Android 2.2 'FroYo' first look

Update: Screengrabs of the new Wi-Fi hotspot process

Image 1 of 3 The Wi Fi hotspot process
The Wi-Fi hotspot process
Image 2 of 3 The Wi Fi hotspot process
The Wi-Fi hotspot process
Image 3 of 3 Google Android 2 2
Google Android 2.2

So what exactly is FroYo, and why should you care?

The new version of the Android OS, Android 2.2, originally codenamed FroYo (short for Frozen Yoghurt) was launched at the Google I/O back in May.

After months of waiting, the update is set to begin rollout to the HTC Desire in Europe, with the Samsung Galaxy S next in line. US-based Google Nexus One users have already got their hands on the update, and HTC EVO's are on the list for imminent Froyo-joy too.

So what actually is FroYo, and what can we expect from the new Android OS?

Speed increase

Initial excitement over FroYo focussed on the huge improvement in processing speed, which was claimed to be up to six times faster, depending on the benchmarking system used. This has been achieved by using a technology trick known as just-in-time compilation, which speeds up Java significantly. A huge number of games and apps are built in java because it ports across mobile platforms easily.

Flash support

FroYo will support Flash Player 10.1, and initial tests indicate that most Flash-powered websites will work normally – a massive boost for Android fans. Google hasn't been shy of letting this fact speak volumes in the ongoing Flash vs Apple debate.

SD card app storage

Doesn’t exactly sound exciting, right? Actually, this is a real bugbear with existing Android builds. Apps can only be downloaded to the 512ish MB onboard memory of your phone, leaving a potential 32GB micro-SD-sized opportunity wasted. This slows performance and cuts the number of apps you can install. With the full expanse of your micro-SD to fill, there’s hundreds of the Best Android apps waiting for your call…

Wifi hotspot

Android 2.2 enables connectivity sharing between wi-fi enabled devices as well as via USB. In practice, this means that you’ll be able to check your mails and surf on your netbook by using your phone data. It’s thought that some operators may restrict this feature, or introduce extra charges.

By default, you’ll create an open access point named AndroidAP, which can be renamed and also switched to WPA2 PSK encryption. See the screengrabs here.

USB tethering

In the same Tethering & portable hotspot area of the Wireless and network settings you’ll find a checkbox for USB tethering. Unfortunately Bluetooth tethering is not yet supported.

Android Market and more…

The Android Market finally has an "update all apps" button, to the general relief of everyone. Apps can even update themselves, although it’s worth asking yourself if you trust all the app providers to do this.