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A Roundup of New Features in Android 2.2

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Google presented the 7th version of Android called Froyo at Google I/O 2010. Android has received much attention during the conference and it was the topic of the keynote held by Vic Gundotra, VP of Engineering at Google. Android 2.2 has new features in areas like: enterprise integration, device management API, performance, tethering, browser, and marketplace.

Microsoft Exchange Friendly. Android has new features making it more friendly to be used in Exchange enterprise environments. Some of the features are:

  • Exchange account auto-discovery based on username/password
  • Support for Exchange calendar with synchronization
  • Improved security allowing administrators to enforce security policy across devices.
  • Reset to factory defaults – administrators can reset a device to its factory defaults in order to wipe sensitive data in case the device was stolen or lost
  • Global Address List lookup – helping users to auto-complete a recipient’s email address based on a list retrieved from a server.

Device Management API. A number of device management APIs have been improved or made available to developers to call from applications:

  • Application data backup API – allows backing up application data to the cloud. If one switches to another Android device, he can restore the data from the previous one.
  • Cloud-to-Device messaging API. This enhancement allows users/systems in the cloud to trigger actions on the device. The feature offers mobile alerts, send to phone and two-way push sync services.
  • Apps can be installed directly on an external memory device (SD card). They can also be move from internal memory to the SD card and back.

Tethering. Android 2.2 supports connecting multiple devices to the Internet through one hotspot provided by an Android phone.

Performance. Android 2.2 is 2-5X times faster than Android 2.1 for CPU intensive applications due to a new Dalvik JIT compiler. According to a Linpack benchmark, a Nexus One phone with Froyo installed reaches 37.5 MFlops, compared to 6.5 MFlops for the same phone using Android 2.1.

Faster Browsing. JavaScript code is processed 2-3X faster that Android 2.1 because the browser uses the Chrome V8 engine now.

Accessing Device API from the Browser. A number of device APIs - accelerometer, camera, voice recognition, translation - can be accessed directly from the browsers enabling web applications to interact with the device in ways they have not done before. For example, one can take a photo shot and post it to a website, all being done from inside the browser.

Support for Flash 10.1. Froyo supports the latest Flash 10.1 which is in beta. The recent performance improvements due to the introduction of the JIT compiler help a lot running Flash applications which are known to be CPU intensive. 

Android Marketplace. Android 2.2 developers and marketplace users will benefit from a number of new features:

  • Search through Android Marketplace applications including application data
  • Update – update all apps with one push of a button and auto update for all apps
  • Crash and freeze report. Android 2.2 has integrated crash/freeze report features allowing one to post complete details on a crash to the application publisher. 
  • Browsing the marketplace from a PC and downloading apps directly to the device. Using a PC, the user selects an application on the marketplace and the application is sent to the device where it is loaded. The user must be signed in and the device registered with Android Marketplace for this feature to work.

Music Management. One can transfer all his non-DRM music from Windows Media or Mac iTunes to an Android device for playing.

The following pages contain more Android 2.2 features: Android 2.2 Platform Highlights, Android 2.2 and developers goodies.

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