Google Android 2.2 unveiled: up to 5X faster, new browser, new APIs, new services and Flash support

Google has just unveiled the latest version of its Android mobile OS a few minutes ago during Google I/O in California. Android 2.2 aka Froyo is packed with new enhancement and features that will make it the most feature rich mobile OS on the market in a couple of weeks when it’s finally launched:

Performance & speed:
The new Dalvik JIT compiler in Android 2.2 delivers between a 2-5X performance improvement in CPU-bound code vs. Android 2.1 according to various benchmarks.

New enterprise capabilities:We’ve added Exchange capabilities such as account auto-discovery and calendar sync. Device policy management APIs allow developers to write applications that can control security features of the device such as the remote wipe, minimum password, lockscreen timeout etc.

Faster, more powerful browser: We have brought the V8 JavaScript engine to the Android browser as part of 2.2. This has resulted in a 2-3X improvement in JavaScript performance vs. 2.1.

Rich set of new APIs and services: New data backup APIsenable apps to participate in data backup and restore, allowing an application’s last data to be restored when installed on a new or a reset device. Apps can utilize Android Cloud to Device Messaging to enable mobile alert, send to phone, and two-way push sync functionality. Developers can now declare whether their app should be installed on internal memory or an SD card. They can also let the system automatically determine the install location. On the native side, a new API now gives access to Skia bitmaps.

Additions to Android Market: Android Market provides Android Application Error Reports, a new bug reporting feature, giving developers access to crash and freeze reports from users. Developers will be able to access these reports via their account on the Android Market publisher website.

New Camera UI and Gallery:Android 2.2 will feature new on-screan camera controls and a new phot/video gallery. Gallery allows you to peek into picture stacks using a zoom gesture. Camera onscreen buttons provide easy access to a new UI for controling 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

Portable hotspot: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.

check out the video presentation below:

Pretty awesome right? Well, there’s more; Android 2.2 will also ship with Adobe Flash 10.1 plugin (beta) pre-installed and will unfortunately also be the minimum requirement for it (yup no Flash 10.1 on Android 2.1 folks). Froyo also includes new voice translating and search services that look really neat. All in all this is a major update for Android and Google is definitely in it to win (and destroy apple it seems) but please lets not get caught in the Hype machine.  I’ve already seen some really stupid headlines popping up about this announcements and the Google TV unveiling (stuff like “Google TV is Sony’s last stand against the Apple juggernaut” WTF is this ?). Android is here too stay and Froyo is a great step forward but the Google’s OS will still suffer from fragmentation because of it’s open nature and the native UI/UX still still a mess compared to what Apple did with then iPhone and what Microsoft is trying to accomplish with Windows Phone 7′s Metro UI. Lets not forget that Google, Apple & Microsoft still have a relatively small market share when it comes to mobile phones. The real war hasn’t begun yet… Let’s hope that the Windows Phone 7 teams are watching today’s news cause competition is what drives the industry forward.

Source: Google