Today is a great day for Google Android fans with the launch of the Droid 2 on Verizon, major upgrade of Google Voice Search, and new Google Chome to phone service. Tomorrow will also see the pre-order launch of the Samsung Epic 4G on Sprint. Another piece of Android good news happened yesterday when HTC sent out an OTA Android 2.2 update to my Sprint HTC EVO 4G to get me back on track after I manually installed the leaked Froyo update a few days before the official OTA update was released.
The Droid 2 can be picked up today and I haven't yet received one to evaluate so I cannot offer my own perspective on the device. As a die hard Star Wars fan though, the R2-D2 version of the device may win me over. I haven't found any full reviews yet, but you can see some initial hands-on posts with the Droid 2 here:
Google is holding an event at their offices in California and one announcement was for the launch of their new Voice Actions in their Voice Search product. Instead of just using Voice Search to find things, you can now control your Android device with voice commands that include the ability to control your music (including support for streaming music applications like Pandora, Last.fm, and Slacker), surf the web, send text messages and emails, create a note for yourself, and control GPS navigation. This new capability is awesome and something that was previously only found in the T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide. The new Voice Actions and a new Google search widget require Android 2.2 and are preinstalled on the new Droid 2. If you have an Android 2.2 device, like my EVO 4G you can update the Voice Search client on your device to get these new features.
My preferred web browser is Chrome so I was pleased to also hear the news that Chrome to Phone was released with support for Android devices. After installing the extension on your computer and the application on your Android 2.2 device you can simply tap the small phone icon in the top right of your browser and have the web page you are on sent to your Android device. This looks to be extremely handy to me as you can now send pages you were looking at on your computer to your phone and continue the browsing session on the go. Google Maps support is also integrated so addresses you looked up on your desktop can be sent to Google Maps on your phone without having to get that info into Google Maps on your desktop first. Other functions include YouTube video sharing, phone number to dialer, and text copied in the browser sent to your Android clipboard.
In more software news for Android, TweetDeck for Android is now available in public beta form. I installed it on my EVO 4G and am trying it out now. TweetDeck includes support for Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz, and Foursquare in a single application with some cool user interface elements and capability. I like these types of integrated clients and plan to thoroughly test it out.
In the past, those of us who loaded ROMS on our devices manually understood that we took all the risk and had no expectations that anyone would officially help us out. Yesterday, HTC issued an OTA update for all of us EVO 4G owners who jumped the gun and installed the Android 2.2 update early. It turnes out we had a version ending in .3 while the official release that came from Sprint and HTC a few days later ended in .6. A small 8MB update appeared on my EVO 4G and brought my device back into the standard configuration so it will be updated OTA in the future again like all of those who were patient enough to wait. Thank you very much HTC, that was some excellent customer service that went above and beyond.