Google May 20 launched Android 2.2 at its Google I/O developer conference, bringing Adobe Flash 10.1, greater performance and enterprise capabilities to a mobile operating system the company claims is now being activated on 100,000 devices per day.
Designed to add a jolt of processing speed for future smartphones, tablet computers and set-top boxes, Android 2.2 (codenamed Froyo) features a new Dalvik JIT compiler. This provides anywhere from double to 5 times the performance improvement of CPU-bound code compared to the already speedy Android 2.1.
To demonstrate the performance gains, Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering at Google, showed two Nexus One smartphones, one running Android 2.1 and the other running Android 2.2. Gundotra ran the game Replica Island on both phones and the game bogged down on the Nexus One Android 2.1.
Android has long been knocked for lacking functionality that endears it to enterprises. Research firms such as Gartner actually recommend Apple's iPhone over Android because of this dearth in features.
Android 2.2 boasts policy management APIs to enable developers to write applications that can enable remote wipe, lockscreen timeout and other features for Microsoft Exchange on Android smartphones.
Specifically, there are numeric pin or alpha-numeric password options to unlock device and Exchange administrators can enforce password policy across devices. Exchange calendars are now supported in the Calendar application. Auto-discovery lets users know only their user-name and password to set up and sync an Exchange account.
There are other features users may well get excited about, which were previously reported on. These include data tethering to let users share their data connection with their laptop and the ability to let users turn their Android 2.2 device into a WiFi hotpsot.
Gundotra showed how these capabilities work between his Nexus One and, with no small irony, and iPad. Apple and AT&T do not yet offer such capabilities.
In another demo, Gundotra showed off the capabilities Google acquired from its quiet acquisition of Simplify Media, which lets users music they own on their desktop that isn't copy-protected and stream it to an Android phone. This is the kind of music portability Android users have been craving.
Some Android stats: Gundotra claimed 59 carriers now offer more than 60 Android devices from 21 OEMs in 48 countries. Android Market meanwhile now boasts more than 50,000 apps by some 180,000 Android developers.
Also, the Android marketplace is now accessible from a browser on a PC, which allows users to buy apps on their PCs and have them sent directly to their Android devices.
Froyo, demoed here, will be released to OEMs and the open source community in the coming weeks.
Developers may read more about the new Android 2.2 APIs, including those that allow an application's last data to be restored when installed on a new or a reset device, here.