Sunday, August 22, 2010

Android 2.2 Froyo – First Impressions

On August 14, I finally received my over-the-air update to Android 2.2 on my Motorola Droid. Putting aside that it's been a couple of months or more since it was announced, or that it was rumored to drop weeks ago. I won't even go on about how it arrived on my phone almost two weeks after Verizon's official announcement of its release. Let's just talk about the operating system itself. My first impressions of it are not horrible, but I am a bit disappointed overall. I mean, it's a good update, but it's not worth the hype and not worth the long wait we've had to get it. Yes, it's faster and snappier for the most part. I also love that there are now five home screens instead of just three (ironically, I got the update and more home screens after installing an app called “Power Strip” which acts a bit like the Quick Launch bar in Windows, thereby eliminating the need for extra home screens on which to place shortcuts). But there's one thing I'm really disappointed about; one thing that I was looking forward to seeing with Android 2.2 Froyo, and it's missing! FLASH! Where the hell is Flash? So many websites still use Adobe Flash for animations and videos that it has been the one thing on the Droid that has been sorely lacking in terms of being able to surf the web.

Since Android 2.2's release was announced I've been anticipating being able to view websites with Flash videos or even Hulu on my Droid. Alas, I still can't. I'm not a hardcore smartphone user. I don't care about WiFi tethering and such as that. I just want the device to do what I need/want it to do. For the most part it does, but the fact that I've waited all this time for Froyo to launch, and now I'm still waiting on Adobe to release the mobile flash player is quite irritating. I mean, if they've known for all this time that Android 2.2 would support Flash 10.1, then why the hell hasn't the development team at Adobe been on top of this? (See, I'm willing spread the blame here. Google put 2.2 out weeks ago. Verizon took to long to release it via Over-The-Air updates, and Adobe has had plenty of time to develop Flash for it, and has totally dropped the ball here, in my opinion).

As for Froyo itself, I do like it. I like the new user interface; the inclusion of permanent links to the phone and web functions at the bottom of the screen are helpful. As I mentioned, I like having five home screens to put shortcuts on. And, overall, the device seems to be faster. There is no doubt in my mind that going forward, I'll continue to be an Android smartphone user every time I'm eligible for my “new every two” upgrade from Verizon.

~ JC

Post Script - August 25, 2010 -- Yesterday I discovered that, thanks to the update to Froyo, I can actually answer a phone call using the multi-function button on my Bluetooth headset. Previously, I had to answer from the phone itself. So, Bluetooth functionality was obviously improved in Android 2.2.
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