The internet almost exploded at the weekend with the arrival of Android 2.2 aka FroYo. I was one of the people over at xda-developers hammering my F5 key into the desk waiting for the URL to appear. Finally it did and soon after a version for root users appeared too. Now that I have been running it for 48 hours I can provide some impressions of it.
There are lots of little tweaks to the applications and UI:
- Hold down a key on the virtual keyboard and then swipe upwards and numbers and symbols appear. Not as good as the HTC IME keyboard but a nice addition nonetheless
- The Facebook has been updated so that messages and photos now open in the app rather than going to m.facebook.com in the browser.
- The official Twitter client is part of the ROM now
- Animated GIFs now work in the browser (at last!)
- The home screen now has non-configurable shortcuts to the phone app and browser integrated at the bottom. Useful as shortcuts to these can be removed from the home screen, saving space.
The nifty Chrome to Phone plugin and companion app that they showed off at Google I/O is already available and it works as expected. Normal website links open the browser, Google Maps links open the maps application and Youtube links give you a choice of the browser or Youtube app.
There are some bad points the biggest of which is that the automatic login option for my Reader Widgets no longer works. I used an undocumented API for this so its my own fault really. If the widget is already on the home screen it should continue to work but if the app is installed fresh then it won’t load authorise with the Google Reader API. The manual login option still works so I will issue an update disabling the automatic option just for Android 2.2. I have done some tests and I might not be able to provide the automatic option again.
Other downsides are that the custom HTC IME keyboard does not work fully yet. I’m sure that will get fixed soon enough. Some applications are no longer showing up in the Market e.g. ExZeus.
SMS Bot Widget still works and so does
Moving apps to the SD card is down to developers to add support for it. Google don’t recommend that widget apps use it in case the SD card is removed from the phone (and the widget is still active).
Overall it’s a great step forward for Android. Some features have been added that fix obvious issues with the platform and others put it ahead of the competition. I can’t wait for the apps and services that will utilise Froyo fully.