Google debuts Android 2.2 for mobile devices

Google has debuted its long-awaited Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system for mobile devices.

The latest iteration of the popular OS boasts a number of new features, including portable hotspot functionality (tethering), support for Adobe Flash within the Android Browser and improvements to the Market.

In addition, Froyo offers significant performance enhancements, new enterprise capabilities, a supercharged V8 Javascript engine, as well as a fresh set of APIs and services.

“The growth of the Android ecosystem continues to exceed our expectations. Every day, 100,000 new people start using Android-based handsets,” explained Google spokesperson Andy Rubin. 

“There are now more than 180,000 active Android developers who have contributed over 50,000 apps to the Android Market.”

Meanwhile, Android SDK Tech Lead Xavier Ducrohet offered an in-depth look at some of the enhancements in the latest version of the OS, including:

  • Speed: The Dalvik JIT compiler in Android 2.2 delivers between a 2-5X performance improvement in CPU-bound code vs. Android 2.1.

  • Enterprise capabilities: Google has added Exchange capabilities such as account auto-discovery and calendar sync. In addition, device policy management APIs now allow developers to write applications to control the following security features: remote wipe, minimum password and lockscreen timeout.

  • Faster, more powerful browser: The V8 JavaScript engine – which is now part of the the Android browser (in 2.2) – results in a 2-3X improvement of JavaScript performance vs. 2.1.

  • Rich set of new APIs and services: New data backup APIs allow apps to participate in data backup and restore. Apps can also utilize Android Cloud-Device Messaging to enable mobile alert, send to phone and two-way push sync functionality. 

  • Additions to Android Market: The Market currently offers Android application error reports, along with a bug reporting feature.