Google today announced the release of Android 2.2, a.k.a the deliciously code-named Froyo. And it’s fast. Blazing, actually.
The major features in this release include tethering over USB, turning the phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot, faster performance, and the ability to play Flash content. And we’re pleased to say that Android 2.2 delivers on all counts.
Over the past few days, we’ve been testing a Nexus One with Android 2.2, and put all these features through the paces. We saw some pretty impressive gains when it came to performance, and we were generally pleased with Flash 10.1 Player and using the phone as a mobile hotspot.
Read on for greater detail about all these features, plus benchmark tests and a hands-on video.
Flash 10.1 Player
We’ll go into greater detail about Flash 10.1 on the Nexus One in a separate post, but suffice it to say that, while it works well, it’s a work in progress. Sites must be optimized for playing Flash content on mobile devices, and some sites, like Hulu, won’t play nice, due to DRM restrictions. Adobe estimates that users will see about 3 hours of video playback with H.264 video, and 4 hours of endurance playing casual games.
We were able to play videos from NHL.com, Sony Pictures, YouTube, and National Geographic without a problem. For the most part, audio was synced up with video, but we noticed a little more lag over 3G than Wi-Fi.
In order to run Flash Player 10.1, your phone must have Android 2.2 installed, so owners of phones like the EVO 4G will have to wait for the OS to be updated.
Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot
After turning on the Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot feature on the Nexus One, we were able to quickly and easily connect to the phone using the LG Ally. In the Ally’s menu, the Nexus One showed up as any other Wi-Fi access point would.
Using Xtremelabs Speedtest, we saw download speeds of 1.6 Mbps over AT&T’s network, and upload speeds of 305Kbps over AT&T’s network in New York City. That’s not great, but about what we’d expect.
Even better, we were still able to receive calls on the Nexus One while it was still acting as a hotspot, unlike the Palm Pre Plus.
Of course, using the phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot will drain the battery pretty quickly. We had it activated for about 10 minutes, and saw the Nexus One’s battery level drop about 10 percent.
We ran a number of benchmark tests on the Nexus One (with Android 2.2), the Motorola Droid, LG Ally, and EVO 4G, and in most cases, the Nexus One came out on top. For those of you interested in performing these tests yourself, they’re all available in the Android Marketplace.
The first test, called FPS2D, measures the 2D performance of a phone in frames per second. The Nexus One came in at 59 fps, beating out the Ally (49fps), Motorola Droid (31 fps), and Evo 4G (30fps)
Next, we ran Linpack for Android, which measures the ability of the processor to perform calculations, in Megaflops per second. Like the previous test, a higher number is better.
The Nexus One with Android 2.2 is about 4.5 times higher than the EVO 4G, despite both phones having the same processor.
Finally, we ran the generically named Benchmark by softweg, which parses performance into several categories: 2D graphics performance, CPU performance, Memory performance, and File System performance. The most dramatic improvement we saw was in the CPU score, where the Nexus One is about three times as high as the next closest phone, the EVO 4G. However, the other tests were less conclusive: In the graphics test, the EVO 4G edged out the Nexus One, and in the Memory test, the Nexus One came in third, behind the Motorola Droid and EVO 4G.
So that’s Android 2.2: Better, faster, and more connected.