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Google I/O 2010: Android 2.2 Froyo Is Lightning Fast

Android has been around 18 months now, though it certainly feels a lot more than that. In that time, VP of engineering at Google Vic Gundotra told the audience at Google I/O 2010, Android had made it into 60 devices from a broad range of manufacturers. Of course, the key point is how many phones were actually being sold. Google’s previously shared numbers show that the company was seeing 30,000 device activations per day in late 2009. Just a couple of months later, in February 2010, the number was up to 60,000. Now Google says, 100,000 Android-powered devices are being activated every day.

Chrome V8’s JavaScript engine now powers the Android web browser

This rise in performance is mirrored by a faster web browser as well. Google was able to integrate the V8 JavaScript engine its developers built for Google Chrome into the Android web browser. V8 is one of the fastest JavaScript engines out there and Google says that it now allows JavaScript web apps to perform two-to-three times faster on Android than before.

Android 2.2 Froyo is two to five times faster than previous versions

With that, it was time to introduce the latest addition to the Android family, Android 2.2 Froyo, which was largely expected to be launched at the conference. There are a lot of things to be excited about in Android 2.2, chief among which, as early indications showed, is speed. Froyo is lightening fast thanks to a huge increase in app and browser performance.

Adobe Flash 10.1 on Android

Another announcement that surprised no one is the integration of the latest Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta. In the context of the Apple versus Adobe battle, this announcement is all the more interesting. Still, we’ll have to see how it actually handles to reach a verdict on whether Flash web content on mobile devices makes sense or not.

Android 2.2 Froyo comes packed with new stuff

There’s plenty of other cool new stuff in Android 2.2 Froyo, things like automatic app updates, moving apps to the SD cards, tethering and portable hotspot functionality (another feature eagerly anticipated) and many others. Another very interesting feature was the Cloud-to-Device Messaging API, a great tool for sending notifications and initiating events on Android devices remotely. All-in-all, Android 2.2 looks to be a very solid release.

Android browser beyond Froyo

And Google is not done yet, the web browser is central to anything that the company does, so it is looking at how to better integrate the web and web apps with the mobile device. The company demoed a couple of features that are not in Froyo but are coming further down the line that demonstrate this.