1. Hi Guest: Welcome to TRIBE, Toronto's largest and longest running online community. If you'd like to post here, or reply to existing posts on TRIBE, you first have to register on the forum. You can register with your facebook ID or with an email address. Join us!

Android 2.2 'Froyo' beta hands-on: Flash 10.1, WiFi hotspots, and killer benchmarks

Discussion in 'Technology' started by glych t.anomaly, May 20, 2010.

  1. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member



    Much to our surprise at the time, when Adobe sent us a Flash 10.1-enabled Nexus One for testing, the phone came preloaded with a preview build of Android 2.2 -- a.k.a. "Froyo" -- the apparent turning point for curbing Android fragmentation due for a very public unveiling today at Google I/O. We've had a day or two to dig into it, and while we're surely missing some improvements here or there (Google was unable to provide us a changelog as of this writing), we've spent pretty much all our waking moments combing through every virtual nook and cranny. So what can Eclair alumni expect from the revised platform? Read on for more!



    The first thing you'll notice with Froyo is a slightly modified navigation bar that assimilates shortcuts for both the phone and web browser. The Google search bar has undergone a slight modification, too, letting you cater your search specifically to web, apps, or contacts -- and that's about it for home screen modifications. No extra wallpapers, no additional screens, no new shortcuts. As for new widgets, all we've seen are a tutorial box and a rotating ad for featured marketplace apps.

    See video on linked page above.

    Tethering and portable hotspot


    Well, what do you know? Even seeing the settings sub-menu for tethering and portable WiFi hotspot functionality didn't completely convince us, but sure enough, we logged on to AT&T's 3G network without any issues. Security options are limited at this point -- it's WPA2 PSK or bust -- but that should be more than enough when your DSL goes on the fritz or you're stuck in traffic and need to do some heavy emailing. Let's see how long the carriers turn a blind eye on this one.

    YouTube HQ (sort of)


    The only other stock widget, aside from Google search, that had any noticeable change was YouTube, which now scrolls through a set of most viewed videos to entice and distract you on passing glances. The player itself, however, beams a shiny new "HQ" button on the bottom right of the screen. But before you go gloating to your EVO 4G-carrying pals, you should know that in our tests the higher-res option by and large matched the default (and thus far only) video option for Android 2.1 Eclair, and non-HQ was even more scaled down, and didn't even span the entire width of the 3.7-inch screen. And to think, the sight of that button alone gave us such jubilation.

    External storage for apps

    While support for apps on external storage is presumably intended for Froyo (the Manage Applications screen is now divided amongst Downloaded, Running, All, and most importantly, "On SD card"), try as we might, we couldn't find a single program that'd let us use the "Move to SD card" functionality. That includes marketplace and third-party downloads -- we'll have to explore this one later.

    Everything else

    Some of the other highlights, briefly:

    Camera: Controls are now more streamlined within the viewing window and much easier to sift through.

    Gmail: Previous and Next navigation in every viewed message, and a much more colorful means of sifting through labels.

    Calendar: The large green bars that took up much of the calendar space have been thoroughly fine-tuned into blue segments more indicative of the actual hour of day for each event.

    Voice recognition settings: Does voice search have a perceived issue with your accent or colloquialisms? New options for voice recognition let you choose seven different dialects of English (US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Generic), Mandarin Chinese, and Japanese. The latter worked quite well in testing, producing accurate Kanji for our horribly strewn together phrases.

    Security: Sick of locking your device with a pattern? PIN codes are now accepted.

    Car dock: A revamped interface spaces out the buttons, adds quick shortcuts to music and lighting adjustment, but decides it's probably for the best to disable the hardware home button in lieu of an easier-to-press "Exit car mode" screen key.

    Flash Player 10.1


    We have to say, it's really something to have a mobile browser that doesn't pop up little cubes with question marks all over the web, but we found that rediscovering Flash was much like reuniting with a high school friend; at first you've so much to catch up on, but then you realize how far you've grown apart. Adobe's pre-vetted list of Flash-enabled sites do a good job of showing off the technology, but we still can't help but think the interactive elements still have a lot of catching up to do. As for video, the stream is good quality but gets fairly choppy -- especially when you check out something "not optimized for mobile viewing." Some of the HTML5 footage we've seen via the same device shows up in crisper detail and fluidity. Battery and heat are also of concern: the pre-release beta we have, according to Adobe, lacks hardware acceleration. Ergo, our beloved handset got piping hot after about 30 minutes of heavy video watching, and the battery indicator in the upper right had a sizable dent.



    So, does the new system run as silky smooth as earlier hinted at? In our tests, we were getting about the same Linpack scores as the early reports, which was over five times higher on Froyo than on Eclair -- and even more dramatic when you compare it with an Eclair-laden Motorola Droid. We saw similar results with a number of other benchmark tools, namely Sunspider and Benchmark Pi (unfortunately NeoCore, our favorite 3D test, kept crashing when we tried it).

    Droid (2.1) Nexus One (2.1) Nexus One (2.2)
    Linpack (MFLOPS) 4.53 6.928 39.72
    Sunspider (milliseconds) 34,323 14,547 5,982
    Benchmark Pi (milliseconds) 5,086 2,859 1,138
    Notes: MFLOPS is millions of floating point operations per second (higher is better). Sunspider tests Javascript performance and Benchmark Pi measures calculations of the irrational number -- lower is better for both. All numbers shown are averaged from five tests apiece.

    Of course, numbers are one thing, but how does it feel in practice? Frankly, we haven't seen that dramatic of a performance change. The full Engadget page consistently loaded a few seconds faster on Froyo, as did any other page we tried. Ditto for some of the more hardware-intensive games -- Raging Thunder II, for example. That said, fresh locations on Maps loaded just as fast on both versions, and we were hard pressed to find any other noticeable performance disparity.



    It's clear to us that, toying with the OS prior to Google's big unveil, we're not getting the whole picture of Froyo. But taking what we have here so far, there's a lot of promise (and certainly a lot of improvements on the backend). Some of the major aesthetic issues that have plagued Android in the past, however, are still out in full force. There seems to be no cohesive vision on how the platform should look and feel, and first-party apps run the gamut in terms of interface and design. The whizzes at HTC know how to work their magic with Sense UI, but what we'd really like to see is Google come out with an interface that'd prove much less tempting to cover up. Still, the narrative of this Brave New 'Droid is still being written, and this is definitely a step in the right direction.


  2. dstarr

    dstarr TRIBE Member

    Looks nice... I have been seriously looking at what is going on with Android and will see once iPhone 4G comes out what my next phone is going to be.

    But I suspect this will take forever and being able to turn your phone into a wifi hotspot will cost a mint in Canada.
  3. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    Nope, as long as you dont go over your existing data plan, then you dont have to worry. its not supposed to be used all the time, but is great for when you need to get internet to more than one device.

    regardless of that, Telus has the droid, but i dont think there is another carrier in canada that has a android phone that will be running 2.2 right away officially, so for me an my Nexus One, i will get the 2.2 update, tethering, and wifi hotspot, and it wont change a thing with my current data plan :)

  4. Eclectic

    Eclectic TRIBE Member

    Also...sure, Flash works, but it drains the battery and heats up the phone.

    Soldiers don't react well to heat.

  5. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    drains the battery and heats up the phone after 30 minutes of straight use.

    show me a phone that DOESNT heat up and drain the battery after 30 minutes of straight video, or gaming etc.

    oh wait, you cant. :p

  6. videotronic

    videotronic TRIBE Member

    sounds awesome
  7. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    i <3 little picture people.

    in application specific testing, it was faster, browsing was faster, and gaming or more intensive applications were faster.

    also it should be noted that the nexus one running 2.2 did LAPS around the iPad in their demonstrations at the Google I/O keynote.

    here is the link :p


  8. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    Android 2.2 coming to Nexus One, open source community 'in the coming weeks'



    Why, thanks Google! Just a day after wrapping up a rather monumental Google I/O event in Northern California, the company's official show Twitter account has belted out a tidbit that just about every attendee was wondering about. According to the outfit, Android 2.2 (yeah, that's Froyo for the inexperienced) will be "made available to OEMs and the open source community in the coming weeks," and it'll be hitting up the HTC-built Nexus One in the "next few weeks." That's music to our ears, and if you're unsure what kind of impact this will have on your own life, feel free to take a deep dive into this right here.

    YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES ! YES !

  9. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member


    i just found the download link to the 2.2 update, and COULD install it by flashing the update to my device.


    but i might hold off. until the official update comes through, or i see some YAY or NAY results posted by people who have done so successfully.

  10. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    2.2 installed and fuck yes is it ever smooth and clean.

    Doubled the available RAM from generally around 130mb to 250 - 260 when running, better exchange support and syncing, exchange calendar sync, tethering, mobile hot spot.


  11. Kalemic

    Kalemic TRIBE Promoter


    This makes it the phone it should have already been, but damn is it nice now.
  12. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    FLASH !

  13. Kalemic

    Kalemic TRIBE Promoter

    I don't even care about Flash! The phone flies now!
  14. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    i like to mention it just cuz i can ;)

    its sooo fast :)

  15. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    i just did a factory reset on my phone, as it wasnt allowing me to assign custom notification tones etc.

    took all of 20 mins to have it reset, get all my apps back on it, all contacts, everything back to normal, and set up the same way.

    Without connecting it to a computer. so fucking sweet.

    and the only thing that was different was my MS Exchange account, was not added on by default, and so i havent bothered to set it up yet.

    my Battery life went from about 30 hours on a full charge, to having used only HALF the battery in 24 hours !!!!!

    so if i add my Exchange account back, it def will not be syncing, period, it will be for my convenience only.

    as well, i just got a sweet dock for my nexus one, that has a secondary battery charging station, so i can charge both the phone battery and my spare at the same time !

    * grinning like a mofo *

  16. xtcfreak

    xtcfreak TRIBE Member

    Hey glych , what phone / provider is your 2.2 on? I was looking at the EVO but I need something GSM.


  17. xtcfreak

    xtcfreak TRIBE Member

    nevermind.. missed the "nexus one" :)

  18. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    yeah its the Nexus One, im with Fido :)

    and i wouldnt trade my Nexus for the EVO unless someone paid me 500$, so i could buy another nexus and have the evo ;)

  19. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member


    its a small pic, but i got this dock, that is AC/USB powered, and has a secondary battery dock, so i can charge both my phone , and my extra battery at once, and sync with computer, or just the battery etc.

    33.58 CAD w/ shipping from hong kong, and it arrived in 3 days.

    SICK !

  20. xtcfreak

    xtcfreak TRIBE Member

    I am seriously thinking about picking one of these up and one of those charging docks.

  21. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    im so happy with it is nuts.

    Get the second battery, get the dock, welcome to a world that few people get to experience :)

    especially in canada, i know 3 other people with Nexus Ones

    Sean aka Kalemic, Kevan aka Kevan Duke, and my buddy drew i work with.

  22. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

  23. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member


    Android 2.x now on 70 percent of all active Android phones -- Engadget

    Time to get down and boogie if you think the Android fragmentation issue is overblown. Google has dropped its latest platform version stats and Android 2.2, aka Froyo, has managed to corner a healthy 28.7 percent of all active Googlephones (those that accessed the Market within the two weeks leading up to September 1), rapidly closing the gap on version 2.1 and nearly matching in number the handsets still stuck on the Cupcake or Donut diet. When you consider that back in May those pesky 1.5 and 1.6 versions were on a whopping 62 percent of Android mobiles, you'll probably agree that phone makers seem to be getting their act together in terms of delivering Google's latest wares in a timely fashion. Who'd have thought it, the more practice they have, the better they're getting at their jobs!



    thats some pretty fine progress IMO.

  24. KodiaK

    KodiaK TRIBE Member

    when the fuck is this coming out for my milestone?

    tired of waiting :|
  25. Bernnie Federko

    Bernnie Federko TRIBE Member

    just picked up the Desire from Telus yesterday, unlocked it, flashed the ROM to froyo, and am running on Rogers now.

    Where do I get info on common configs, apps, etc?

    nifty device and OS from the looks of it...

Share This Page