The Android 2.2 update ("Froyo") arrived on my first-generation Droid yesterday evening. Here's my first impressions:
It's more responsive
Froyo is certainly smoother than Android 2.1. Menus pop. The subtle stuttering that used to occur as I swiped through pages appears to be gone. Is it faster? Sure seems like it. But the real improvement is the overall feel. That nagging "Android friction" is almost imperceptible. In some ways Froyo reminds me of the Snow Leopard update on Mac OS: new software making older hardware feel faster.
Tethering is available, sort of
Recent reports said Verizon was disabling Froyo's tethering function on the Droid 1.0. That's not quite right. Built-in tethering is available, but it only work with Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Linux. I don't run those systems so I can't vouch for the functionality. However, Apple users do have access to an excellent third-party tethering tooly: PdaNet. Even if internal tethering was available on the Mac side, I'd still use PdaNet. It's that good.
One related and significant complaint: My biggest Froyo disappointment lies not with Android but with Verizon. For my purposes, Froyo's killer app is the built-in hotspot -- or it would be if I could use the thing. I've got the Wi-Fi iPad and I carry my Droid with me everywhere, so ... you can see where this is going. But Verizon -- presumably for data reasons or revenue reasons or sheer cheekiness -- has nuked the Wi-Fi hotspot from Droid 1.0. Droid 2 owners can get Froyo's hotspot functionality for an extra $20 per month. There's also the root route, which now looks a lot more enticing.
Voice Actions are unreal
Google's Voice Actions app, which only works on Froyo, is revolutionary. The app looks simple. Heck, it is simple. But the sheer amount of effort behind Voice Actions is astounding. This sort of game-changing function is why Google chases and collects data.
Voice Actions represents the first time I've encountered a voice command tool that doesn't require physical contortions or perfect diction. I'm convinced it's the first step toward the keyboard becoming quaint:
Hallelujah, there's an "Update All" button
App updates are supposed to be a fun thing. It's like getting a shiny new toy. But until Froyo, updating Android apps was a laborious process that required manual, one-by-one installations. Click, wait, approve, download ... repeat.
The introduction of the "Update All" button fixes that. Now, a single press activates batch updates. I'll gladly reclaim those few monthly minutes of unnecessary effort.
Aside: Whether it's the Update All button or Apple finally introducing copy and paste on the iPhone, I'm struck by my own odd, happy reaction to receiving functions that should have been baked in from the start. Am I really that beaten down? It would appear so ...
That's what I've observed thus far. What's your take? Please weigh in through the comments.
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