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New version of Android to feature Flash, tethering

New version of Android to feature Flash, tethering

The 2.2 release of Google's Android brings some impressive new features, including support for tethering and Flash 10.1.

While many Android users are still patiently waiting for version 2.1 of the OS to be released for their handsets, the net is thrumming with rumours of new features to come in Android 2.2 - codenamed Froyo.

Continuing Google's longstanding tradition of naming its Android releases after sweet snacks - the codename being a portmanteau of "frozen yoghurt" - Android 2.2 Froyo looks set to be the version which really - ironically - brings the heat to Apple.

When the guys over at AndroidPolice.com got their hands on a pre-release version of the firmware, they fudged it onto a 2.1-enabled Nexus One handset and ran some benchmarks - with eye-opening results. While few people would call Android 2.1 a slouch (especially as it typically runs on high-end handsets), Froyo scored 450 percent higher on the Linpack benchmark. As this represents direct improvements to the Dalvik Java Virtual Machine on which client applications run, theoretically this is going to translate to a much smoother experience across all hardware.

The improvements extend beyond back-end performance gains, too: as well as the now-confirmed Flash 10.1 support, TechCrunch has revealed that Froyo will include in-built tethering support, allowing your laptop or netbook to share your Android smartphone's Internet connection either via USB or - impressively - via WiFi.

Tethering has been supported on the Android platform for a while, but only via third-party software packages, some of which cost money if you want to use certain protocols. There's one possible fly in the ointment, however: the networks. With mobile networks becoming increasingly concerned about the amount of data a smartphone user can get through in an average month - see Vodafone's announcement that it is to start enforcing a 500MB a month download cap across all tariffs - it's perfectly possible that subsidised handsets bought as part of a contract will come with the tethering feature disabled.

Network worries aside, Froyo looks set to be the best version of Android yet - let's just hope all the current Android handsets get a timely upgrade.

Are you an Android user salivating at the thought of a 450 percent speed boost, or is it the tethering that's got you all excited? Are you an iPhone user who still thinks that Google's got a long way to go before it can offer a real challenge to Apple? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

29 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
perplekks45 14th May 2010, 11:30 Quote
Nice. Running 2.1 on my Samsung Galaxy Spica and I'm more than happy with it. But faster + tethering... I'll definitely take that.
Mraedis 14th May 2010, 11:31 Quote
Curious, considering this version is way faster than the previous one, will it come for older hardware, like the HTC Dream?
oatey4519 14th May 2010, 11:36 Quote
nice... look forward to updating my HTC Desire - and its quick and effective already.
iphone you'd better look out.
lewchenko 14th May 2010, 11:41 Quote
Android's biggest failing ......

Updates are not readily made available to H/W which is capable of using them. eg. HTC Hero.

A lot of companys are building UI layers on top of Android like HTC and their Sense UI. This means you have to wait for HTC to release a custom version of Android 2.1 or 2.2 with Sense for your phone on your network.

And sometimes they just dont bother.

My HTC Hero is still on Android 1.5. HTC didnt bother with 1.6 or 2.0 and even now 2.1 is not available for it unless you want to jailbreak/root your phone and install a 2.1 version of Android yourself... doable, but not everyone wants to risk this.

I guess if you want to be guaranteed the quickest Android updates then invest in a Nexus One. Vanilla Android, straight from Google... will be the first to get the updates.

Compare and contrast with Apple who support their phones superbly from an update perspective.

As for me.... this HTC Hero is gonna be the last Android phone I ever own. It was not ready for prime time when I bought and I was duped into buying it (Bluetooth is a joke on this phone for example).
steveo_mcg 14th May 2010, 11:42 Quote
I wonder how long it'll take HTC to get this on the Hero.

As for tethering, i just plug in the usb cable and off it goes no issues. Just don't tell Orange.

@Lewchenko: I don't think bluetooth on the iPhone is all that either tbh. Can't say i've ever noticed weakness in the bluetooth on android but then i don't really have need for it.
LAGMonkey 14th May 2010, 11:46 Quote
now maybe someone with an android can explain this too me, but can older handsets which shipped with 1.6 be upgraded to anything higher?

EDIT:: lewchenko answerd the question and i didnt notice it before i posted.
Still a bit of a bummer for those who WANT HTC's shiney but also want the android updates. Of course HTC has a reason for not giving updates on older phones..... money.

i think maybe a rooted Android (or pure-breed google) is the best way to go with android.
BlackMage23 14th May 2010, 11:57 Quote
The updates look great on paper but as has been said it only works if companies release the update (I'm looking at you HTC).
I got fed up with HTC always putting the release back for the Hero and just rooted it in the end.
I'll be happy to try another Android phone again after the Hero falls apart (I keep my phone for a long time), but will not get a HTC phone.
runadumb 14th May 2010, 12:02 Quote
I got the Nexus one so I expect a very fast update. In saying that I really hope google leans on manufactures to get this out for each and every handset ASAP. I will certainly enjoy the speed boost but not as much as my sisters will with their Motorola Dext and HTC magic.
Kasius 14th May 2010, 12:09 Quote
I remember reading somewhere (a while ago now) that o2 users using unauthorised tethering (ie. without the expensive o2 bolt on) on their iPhones were having their handsets "blocked". If there was "free" tethering on phones using Android that would be a major deciding factor for me over buying an iphone when the 4g finally hits the shelves.
Leitchy 14th May 2010, 12:17 Quote
From the XDA forums, they suggest it will not be available for the Hero and other older HTC devices due to the need for HTC to leek a new kernel for Android 2.2, which probably won't happen as HTC won't develop 2.2 for there older devices.

So looks for us HERO owners, 2.1 is the best we'll get for now - which is no bad thing after rooting and flashing the 2.1 rom on - works great!
Leitchy 14th May 2010, 12:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewchenko
Android's biggest failing ......

Compare and contrast with Apple who support their phones superbly from an update perspective.

What, a company that holds back updates to make them 'features' for there new iteration phones? Comon now!
LJF 14th May 2010, 12:28 Quote
I have a Motorola Milestone which, like the the Nexus one, runs a completely vanilla Android OS. Moto finally released the over the air update to 2.1 last week - Even though 2.1 has been available on the Nexus One since its release in the US at the end of 2009! Its not just HTC users that have to wait.

I'm sure there's plenty of reasons to justify the delay but the frustrating thing is that there are still bugs in it. They're being whinged about at length in the Moto Support forum. I, fortunately, am only experiencing one bug in that my phone no longer vibrates when I receive a text message! (incoming calls, it's fine).
I don't suppose anyone else is having the same problem?

I'll patiently wait for 2.2 as I did with the other updates but I hope it comes sooner, rather than later. It sounds like a seriously decent update.
Fizzl 14th May 2010, 12:36 Quote
Why wait?

One thing I loved about WinMo phones and now Android phones is there isn't a lot stopping you from rooting the phone and building your own version of the OS ahead of the network releases.
As for the UI, yeah the defualt one is somewhat pants but there are some good free products out there like sweeterhome that give you overlays, higher resolutions, buttons, more screens, more spaces within the screen etc.. and it can all be done from the device.

In fact... Bit-Tech/CPC time for a guide to custom building your phone? Some of the newer smart phones are basically small laptops by now.
eek 14th May 2010, 12:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewchenko
Compare and contrast with Apple who support their phones superbly from an update perspective.
True, but then they only really have one hardware platform to support, and that's their own. Plus, aside from small bug fixes and things, real improvements only come once a year.

I don't think Google can be blamed for the speed with which HTC and other 3rd parties roll out the updates. If you want the latest and greatest immediately then get the Nexus One, simples.
Alternatively, root your phone and stick whatever ROM you want on there.

I currently have an iPhone and as soon as the contract runs out I'll probably jump ship (although the 4G leak did reignite my interest in the iPhone).
rickysio 14th May 2010, 15:04 Quote
Tethering was present in Symbian ages ago. Impressive? No, slow, rather.
Denis_iii 14th May 2010, 17:53 Quote
i'd be an android user if htc hurrys up and starts selling the htc incredible in the UK
seems to only be avialable from sprint in usa
Cupboard 14th May 2010, 20:53 Quote
Nice. I mean, tethering has worked in other OSes for ages but still good news.

OTOH, a strict 500MB limit? It is very easy to get through that much!
If you are going to limit it, 1GB would be far more reasonable.
Leitchy 14th May 2010, 21:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cupboard
a strict 500MB limit? It is very easy to get through that much!
If you are going to limit it, 1GB would be far more reasonable.

That's what I thought when I got my HTC Hero and 500mb a month on Orange, and the only time I go near the limit is when watching bbc iplayer on the move. Think the key thing responsible for this is I have wifi everywhere and plan ahead downloading podcasts or caching google map data so when I do connect to 3g, it tends to be for latest news and updates via Opera Mini or Facebook updates.
Cupboard 14th May 2010, 21:51 Quote
Interesting. I seem to get through more than that, though I haven't had my Milestone for all that long.

I do use it on 3G most of the time though, and I am trusting a meter that I assume isn't wrong ;)

edit: oh, and I did manage to get over 500MB on my old phone once too. That was a painful experience, O2 didn't just stop me getting data, they started charging me £3/MB. And I hadn't realised.
l3v1ck 14th May 2010, 22:11 Quote
Will any Android 2.0 handset be able to run 2.2?
If so, so easy will it be to upgrade?
docodine 14th May 2010, 22:41 Quote
Are there any Android phones with the Blackberry screen/keyboard split form factor? After having Android on my Eee PC for a while, I really would like to be able to use that as a phone..
pimonserry 15th May 2010, 00:21 Quote
Docodine, I have a Motorola Milestone that has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and software keyboards (for when you don't want to slide it).

Nothing in the shape of a Blackberry though AFAIK (source: http://www.androphones.com/available-android-phones.php )
ch424 15th May 2010, 00:41 Quote
If you get an android phone on t-mobile, the fair use is 3GB :)
fabler 15th May 2010, 06:58 Quote
Its really cool. And I am waiting for froyo update excitedly. I am running an N1.
fev 15th May 2010, 13:38 Quote
2.1 is coming to Orange Hero's fairly soon. I love HTC's sense as it has tethering built in and works flawlessly with Exchange 2007. Also much quicker than the iPhone when working with Exchange and the battery lasts twice as long!!
Faulk_Wulf 16th May 2010, 02:01 Quote
Sprint, Verizon, and I think even Cricket have unlimited data plans. Though I have a blackberry, and never use more then 15mb a month, I don't know how anyone could pull down 500mb+ on a cellphone.
fev 16th May 2010, 11:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faulk_Wulf
Sprint, Verizon, and I think even Cricket have unlimited data plans. Though I have a blackberry, and never use more then 15mb a month, I don't know how anyone could pull down 500mb+ on a cellphone.

Hero - tethered 3.2GB. Untethered - 1.6GB

Blackberry 9700 - untethered 960MB
TrickyGT 16th May 2010, 21:41 Quote
@ch424
Where did you get that deal as all the T-Mobile deals I see are 1GB fair usage.

How likely is it the HTC will update the Desire to Froyo? Would hate to get a phone that was then running "old" software straight away.
thewelshbrummie 17th May 2010, 20:50 Quote
@TrickyGT - 3GB is standard with any Android phone sold by T-Mobile... and it's treated as a freebie rather than a the flexible booster, so you can choose another. It's the reason I avoided Orange and Vodafone as they could only offer 500MB for the same money... and my calls to 01, 02 & 03 numbers don't count in my minutes allowance thanks to the flexible booster option. And even though the 3g coverage may not be as good as I'd like, it's decent enough to work 95%+ of the time I want it to.

But ithe 3GB limit only applies to Android phones. Don't expect it if the phone you're looking at isn't Android.

On topic with 2.2 it all looks good, but chances are I'll be waiting a while. As much as I love my SE X10, it uses 1.6 thanks to SE having developed its UX skin for it and they're not updating to 2.1 until November, let alone 2.2.
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