04
Jun
android froyo
Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

I’ve been using Android 2.2 (codenamed ‘Froyo’) on my Nexus One for a while now, and it’s packed with lots of additions and tweaks that make it the best version of Android to date. Although we’ve since been informed that the leaked version of Froyo is in fact a release candidate, and not a final release version, I’ve found it to be perfectly stable, and haven’t had any issues with it after constant use for the past two weeks.

 

Home Screen

The first thing you will notice when seeing Froyo for the first time is a slight tweak to the home screen. On Android 2.1, there was a grid icon at the bottom of the screen, which displayed all of your applications. This is now accompanied by dedicated phone and browser buttons, allowing you to quickly get to these functions regardless of what home screen you’re on.

Users wanting 7 home screens, similar to HTC’s Sense UI, will be disappointed, as there are still only 5 offered by default in 2.2.

 

froyo home screen

 

Widgets

In addition to the tweaked home screen, some changes have been made to the default widgets that were offered in Android 2.1.

The Google search widget now allows the user to not only search the web, but also their apps and contacts directly from the widget. When placing the widget on the home screen, you can choose to dedicate it to searching either the web, apps, contacts or all three. It’s a great addition to have, and allows you to search the market for apps without having to open the Market application first.

The Power Control widget has also been updated, albeit with only a minor change. When changing the brightness using the widget, you can now set it to automatic, as well as low, medium and high brightness. As I use automatic brightness myself, I’ve certainly found this to be a lot easier than having to root through the settings menu each time I want to change my screen brightness back to automatic if I’ve manually changed it.

Finally, the YouTube widget now shows the most viewed videos which can be tapped to view. Also, you can use the search button which takes you to the YouTube search screen, as the widget did in 2.1. The camcorder button opens the video recorder, allowing you to quickly record a video.

 

froyo widgets  froyo google search widget

 

As well as the changes made to the existing widgets, three new widgets have been added.

The first of these is the home screen tips widget, which places a little android on your home screen and does just what it says on the tin: provide six quick tips for users new to Android. The second addition is a Latitude widget, which provides information about Latitude without you having to open Maps.

The third new widget offers a shortcut to the Market, and shows a number of featured applications in the widget, which you can tap to view in the Market. Alternatively, you can tap the grey area of the widget to be taken to the home screen of the Market.

 

froyo new widgets 

 

Tethering

One of the most exciting new features in Android 2.2 is the ability to tether your phone to your computer out of the box. Until now, I’ve always used Wireless Tether for my tethering needs, but to do this you need a rooted phone. For users to be able to tether their phone without rooting or installing third party applications is a great feature, although it’s yet to be seen how carriers will react to this.

To tether your phone in Froyo, simply navigate to Settings > Wireless & networks > Tethering & portable hotspot to configure your settings. You have the choice to tether via USB or turn your phone in to a wireless hotspot, so any device with Wi-Fi can connect to your phone. If you’re a Mac user, you’ll have to use a portable wi-fi hotspot, as only Windows and Linux users can use USB tethering.

 

froyo tethering froyo tethering help

 

One concern I had over wireless tethering was security. By default, the wi-fi signal is open, meaning that anyone can connect without a passkey. You’ll want to change this before tethering to any device by tapping ‘Portable Wi-Fi hotspot settings’ and creating a WPA2 security key. This is really simple to set up, so any user will be able to do it without knowledge of wireless security protocols.

 

froyo tethering security

 

Flash Support

A feature that mobile users have been longing for since the release of the original version of Android is support for Adobe Flash. Sure enough, Froyo has provided just that, enabling Flash content to be played within the Android browser. This is still in Beta, so everything isn’t perfect as of yet, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction, and great to have if you’re without a notebook or desktop computer.

When viewing Flash content in the browser, navigation is a little sluggish, sometimes making it difficult to navigate Flash-enabled web pages. Although it’s usable, I look forward to future updates which will hopefully make the experience a more enjoyable one (besides, who doesn’t want to see England’s World Cup goals on the BBC website?).

 

snap20100604_162529

Applications & Market

A number of subtle, but great, changes have been made to the Android Market in Froyo, which makes it a lot easier to manage your applications. The one feature that I most wanted to see in 2.2 was the ability to update all of my applications in one tap, instead of having to manually upgrade each one of my many apps. Not only has this been implemented, but you also have the choice to auto-update applications too, so whenever a new version is available, it’s automatically pushed to your phone without you having to tap a single button. The application description is also split into two tabs: ‘About’ and ‘Comments’.

 

froyo android market android froyo apps2sd

 

Another great feature addition in Froyo is the ability to install applications to the SD card, a must have feature for users with hundreds of applications installed. Hopefully, we’ll see some larger games in the Market as a result of this too. It’s up to the developers to add the functionality to their applications, so hopefully most will choose to do so.

 

Camera and Gallery

An update to the Camera application in 2.2 has seen some interface tweaks implemented, making the camera easier to use and more functional. Tools have been added to the side of the screen when taking a picture, making them more accessible than before. Tapping on the icons displays a pop-out menu, allowing you to change settings such as exposure. Also, the icons rotate as you rotate the phone around, so you can always use the icons no matter how you’re holding the phone. Changes have also been made to the video camera, with controls also present on the screen whilst taking a video. Also, you can now use the flash when recording a video, so you can record in the light and dark.

 

froyo camera 

As well as the changes made to the Camera app, the 3D gallery has also been given an update. Although many of the changes in Froyo are behind the scenes, the Android development team have added some really cool eye candy the already great 3D gallery by adding a feature that allows you to peek into picture stacks with a zoom multitouch action. Admittedly, it’s not a feature that’s going to be used all the time, but it looks great and really shows off the capabilities of the Snapdragon processor in the Nexus One. I was amazed at how smooth the transitions were when I saw my stack of photos fan out on the screen. You can also change the direction of the peek if you drag your finger across the screen.

 

 froyo gallery froyo gallery peek

 

Security Options

Although it was interesting to try out the new pattern lock in Android 2, I really wanted to be able to enter a PIN to gain access to my phone again! Luckily enough, that’s exactly what Froyo allows you to do. You have the choice of entering a pattern, PIN code or password to access your phone. Being given the choice is great, but I found that entering a password on the keyboard every time I switched on the screen tiresome, so I’d recommend users to use either a pattern or PIN code.

 

froyo security pattern froyo security pin

froyo security password

 

Other Changes

More Friendly USB Connection Screen

In Android 2.1, when you connected your phone to a computer, you were prompted to mount the SD card if you wanted to transfer files via USB. By default, I’ve noticed that Froyo automatically mounts my SD card without offering a prompt, but if you want to disconnect the SD card from your computer, you can turn off USB storage from this friendly screen.

 

froyo sd mount

 

Car Home Screen

If you use Android 2.2 with a car dock, you’ll notice that Froyo comes with a new look Car Home application. Instead of the diagonal spread of icons, you’re presented with a grid of icons which allow you to access your phone, contacts, music and other features easily. When using it myself, I’ve found it a lot easier to manage. Also, if you have the Nexus One in a car dock, the main home screen will also rotate, which makes it a lot easier to see what you’re doing without reading sideways!

 

snap20100604_163019

 

With Froyo coming with so many changes, there’s bound to be more features hidden around the OS. If I’ve missed any big ones, let me know in the comments! If you’ve not used Froyo yet, hopefully you now have a better idea of the changes that have been made since Android 2.1.

John Thompson
John's been addicted to technology ever since he tinkered with his first custom built PC when he was 10 years old. He's also the proud owner of seven Amazon Kindles, but only because he destroyed the first six.

  • Henry L

    Monster of a post!

    Does the car dock change otherwise, besides the look?
    Also, you can rotate the phone right or left now and it'll change orientation - is that right?
    Thank you.

    • anakin78z

      The bluetooth connection to the dock is much more solid now, and it always seems to remember my settings now. The car home screen now has two screens, and there seem to be a few 'open slots', which look like they could hold application shortcuts, though I can not figure out how to add applications to them. I'd love to add slacker radio here, and maybe a direct navigate home shortcut.

  • BobbyPhoenix

    Yes you can rotate left or right landscape. Nice feature. It would have been great to use it upside down too. I think with the antenna on top reception would be better. I see you posted about the Youtube widget, and it's in one of your screen shots. Every time I try to use the widget I get a constant "Loading..." and it never works. Is there something I can do, or did yours work right out of the gate? Great post by the way.

    • http://androidpolice.com/author/john-thompson John Thompson

      Thanks! The widget works without any problems for me, whether it's a network issue, I don't know. I'm in the UK, so some settings may be a little different.

  • http://greensopinion.blogspot.com David Green

    Agreed that there are lots of improvements but don't recommend this leaked rom for general consumption: SSL sockets are broken, affecting apps by preventing new connections from being established with "Unable to make socket nonblocking"

  • Jonathan

    Two things Google was been talking about adding is a faster browsing experience and the JIT compiler. In the keynote speech on youtube they demo the increased browser speed with an animation of the Android swimming around the screen and they compared the results between 2.2, 2.1, and an iPAD. The JIT compiler was added to the Dalvik VM to increase app performance. Considering the capability of the Nexus One V.S. other phones like the Moto Droid I wonder how many of these features will be available in the Droid version. 2.1 isn't bad but compared to what 2.1 offers Nexus One users the Droid version isn't as exciting.

  • yuku

    You seem to forgot the Messaging (SMS) update. The loading of messages is now much faster. There is an icon indicating delivery report and also a toast. The background becomes white.

  • Sebastian_M

    In a Video of Droid running Froyo I saw that they have a bounce at the end of a list, just like the iPhone.

    Is this normal in Froyo?

  • Mauro

    Wow! This upgrade is much more than interesting and very useful, I'm so excited to have it in my Milestone.

  • http://atrix.web.id atrix

    nice, connection tethering set as default feature now. can it really share my 3,5G connection on both bluetooth and USB mode?

  • ChgoMaverick

    Great comprehensive feature descr, thanks.

    I had heard rumblings about the 2.2 default keyboard having mire features similar to the rooted default keyboard.

    Also, are you able to move current applications to sd card, or do you have to reinstall them. Like you, I have dozens installed, memory bogs a lot.

    Finally, you mentioned "by default", you can only use 5, not 7 homescreens. Is there a way to get 7 with all these cool new Widgets?

  • Alvin

    One thing Froyo missing is wifi connection to PC with adhoc wifi for sharing the wire LAN internet access. Many hotel only offer wire LAN in room.

    I do notice that the sound on speaker is much better compare to 2.1.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      What you need is Connectify. I'm actually at a hotel with LAN only right now, and it's been a life-saver.

  • Josh

    When is the update being sent out if it has where can I get it? Moto Droid

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      We don't know when the official is going to be released but the community produced the first two custom Froyo ports to Droid. Watch AndroidPolice.com for news and links.

  • Westy

    Does anyone know the name of that clock weather widget! I WANT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! HELP PLEASE!!!!!

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      That's Beautiful Widgets if I'm not mistaken. They also have a live wallpaper now.

      Edit: we've reviewed them here before.

  • Alvin

    Connectify only support Win7. However i am on WinXP. :-( ... anyone has any alternative?

  • Desire

    Does anyone know when Froyo will be available for HTC DESIRE and if it is already out, where can I get hold of it from?

    Thanx

  • Richard59

    Any Help to get my 'new' HTC Wildfire to sync with my, also new, IMac would be appreciated. I need the contacts and I calendar on my phone. I am a unless computer person, so bear that in mind if you reply.

  • Stephanie

    Question for Everyone...

    I installed the new froyo, and it said it successful installed, but everything on my phone is the same. Same homescreen (just says phone on the bottom, not the 3 different buttons to get to internet, phone, apps) And my camera has not changed over to the new. Plus more. I haven't even noticed a difference!

    What do i do?! Please help!

  • Ryan

    Wish there were a way on 2.2 to change the world internet icon to messaging icon

  • Trish Irwin

    I absolutely LOVE the new update!!!

  • JJ

    I installed the new froyo, and it said it successful installed, but everything on my phone is the same. Same homescreen (just says phone on the bottom, not the 3 different buttons to get to internet, phone, apps) And my camera has not changed over to the new. Plus more. I haven’t even noticed a difference!

    What do i do?! Please help!