'Froyo' Android 2.2 update scrutinized


— 11:01 AM on June 24, 2010

In case you've been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you'll know that today marks the official release date of Apple's latest iPhone. Pre-orders were handed out early, and loyalists lined up outside Apple stores are finally getting their eager mitts on the device. Everyone else seems to be either indifferent to Apple's latest release, deeply (or secretly) envious of anyone who has one, or convinced that some other smartphone platform is superior for their needs.

So, what about those alternative platforms? Google's Android OS has received its fair share of hype, and the folks at AnandTech have taken a closer look at the latest "Froyo" 2.2 release. This version hasn't been rolled out on any handsets just yet, but it's been leaked online, and popular Android devices are expected to offer upgrades in the coming months.

The fact that some phones will be getting Android 2.2 before others, and that smartphone makers and carriers are ultimately the ones deciding which models get the upgrade and when, highlights the fractured nature of the Android market. Froyo looks promising, though. The OS integrates Flash 10.1, USB tethering, and even the ability to turn your phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot if you'd rather share an Internet connection without a physical tether. Performance looks to be much improved, as well.

There are problems, of course. The author says the UI still feels "inconsistent and clumsy" at times, which is a stark contrast to the iPhone's responsive and well-sorted interface. With some handset makers running their own interfaces on top of Android, perhaps Google preferred to focus its efforts on other features for this release. In any case, for PC enthusiasts accustomed to having more choices and freedoms than Apple typically provides, Android looks like an increasingly compelling alternative to iOS—provided you can find a smartphone running Froyo, that is.

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