Google has started sending out Android 2.2, aka Froyo, to those with its Nexus One phone.
"Starting today, Nexus One users will begin to receive the Android 2.2 (codenamed Froyo) over-the-air software update on their phones," according to a Monday blog post about the Froyo update. "This update will be rolled out gradually to phones--and most users will receive the notification by the end of the week."
Froyo adds better performance; the ability to turn the phone into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot other computers can use to access the Internet; better support for Microsoft's widely used Exchange software for e-mail, calendar, and contacts; a streamlined Android Market interface. For a full list, check Google's Android 2.2 highlights page.
And in an alliance that Google and Adobe Systems both are promoting heavily, Android 2.2 supports Adobe's Flash Player 10.1. Adobe said its final release of the software would come when Froyo hit the market.
Android, mostly open-source software, competes strongly against Apple's iOS but also with a handful of other smartphone operating systems, including Research in Motion's BlackBerry OS, Palm's WebOS, Nokia's Symbian, and Microsoft's forthcoming Windows Phone 7. Apple's iOS, though, was first out of the gate for the new generation of advanced smartphone operating systems and has been leading the charge in the market, helped by the fact that it runs on iPod Touch and iPad devices as well as just phones.
Google has been racing to add features, though, and Android sales are strong, with 160,000 phones activated daily at present. A range of manufacturers, including HTC, Motorola, and Samsung, are building Android phones, and more Android devices are expected.