News by Michael Oryl on Thursday May 20, 2010.
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This morning at Google's Google I/O conference in San Francisco, Google officially launched the Android 2.2 "Froyo" smartphone operating system update. The new version of Android, which has not been announced for any handset yet, includes a host of updated features.
Many new features concerning applications have been added that will appeal to both users and developers alike. For starters, apps can now manually or automatically be moved, securely, to an Android 2.2 phone's SD memory card. It is also possible for App data to be backed up more easily thanks to a new API that developers can elect to take advantage of.
Android 2.2 will also offer users the ability to manually update all of their currently installed applications at the push of a button in the Android Market app. Better yet, perhaps, is that when the user gives the phone permission, it will automatically download and install application updates as they become available, keeping the phone up to date with no user intervention.
Perhaps the coolest feature, however, is that users can now initiate any number of tasks from a personal computer's web browser or other application that will push a notification to their phone, causing it to do something the user desires. This means it will be possible to, for example, press a button on Google's map website that instantly that map on an Android phone's Maps app. The system would also allow new application installations to be initiated from the Android Market website on a PC, or for web pages that are being viewed on a desktop computer to be pushed to the phone's browser. Google even demonstrated a music album being bought online from a PC in this way, and the Android phone automatically downloaded it.
Google also showed some new ad format support on Android 2.2, and demonstrated a new music service that will allow users to stream DRM-free music from their home computers over the air to an Android smartphone, operating somewhat like Microsoft's Zune Pass catalog does, but on a personal scale. It seems clear that some carriers are going to take exception to the possible data loads that such a system might bring to their networks, but Google did not address that issue.
Google claims that its Android OS is supported by 21 manufacturer and 59 carriers in 48 countries, and that its Android Market now offers over 50,000 applications. Google also reported that new Android devices are being activated at a rate of over 100,000 per day.