once it settled down, I went through it and here are the enhancements I found.
  • Animations: Animations are smoother, and are more fluid. Like when you drag between home screens, you have a bouncing halt rather than a jerky switch.
  • Applications menu: First they had the draggable applications menu, then the grid button, now they have the 3-icon set of Phone, Grid and Browser. And the applications screen is are bouncier and fast.
  • Call Log: The call log is more organised. If same caller has multiple calls consecutively, they are made into an expandable groups, so you can seen more info. I liked it.
  • Messages: The messages screen has been touched up a bit. Nothing special about it, but looks better.
  • Android Market: This is big. Market has got lots of goodies. Now, you can set auto-update for any app, it downloads updates whenever available. Even better, you have update-all button to download all updates. Also there is a separate, comments tab for applications.
  • Search Bar: Search bar is also enhanced with a drop down button, from which you can filter you search to Apps, Web, Contacts or All. I felt it was redundant though.
  • Mail: This is a huge [I guess]. I don't remember being able to add multiple Google accounts to my phone before. Now, you can do that. You can add as many Google accounts you want into your GMail and sync the contacts etc.
  • System speed: Though in general the system appeared faster, some places it lagged behind previous update. Like in the album application, the loading was pretty slow.
  • Flash 10.1: This almost gave me a nightmare. I installed the firmware and went to every flash website I knew. None of them were loading. I checked the system settings. No mention of flash anywhere. I was bamboozled until I checked in the Android Market. You have to manually install the Flash plugin as an Application. And it is a beta. Nevertheless once I installed it I could check out all the flash websites and even games on browser. I checked the desktop version of [though] the video playback was not very smooth. Had a low frame-rate playback.
  • Applications: The manage applications screen also has minor make-ups. The biggest one being the ability to move installed applications to SD-Card to save space. But it was greyed out in my phone.
  • Google Maps: looks faster in the new build. The tiles load very fast. So is the case with Google Earth.
So that's my initial impression on Froyo after 3 hours of usage. Will post more updates as and when I find them.
The catch is that, this update is only available for Nexus One, that too would roll out in a period of over 3 weeks [unless you take my route]. What about the other phones? Samsung Galaxy and the likes are still running the Donut [Android 1.5].