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Need to know – Android Froyo

What makes the latest version of Google mobile OS tick? This is everything you need to know about Android 2.2, or Froyo

Yesterday, Google rolled back the screens and gave us our first proper taste of what’s coming in its new mobile OS edition – Android 2.2, codename Froyo. If you’re a bit shaky on what to expect from this new iteration of the world’s number two mobile platform, we’ve dug around to bring you this comprehensive guide.

Why Froyo?

If you were Californian, you’d know that Froyo was short for frozen yoghurt (and the pronounciation would make sense). Why not something more inclusive? Well, it had to begin with ‘F’, to follow Google’s hurricane-style alphabetised naming system, and it had to be confection-based. So far, we have Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo and forthcoming Gingerbread. And after that? We’re gunning for Humbug.

What’s new?

If you’ve been using Android 2.1, the surface changes won’t be a massive surprise. There have been some graphical tweaks (see that new homescreen widget?) but it’s not a radical departure from the UIs of previous versions. That’s a good thing. Behind the scenes, new features include USB tethering, Flash 10.1 support, over-the-air updates and app downloads and iTunes streaming.

Is it good?

You read the last bit, right? All of those are Good Things. If you need further persuasion, it’s also five times faster than version 2.1. Better still, Google says Froyo has the world’s speediest mobile browser. On your marks…

Who’s getting it?

We’ll start seeing new phones running Froyo out of the box pretty soon (nothing firmer than that, sadly). If you plumped for Google’s Nexus One over an HTC Desire, there’s good news – you’ve been promised a ride on the first-round update. Androiders running other recent handsets – including that gorgeous Samsung Galaxy S we got our mitts on – should also get the new version. Expect updates to roll out over the next few months.

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