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Google Outlines Feature Set For Android 2.2 305

evdotorrey writes "Google announced new features and improvements for Android 2.2. New features include Flash and HTML 5 support, faster browser performance using the V8 engine, Microsoft Exchange support, a Portable Hotspot feature that makes your phone a Wi-Fi hotspot, and many more exciting features." An anonymous reader adds some more on the new release, codenamed Froyo: "Google claims the operating system will be from two to five times faster thanks to advances made in the compilers and the Dalvik virtual machine it uses, and how it is ported to new processors and platforms. On the enterprise front the new operating system comes with full support for Microsoft Exchange, including access to the global address book and the ability to translate native security features to mobile handsets. APIs have also been added to allow controls such as the automatic wiping of missing handsets and other remote management features. Google is also making its voice translation and search APIs open to developers, and showed off an application developed for the handset that allowed real time translation from English to French."
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Google Outlines Feature Set For Android 2.2

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  • Anonymous Cow (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:56AM (#32289948)

    Even though I've seen these features a hundred times, I can't help but take another peek at what the future without apple in my pocket may hold.

    • Re:Anonymous Cow (Score:5, Interesting)

      by beav007 ( 746004 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @03:34AM (#32290156) Journal
      I just bought an HTC Desire, which is running Android 2.1. It's absolutely fantastic to use.

      I have but one complaint. The RSS reader is a PITA to put a feed into unless it's a predefined/preapproved feed.

      Dear Google;

      Please, can we have an icon/button somewhere on the browser that shows that there are RSS feeds associated with that web page, and an integrated way to subscribe to them?


      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by a.ameri ( 665846 )

        Try NewsRob. It syncs with Google Reader and is just a pleasure to use.

    • Re:Anonymous Cow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @03:53AM (#32290272)

      Even though I've seen these features a hundred times, I can't help but take another peek at what the future without apple in my pocket may hold.

      Every time I to look into my future I find the screen blocked by the sheer amount of cash I have by not having apple in my pocket.

      • by RMH101 ( 636144 )
        This is a fair point - the cost of Apple devices is significantly higher.
        I just got an HTC Desire for £192 on a 24 month contract at £15/month. Compare to Apple, where my 3G cost me similar money, but on a £35/month contract. On the plus side, I sold my 3G for just over £200 second hand, so I'm win-win.
        When I was debating the switch from Apple to Android, I thought "I can wait for the new iPhone release, pay a couple of hundred quid for the handset and be on a £35/month co
  • by Kethinov ( 636034 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @02:59AM (#32289964) Homepage Journal

    I love everything about Android except one thing: Vendor/carrier OS upgrades.

    As someone who wants to switch from iPhone to the HTC Evo 4G in June, I have one message to Sprint/HTC/whoever is responsible: Please make Android 2.2 available as soon as a stable build is out. If it takes months after stable 2.2 is released, I'm gonna be a very vocally dissatisfied customer.

    So please vendors / carriers, do us this courtesy and we'll all love you and happily part with obscene quantities of money for quality service.

    • I thought you could pretty much install whatever you wanted in your Android.

      Are "alternative" OSs so inferior compared to the official upgrades?

      • by Tukz ( 664339 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @03:19AM (#32290084) Journal

        You can, if you install a generic Android.

        Vendor or carrier specific firmware isn't anything new.
        Symbian has done it for YEARS.

        The carriers custom fit the firmware, either removing certain things or add carrier specific applications.
        It's no different with Android phones.

        Which mean what when a new Android is released, the vendors and/or carriers have to custom fit the new version to their own and then release it to their customers. As you can probably imagine, this can take quite a while.

        Ever since I started with Symbian many years ago, I've reinstalled with generic firmware as fast as possible.
        If HTC is as slow as I've heard, I'm gonna do the same when I get my HTC Desire next month.

        • by RMH101 ( 636144 )
          Data point: the HTC Desire usually ships with a pretty fast ROM. I had the UK T-Mobile one and it was as quick as standard. Only customisation was a T-Mobile boot screen and a "Web and Walk" logo overlaid on the browser icon. It did, however, have a "feature" where the headphone output level was too low. I flashed the vanilla HTC OEM ROM to fix this, but speed isn't normally an issue with the latest HTC devices.
          The HTC Sense UI is actually pretty damn nice, I prefer it to the Nexus One. I accept I'm g
          • by Tim C ( 15259 )

            Data point: the HTC Desire usually ships with a pretty fast ROM. I had the UK T-Mobile one and it was as quick as standard.

            While that's true (I have a Desire on T-Mobile too), I think what the parent poster meant was slow *in releasing updated versions*. I've heard that too, and may go stock Android when 2.2 comes out. (Though I may wait and see if my workmate who also has a Desire does first, to see how he gets on with it...)

            • by Tukz ( 664339 )

              heh, I don't even understand how he could have thought otherwise. I never said the ROM's was slow.


              The guys over at [] had a talk with HTC.

              HTC said phones released this year, will get Froyo in the second half of 2010.

              [...] if your phone was launched this year, we will most likely offer an upgrade for it to the Froyo version. This includes popular models like the Desire and Droid Incredible as well as hotly anticipated phones like the Evo 4G, MyTouch slide and upcoming models. We will announce a full list of phones and dates once we are closer to launching the upgrades. We are working closely with Google and our other partners to ensure we have the earliest access to everything we need to provide a complete and solid Sense experience on Froyo. We expect to release all updates in the second half of this year but can't be more specific yet.

              Source: []

              • by RMH101 ( 636144 )
                that's what comes of reading this via my HTC Desire! Reading comprehension fail...! Good news on the HTC update though. Hopefully this'll mark an improvement in the speed of response.
        • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @04:54AM (#32290610)
          The first thing I did with my Touch Diamond 2 was install a custom ROM. Stock / Vendor ROMs are almost always out of date before shipping, and updates from the vendor are few and far between. I don't expect this to be any different on Android phones.

          There's a good community at xda-developers for Android phones. Check them out.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2010 @05:07AM (#32290668)

          You can, if you install a generic Android.

          Not on Motorola Milestone (the european version of Droid). Motorola has locked its bootloader so you can't install a generic Android image, unless you sign it with Motorola's keys.

          There's an online petition about that issue:

        • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @05:25AM (#32290766)

          But the real question is how long until carriers start treating Android phones like any phone before it only authorizing their firmware to operate on their network and going to their "Market place"? I see that day coming soon rather than later as most carriers in the US don't want to be turned into dumb pipes. Talking with friends in Australia, it appears this has already happened down there with Android phones. They have to purchase apps through the carrier store, it blocks the Google Market Place.

          The carriers great metric is "Revenue per customer". That is what they want to maximize. They saw how AT&T got pretty much blind sided by the success Apple has had with the iTunes App Store. They would rather see that 30% commission on each app sold than Google or independent developers.

          I've already heard some complaints from friends with different Droid phones not being able to run the same apps. One person downloads an App that works great on a HTC, but a person with a Motorola can't down download the same app due to incompatible hardware.

          As a developer, we're already charging 4x's the amount to develop for Android vs iPhone. Why? Because with Android we have test against 4 software versions and a number of different handsets and that adds a lot of time/cost in the QA phase. Not to mention keeping up with all the hardware is getting to be expensive for a small shop.

          • by Tukz ( 664339 )

            The carriers in my country, let the customers roam pretty free.

            Only one major carrier is still SIM locking the phones, the rest doesn't.

            So I don't see that changing anytime soon.
            Besides, we got laws against this in my country.
            Not allowed to lock a phone permanently to a carrier.

            Sure, the carriers release applications that most likely only work on that carriers network, but that's just a feature if you use that carrier.

            I see the problem with the applications though.
            I didn't know it was that much of a problem

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by hedwards ( 940851 )
            Some already do. If you've got one through AT&T it's fully locked down. That was my only gripe about my backflip. Motorola had their locked down phone in the Milestone. One of the main reasons why I bought my Nexus one was that it would be getting all the updates promptly up until some point in the future when it's discontinued. It's really the only phone that guarantees you that it will be getting prompt updates for things that Google thinks are important.

            I'd expect most other phones to take quite a
      • by RMH101 ( 636144 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @03:21AM (#32290094)
        The OS is a little different. If you buy a Google handset (G1, G2, Nexus One) then you get the update pushed OTA as it's released. If you buy another vendor's version, you have to wait whilst they customise the latest OS for their handset. Specifically, HTC sell Android handsets with their "Sense" UI. Historically they've been somewhat slow to release updates - HTC need to compile a new build, and they take their sweet time to do this. Whilst you can flash alternate ROMs (waves to to devices - e.g. Cyanogen - you need to be reasonably tech-savvy to do so, and if anything goes wrong you've lost your warranty. Couple this with some vendors taking extra steps to make it deliberately difficult to install third-party ROMs (I'm looking at you, HTC Desire!) and the upshot is that to upgrade safely/easily - wait for the vendor to release an update. To be on the bleeding edge you can take a (small) risk and install third party ROMs.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I got a HTC Hero.
        It still runs Android 1.5 But in the US they got it upgraded to 2.1 a few days ago. And here in Europe we will get the 2.1 Update sometime next month.

        So android 1.6, 2.0, 2.1 and now 2.2 has been released in the time it takes HTC to upgrade from 1.5 to 2.1
        So it will still be a release behind.

        Sure I got a 1.5 phone, but the way that they update softwre today, and develepers develop to the newes OS and not old OS (New API, features etc.)
        Then the OS realy need to be upgraded basic when it's re

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Just a heads up since you want to buy an Evo - I was considering breaking my contract with AT&T and ditching my iPhone 3GS for an Evo until I found out that there's a $10 / month fine on any Sprint customer who has an Evo. Even in 3G only areas too - you can use the same Android 2.1 on it that you can on the Samsung Moment that Sprint has, run the same apps, and use the same amount of bandwidth, but you pay another $240 over the two year contract. Sprint's BS justification for this is that it has a bi
  • My question: On Android 2.1 and earlier, copy-protected apps are kept in a directory only root has access to, /data/app-private.

    Since apps are now installable on the memory card, are copy-protected apps only able to be put into internal memory, or is there a nasty new DRM mechanism put in to guard the apps that are on the SD card?

    • by w0mprat ( 1317953 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @03:15AM (#32290052)
      No DRM. Not having root access in stock Android carrier/HTC will sufficiently prevent casual copying of paid apps to another device. After market ROMs or a ROOT access package will most certainly have this restriction lifted. You are not DRM-locked into not being able to copy/backup your paid apps, but you will void your warranty to do so.

      If there is, it will be rather easily removed with superuser permissions.

      By far the best feature of Android is the thriving community of after-market OS builds. It's like upgrading your phone for free. I'm not affiliated, but right now feel obliged to shameless endorse CyanogenMod's G1/G2/Nexus One custom ROMs []
      • by mlts ( 1038732 ) *

        Files stored on the SD are not protected by being root-only, unlike files in main memory. So, either copy-protected apps will not be able to be stored externally, or they will have some form of encryption-based DRM, or varying strength. It could be something as simple as AES-256ing the .APK files and storing the key in a root owned directory with 700 perms, to a system similar to WM-DRM which has yet to see a crack for more than a week or two.

    • by kyz ( 225372 )

      According to []

      * The .apk file is saved on the external storage, but all private user data, databases, optimized .dex files, and extracted native code are saved on the internal device memory.

      * The unique container in which your application is stored is encrypted with a randomly generated key that can be decrypted only by the device that originally installed it. Thus, an application installed on an SD card works for only one device.

      * Only new rel

      • by mlts ( 1038732 ) *

        Thank you. I didn't see that even though I was digging through the Android docs. The encryption is essentially the same method that Windows Mobile 6+ use to encrypt files on the SD card.

        The mechanism is excellent -- a user can move apps from the SD card to the internal memory at will, provided there is enough room.

  • Wifi tethering (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @03:11AM (#32290018)

    I wonder what will be the effects of millions of people carrying wifi hotspots.

    If I put my happy optimistic hat, I can imagine a next generation that forgets about ownership of connection and creates a giant web of constant wifi access to the web.

    A world where every little gadget can access the web as you approach, by using your phone.

    • Re:Wifi tethering (Score:5, Interesting)

      by LingNoi ( 1066278 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @03:43AM (#32290198)

      It's already happening, check out OLSR being ported to the android []. With this your android can connect to an OLSR mesh network.

    • by Troed ( 102527 )

      I wonder what will be the effects of millions of people carrying wifi hotspots.

      It will make location services relying on nearby hotspots instead of GPS and/or cell towers to become much more interesting at least.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by adolf ( 21054 )

      I have real, functional Wifi tethering on my 2.1 Droid, complete with basic or absolute access control, notification of new connections, et cetera. It works well.

      Even though I have all access control and encryption disabled, so that anyone within earshot could use it freely, I leave it turned off unless I'm using it myself. This, despite the fact that I also carry an iPod Touch (which certainly benefits from having an always-on connection), and could easily lock the connection down to just the iPod and my

      • Check out my post futher up about OLSR. It already does this by connecting to a mesh network. Also take a look at MANETs which is what OLSR is.

        The problem isn't the protocols. The software already runs on android! The problem is that not enough people are using it on their routers.

        I doubt that going to change unless someone goes out and installs routers all around town or a manet protocol is installed by default on router firmware.

    • A world where every little gadget can access the web as you approach, by using your phone.

      It is easy to limit access like now with Bluetooth appliances. Just do not accept any new connection without user intervention. Actually I wonder what the advantage of WiFi over BT may be for handsets, considering BT was designed exactly for this purpose: short-range communication between devices.

  • by oldhack ( 1037484 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @03:12AM (#32290028)

    Have we audited the Android code enough to know that it's not phoning the mothership sending god-knows-what? Do we know there is no other "oops we didn't mean to"? It's one thing to have gov't spooks snooping on you, wholly another to have a private corporation piling dossier on you.

    Paranoid? Pretty damn well justified when we are talking about Google, I say. Ask them about their data collection policy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by w0mprat ( 1317953 )
      You deserve mod points if I had them because you touch on an important issue that just doesn't seem to be discussed publicly. Is the scrutiny of open source submissions good enough? How are sources gauged for trustworthiness? It's always bothered me how much security is assumed in the million eyes principal.

      Sure Android is open source, but Google's default applications are closed source. In fact developers of after market mods have gotten into trouble for including apps such as Google Maps, Gtalk etc. ht []
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Have we audited the Android code enough to know that it's not phoning the mothership sending god-knows-what?

      I'd say so. I pretty much know what my Android phone is sending back by casual observation, my contacts are synced with Gmail, it asks if I want to participate in X program (no) or send my location to google (no).

      But hey, if you don't believe me do an audit yourself []. The thing about secret plots is that the more people you involve in them the harder they are to keep secret.

  • I'm still waiting for 2.0 for my G1. Why should I care about 2.2?

    Yes I know I can root my phone and shoehorn a modded OS on there. I really don't want to hear about your 1337 hax. I want a supported update.

    • Cyanogen has a release of 2.1 for the Dream(G1) and Magic(myTouch 3G). It is currently at version 5.0.7-Test6.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by w0mprat ( 1317953 )

      I'm still waiting for 2.0 for my G1. Why should I care about 2.2?

      Yes I know I can root my phone and shoehorn a modded OS on there. I really don't want to hear about your 1337 hax. I want a supported update.

      I won't badger you about aftermarket ROMs and how awesome I think they are (because I do), but I will say some major mods are actually well supported with frequent updates. Carefully done , you can back up your stock rom, test drive the aftermarket ROM and if need be roll back to the stock software. I also understand that re-flashing the official firmware is sufficient to retain your warranty should you need to make a claim.

  • I don't suppose it will be made available for the G1...
  • TFA!!!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by adolf ( 21054 ) <> on Friday May 21, 2010 @03:19AM (#32290078) Journal

    First, I read the comments. There were three. I modded them all up, because they all seemed useful within the confines of Slashdot's moderation parameters. I frequently have mod points, apparently because people think my moderation is fair. However, by posting this (I refuse to jump through hoops to post as AC), those moderations were undone. Sorry.

    The reason is simple: After moderating, I read TFA. Therein, I see that about every third sentence ends with an exclamation point! This artificial excitement really annoying!

    For instance:

    With Android 2.2, the Chrome web browser will have full Adobe Flash Player 10.1 support to allow you to view flash-based websites, play flash games, and more! This is something that not even the iPhone is capable of doing!

    See what I mean! It's a very loud article!

    It's like there aren't any there any others [] to pick from!

    That said, I might be qualified to be an Android fanboi! For instance, today at work, I used my phone to help me align and plumb two antenna systems! The day before that, it helped me cook a stew! And on Monday of this week, it even walked my dog!

    But this quantity of exclamatory remarks is unsettling! Please, timothy, given your lineage here, I expect better editing!



  • by Qubit ( 100461 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @03:43AM (#32290202) Homepage Journal

    Okay, sure, Google cuts some deal with Adobe to suck up the Adobe Flash Player code and bake it into builds of Chrome. Or Chromium (whichever one is their proprietary version of the browser).

    But why would they describe that support as existing in Android? I thought that Android was Google's FOSS-licensed, linux-kernel-based OS.

    When Google, HTC, and other people release a phone running Android, they invariably pile all kinds of proprietary stuff on top. Other options would be nice, but they don't seem too interested in that.

    Maybe it's just this particular news site being imprecise, but I'm concerned that Google is trying to peg Flash support via this browser to all Android phones. I mean, it's great for people who want to run the software, but it's shifting Android away from a FOSS project to Yet Another Proprietary Stack.

    C'mon Google, you're chock full of smart engineers who want an open web, so please make sure that Android stays an open stack.

    • by D H NG ( 779318 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @04:23AM (#32290450)
      FYI, Flash support won't be built into Froyo. You download the Flash plug-in from the Marketplace as you would any other app.
    • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @08:34AM (#32291654)

      There are other options. You can run Android just fine without any of the Google-branded proprietary apps (Google Maps, Google Earth, Gmail, etc.). They are kind of cool, whiz-bang things but you don't need em.

      Their mail client is Open Source, and there's a fantastic fork called K9mail that is the most used app on my iPhone. The browser is based on Webkit and there's nothing that forces you to download/use/enable the Flash plugin. You can even download Mozilla Fennec (the alpha build at this point, but hey) if you prefer. There are customized versions of the Contacts and Phone apps out there.

      As a matter of fact, there are community-built ROMs out there that don't have the Google stuff built in. Or you can easily enough remove them from your phone if they bother you.

      If you want complete freedom and choice, buy the Nexus One, there are ton of custom ROMs for it. Don't buy the carrier-subsidized locked-down phones. Despite the fact that Google is shifting to a retail distribution model, the Google branded phones aren't going away. The Nexus One is currently the best GSM smartphone on the market in the US (Desire isn't available here, EVO 4G isn't GSM). Get it now, build your own ROMs or use other people's ROMs, hack-away, be happy.

  • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @04:21AM (#32290432)

    I guess you could say that the new compiler arrived... just in time?

    • by Tukz ( 664339 )


    • Yes the iPhone is one of their major competitors. Other posts talk about the iPhone bumped to third place - is that on handset lists of on OS lists? I have the feeling when I look around me that the iPhone is the nr 1 choice for smart phones. I see that one everywhere it seems.

      Google's phones are likely technologically ahead of the iPhone: tethering, being WiFi hotspot, probably faster processor, better screen, and whatnot.

      The one-million-dollar (literally) question remains:

      Is it going to be as user frie

  • First things first (Score:3, Insightful)

    by robinvanleeuwen ( 1009809 ) <> on Friday May 21, 2010 @04:25AM (#32290464) Homepage Journal

    Well great,

    the new android is almost on the shelves, but nowhere i read if they are gonna support setting
    a proxy for WiFi. Up until now you are unable to make use of a proxy. As far as i can tell this feature
    was there in 1.x (with or without the use of 3th-party apps) , but in 2.x it is not possible to set a proxy for

    Despite the 344-and-growing comments on [] ,
    in which the feature was first reported missing on Nov. 12 2008 (Two thousand and eight!!!, we're in 2010 now)
    They have failed to respond or shed some light on this. And looking at:

    Status: New
    Owner: ----

    It doens't give me a lot of convidence that they are really looking into it.

    Don't get me wrong, WiFi thetering is great and all but compared to making use of a proxy for WiFi,
    if you are dependend on a (corporate) proxy due to missing signal from your provider, slow connections
    (3G or even G),are at the whim of corporate policy or you have to pay extra for data per mb to you provider,
    it's pretty insignificant to have WiFi thetering if you are unable to use the internet on droid at all...

    So my 2ct's are first things first, you can't not support proxy for WiFi and push your OS as someting that
    can be used in an corporate enviroment...

  • by trawg ( 308495 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @04:39AM (#32290534) Homepage

    The official Android developers blog post [] is probably more interesting than blogspam

  • Article sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rubypossum ( 693765 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @06:22AM (#32291004)
    on Google's giant hairy man-breasted teat. To quote from TFA:

    >> Android 2.2 will be the first mobile operating system that will have native flash support.

    Excuse me, you mean that Android will finally get Flash, following in the footsteps of the non-corporate bastardized Maemo for Nokia N900 smart phone which has had native flash support for months, if not a year. Obviously this Google fanboi didn't want to pass the word along. After all, somebody might go out and buy a phone you can get flash on TODAY. Instead of in some indefinite time in the future, for a phone that's locked down to the bastards at Sprint. Ehhhh.
  • by tyrione ( 134248 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @06:42AM (#32291112) Homepage

    One of the many improvements that Android 2.2 will bring is better performance when running applications. They have made improvements to how applications are compiled that allows apps to run more efficiently, which ultimately allows the applications to run faster and smoother than ever before. Android's web browser Chrome, has also been improved with a 2-3x javascript performance boost using the V8 engine which allows web apps to load a lot faster with Android 2.2. During the live demonstration using Sun's standard Spider javascript test, Chrome on Android 2.2 out performed the same phone running Android 2.1 and even outperformed the Apple iPad running Safari!

    I sure hope it outperforms Safari on iPad seeing as it's not remotely near the WebKit nightly that's been in development for nearly a year.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"