Hands-on with Android 2.2 Froyo and Adobe Flash Player 10.1

Google announced the Android 2.2 Froyo update last week and just a few days later it started rolling out for Nexus One device. Adobe's latest Flash Player 10.1 works on 2.2 and as you can see in my video it performs quite well.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

I mentioned that Google surprised us all and started rolling out the Android 2.2 Froyo (frozen yogurt) update out this weekend and then there was some talk that this was only for some press review units. Anyway, it was only a matter of time before the awesome enthusiastic Android developers figured out how to get a hold of the update file and make it available for anyone willing to perform a manual update on their Nexus One. Since I have been switching ROMS it was a very easy process to get the update on my Nexus One. I posted a few screenshots in this image gallery and shot the video below of Android 2.2 in use. I also went and loaded up the new Adobe Flash Player 10.1 and have to say I am quite impressed with both of these updates.

Image Gallery: Check out screenshots of Google Android 2.2 on the Google Nexus One.
Image Gallery: New Android Home screen buttons
Image Gallery: WiFi Hotspot functionality

Where do I get it and what can I expect?

I take no responsibility and cannot recommend you perform this update on your own, but honestly it is coming eventually and I doubt there is too much to worry about if you follow the processes exactly. I recommend reading Paul's post on MoDaCo for specific instructions on installing the update. I actually downloaded the update while riding as a passenger in my car and used Astro File Manager to change the name and extension and perform the update.

After you update you can expect the following improvements:

  • General speed increases
  • Improved Exchange support (primarily for Calendar)
  • USB and WiFi tethering/mobile hotspot
  • Faster web browser with support for the camera, orientation switching, and geolocation
  • Support for Adobe Flash and Air
  • Improved Android Marketplace
  • Improved Search button function with support to search the Marketplace too
  • Automatic and one-button update of apps from Marketplace (AMEN!)
  • Support for SD card app installation (app must support first)

There are some other improvements in the new update that I haven't seen specifically listed and I found the following that are quite important to me:

  • Ability to go to previous or next email in Gmail app using new bottom arrows
  • New three button center Home screen layout (Phone, Apps, Browser)
  • Preinstalled Twitter and Google Goggles
  • Quick Gmail account switcher in top right corner of Gmail
  • New task switcher supporting more running apps when you press and hold the Home button

Experiences with Android 2.2 (Froyo)

I was running the HTC Desire ROM with HTC Sense on it before making the jump back to a Google Experience with Froyo and thanks to TouchDown providing a much better Exchange experience than anything else on Android I think I will be pleased with this plain Google OS. My device flies and I have yet to see a Force Close error appear on my Nexus One. I am pleased to have full Bluetooth back and am really enjoying some of those small improvements that turn into major user experience improvements, primarily the email previous/next arrows, WiFi Hotspot capability, and one-button application updates. I look forward to further developer support of applications stored on the SD card so I won't run into low memory errors in the future.

Experiences with Adobe Flash

There is quite a bit of debate going on over Adobe Flash and HTML5, but end users just want a solution that works are most could care less which standard(s) are used. I loaded up the public beta of the Adobe Flash Player 10.1 software as soon as my Nexus One was upgraded to Android 2.2 and honestly had pretty low expectations for the player. The Nexus One was released back in January and even though it has hardware that is still at the high end I wasn't sure it would run Flash satisfactorily. The first site I visited was PopCap Games since I know there have several Flash games and figured there was no way they were going to work. Plants vs Zombies started up, but then stalled out while Zuma, Bejeweled, xx, and others played just fine (as showed in my video). I then went to the NBC site and watched Parks and Rec, which played well for several minutes before the voice got out of sync with the video. A site that has not worked on ANY mobile device before that has my wife hooked on the games is Webkinz so to test the limits I tried visiting this site from the Google Nexus One. I was able to load it and login and amazingly the site actually works. I was able to play some games, but on some the controls are not able to be manipulated with the Nexus One touchscreen. I am just blown away that this pop-up screen Flash heavy site even works as well as it does on a mobile phone.

I performed a Google search and found a link to the Top 10 best Flash websites of 2010 so I could try them out on the Nexus One. A couple worked fine, but most struggled or were not optimized for the mobile device. Engadget posted a video comparison of Flash on the Nexus One and Flash Lite on the HTC Desire and as you can see Flash is looking good on the Nexus One and Froyo.

Flash doesn't concern me too much personally since I just avoid sites with Flash on my mobile phone. However, finding that PopCap Games plays well is a bonus and I will probably be using Flash now more than I would have if it wasn't supported.

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