Is Froyo the answer to Android’s Prayers?

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There have been many rumors floating around about the new version of the Android Operating System (OS) called Froyo or Android 2.2.  It’s been heavily tuned, tweaked and generally optimized to make it faster, smaller and overall better (sounds like the Six Million Dollar Man).  Does this mean that a heavily optimized, smaller, and faster Android can be used on older devices?  We’d like to hope so, but probably not.

Quick rant: We already know that technically it can be done  as Cyanogen has proven that even 2.1 can be modified to run on older devices. this does lead me to wonder at least, if Cyanogen & co can do it, why can’t Google?

There are Android devices available from almost all the major players and each one appears to be running a different version of the Android OS.  Additionally, some companies are taking advantage of the ability to customize the UI as to almost make it unrecognizable from the standard interface.  Many of these devices have been confirmed or rumored to be getting their OS upgraded, and a few that have been confirmed will not be getting the upgrade.  So how does this affect us?

With the many different versions comes the issue of compatibility and this is where the Android devices become fragmented.  This is one advantage Apple has with the iPhone over the Android manufacturers, It’s known hardware that they have much more control over. The ability to control hardware is good, though as demonstrated by the popularity of mods out in the community, variety is still highly appealing.  Let’s hope that Google and the device manufacturers are working to make this new smaller, sleeker and faster Android OS easier to roll back onto older devices, as another version with specific features for developers to make use of will only taint the already heavily fragmented Android market even more.

Every OS has issues and some of these issues are caused by the invention of faster hardware.  As faster and faster hardware is released, it becomes less of a concern to optimize the software so the OS’s become bloated and less efficient.  Look what happened with Microsoft Windows! We’ve already seen faster processors appearing with each new iteration of the hardware, let’s just hope that this doesn’t make the developers lazy.

From the news at Google I/O 2010, it sounds like this has NOT happened with the Android OS.  AndroidPolice have reported on some of the existing rumors floating around about Froyo and it sounds like optimization has been the key driver.  Let’s hope this is true.

Two major improvements in Froyo are reported as:

JIT (Just In Time Compilation)

JIT has been previously reported to provide a significant speed increase over non-JIT Android.  It was reported to give a 450% speed increase over Android 2.1 on the Nexus One.

Duplicate XML file writing

Duplicate XML file writing has been found to be a cause of slow boot up in Android and has been heavily reduced in Froyo.

There are many other reported enhancements in Froyo that will make our devices even faster and provide more and more functionality, I just hope this won’t make another slice of pie to deal with and fragment the market even further.

About the Author

Simon Walker
I was an IT consultant for 20 years and ran my own web design and development company for an additional 3 years. I have been involved with technology from birth. OK, that maybe an exaggeration, but it sure is a long time. I'm also an avid Home Theater geek and self appointed installer for friends and relatives. My first serious modding of Smart-Phones started with my T-Mobile WING and now Android devices. I'm also a bit of a photographer, although Android has kind of taken over my life and photography has taken a back seat.

  • http://shrineofthesilvermonkey.tumblr.com ninjasteeze

    I can’t wait for the news from io. Only a few hours left. Hope the developers can squeeze froyo onto the g1/mytouch 3G! Patiently waiting. =]

  • Richard

    Cyanogen and others have done a fantastic job with the G1/MT3G versions of Android 2.1, but you can really tell that 2.x was meant to run on systems with 256M+ of RAM (Droid, N1, etc). With only 96M to play with, it starts off fast then chugs as your “normal” apps get all going at once. I’m still running 1.6 because of this issue (30 seconds to start maps? almost a minute to get to navigation? ugh) so I’m hopeful that some of the 2.2 optimization solve these problems.

    I’ll be on my MT3G for a bit longer until my contract runs out, so I love seeing people squeeze every little drop of performance out of this phone.

  • renn9420

    I love my G1 and hope to see the 2.2 come to it but all in all more internal Mb’s are probably what’s needed. O’well almost time for a phone upgrade. Running Cyanogen 4.2.15.1 w/ramhack Enoch theme and Cyanogen 5.0.7t5 thanks to Amon Ra recovery v1.7.0 (SwitchROM) both with the latest Anderweb launchers, Radio: 2.22.23.02 SPL: Haykuro Death 1.33.2005 and I would like to thank all developers good or bad who push the envelope of are systems and think outside the box. Thank you very much!

  • Eric

    Fragmentation is really only an issue to the app developers as they have to develop apps that work across the spectrum. Froyo will be the sixth iteration of Android in about 18 months. The iPhone pumps out a new version once a year and structurally not that much changes. Cutting down on the fragmentation will only push us closer to an iPhone like culture and I’m pretty sure that goes against what most of us love about Android. Add to that the fact that the UI customization allows hardware companies to differentiate themselves. Without that we get less innovation not more.

  • Alton

    Google/Android has no obligation to update such outdated devices like the G1. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Sometimes you have to move on. I, however, will be lapping up my cake with a little frozen yogurt while sporting my baddass NexusOne!

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