Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm Loving my Froyo

Being the Android fanboy that I am, I was eager to install the latest and greatest 2.2 release (aka Froyo) that just became available over the weekend onto my Nexus One. After several days of playing around with the release I have to say that there are some really nice new features and enhancements, but most of them are relatively small and so I wouldn't say the release is a "must have" for everybody. However, for those techno-geeks like me it is a worthwhile upgrade. Among some of the niceties are:
  • Built-in tethering support: This is the feature I've been eagerly anticipating. You can now configure your Android device to be a MiFi and save yourself the 50 bucks a month you're currently spending with your carrier. You can also tether to your device via USB, and if you're using Windows 7 then it just plain works without your having to install additional software or drivers...and no cheesy Dial-Up Networking config either.
  • The home screen has a few subtle but useful changes. Shortcuts to the phone and browser apps now appear on the lower section of each home screen, making it easier to launch both apps without having to search for their specific icons. The search bar has also been enhanced to allow you to limit your searches to just websites, applications or contacts.
  • Voice search appears to be quite a bit more accurate than before. You also now have the ability to select several different languages/dialects for voice search.
  • Battery life seems to have improved a bit as well, although it's hard to quantify.
  • The entire OS seems a bit more responsive than before. I've read some benchmark reports indicating that Froyo is up to 5 times faster than Eclair (2.1). I'm certainly not seeing a 5x improvement, but nonetheless the speed improvement is noticeable and appreciated.
  • You now have the option to auto-update any of your downloaded/purchased apps when new versions become available.
  • For those like me who are rapidly turning grey, the Gmail app finally supports scalable fonts. Why you can't use pinch-to-zoom across all apps is still beyond me, though...come on Google.
  • Flash support: Finally! And it seems to work pretty well as best as I can tell.
  • I also found out about this send-to-phone Chrome extension and Android app that let's you instantly send a web page or Google Map from your PC to your Android device, a la Jack Bauer on 24. Very cool indeed!