Enjoying my FroYo

August 11, 2010 2 By archshrk

I just got the notification that my phone (the original Droid by Motorola) is ready for the Android 2.2 upgrade. This is something I’ve been looking forward to for some time as the added features should make my user experience that much better. While I’m upgrading my Droid phone, here’s some highlights of what I’m looking forward to and why.

Exchange support
To be honest, this one has little to no affect for me just yet as my office is a little behind on the upgrade path. We just upgraded from 2000 to 2007 and are moving our email to “the cloud”. I can already sync my office email and calendar with my phone, which may or may not be a good thing. The big plus is that I’m able to check which days we have a Lunch-and-Learn so I don’t have to pack a lunch. Exchange Support itself is more for those corporate big wigs who need a lot more integration (I guess)

Home Screen
The Phone, applications Launcher, and Browser now have dedicated shortcuts on the Home screen, making it easy to access them from any of the home screen panels which went from 3 screens to 5. This is a big plus as these three items are probably the most accessed and shouldn’t be confined to one screen, especially now that you have five screens to place shortcuts and widgets.

Camera and Gallery
Since I haven’t seen this one in person (or in video) I will have to rely on the propaganda regarding the camera/video enhancements until i have a chance to play with it myself. One change, is Gallery now allows you to peek into picture stacks using a zoom gesture which is nice, but only if it’s faster. The new on-screen camera buttons provide easy access to a new UI for controling zoom, flash, white balance, geo-tagging, focus and exposure from the camera while, the Camcorder provides an easy way to set video size/quality for MMS and YouTube. I also hear you can use the LED flash as a camcorder light but I doubt that will have much practical application as the flash is only so strong.

Portable hotspot
This is probably one of the coolest new features and one everybody is likely to find useful. Certain devices like the Motorola Droid can be turned into a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that can be shared with up to 8 devices. And all Android-powered phones can be used as a 3G connection for a Windows or Linux laptop by connecting the phone to the computer with a USB cable. Think of it as a personal, portable modem. While the speed may not be lightning fast (like at home) it sure beats waiting to get home before connecting to the internet.

Improved performance
This improvement is bound to be a boost to everyone regardless of the other features you use, after all – performance is performance and nobody uses a smart phone just to make calls – especially Apple iPhone4 users (hehe). I won’t get into the technical aspects of the performance boost (because I don’t understand them) but needless to say, it will be a welcomed upgrade as load times can never be fast enough.

Performance of the browser has been enhanced using the V8 engine, which enables faster loading of JavaScript-heavy pages.

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.

Flash 10.1 supported
This is one of the most sought after changes for the Android platform as Flash is used on virtually every major site anyone, anywhere has reason to visit. From videos to games to image galleries and everything in between. Now many will tell you that Flash is on the way out (much the same way as the dinosaurs) but even if nobody used Flash to create anything new again, there is far too much Flash content already out there to ignore.

So while I finish upgrading my phone and play with all the new features, check out this Android 2.2 Official Video from Google. I’ll let you know all about it when I come back.

Benefits of System Update
Benefits of downloading and installing the new software enhancements.