Vodafone set to push Android 2.2 out to Nexus Ones

The operator has said that it will start a phased over-the-air rollout of the Android OS, also known as Froyo, to the Google handset in the coming week

Vodafone has announced that it will begin sending out an Android 2.2 operating system update for Nexus One handsets within the next seven days.

The rollout will be a phased operation beginning "over the course of the next week", the mobile operator said in a statement on Thursday. In addition, it is distributing the software via an over-the-air (OTA) update rather than asking owners to carry out a manual download and installation.

Android 2.2, also known as Froyo, includes a number of new features, such as Wi-Fi hotspot functionality, which provides an internet connection for up to eight other devices. It also promises improved performance overall, better responsiveness and strengthened security provided by a remote-wipe function for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync users.

Froyo packs in new usability features such as the addition of dedicated phone, launcher and browser shortcuts on the desktop, support for Exchange calendars and voice dialling over Bluetooth. It also allows owners to install apps to an external SD card, which significantly increases the number of apps that can be added at any one time.

Vodafone has made a couple of tweaks to basic Android 2.2 build. It has removed the Amazon MP3 and Google Goggles apps, though both can still be downloaded free of charge from the Android Market. Wireless hotspot functionality is also set to 'open' by default, which the company recommends changing for security reasons.

Non-operator bound Nexus One owners have been able to download the newest version of the Google operating system since 28 June, but operator-specific versions typically take longer to filter out to consumers. Google has decided to stop selling its handset through its own online store and to concentrate on selling via operators instead.

Other Android handsets, such as the HTC Desire and Samsung Galaxy S, are still running on the Eclair (2.1) version of the OS. However, a Vodafone spokesperson told ZDNet UK that it will begin testing and subsequently rolling out the Froyo update for devices other than Nexus One as soon as it receives optimised versions of the OS from the manufacturers.