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Google unveils latest Android OS: Version 2.2

Consumer Reports News: May 20, 2010 03:58 PM

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Google provided details on the latest version of its Android operating system, version 2.2., codenamed Froyo, at the Google I/O (input/output) conference today in San Francisco, a convention for software developers and related professions.

Available in on the upcoming HTC Evo 4G, (Update: I'll have a review unit tomorrow) Android 2.2 will be a free upgrade to other Android phones in "the coming weeks," promising faster application and browser performance and several other improvements, including:

Hot spot. Just like the Palm Pre and Pixi, you'll be able to use your Android 2.2 phone as a wireless hot spot to give your laptop, PMP, or other device access the Internet over via the cell network.

Streaming music. You'll be able to steam non-copy-protected music on your PC directly to your phone.

Automatic app updates. Now you won't have to keep checking to see if you have the latest version of an app. Your phone will automatically keep your apps up to date.

Improved voice recognition. Version 2.2 users will be able to perform more intuitive searches by voice, such as "show me a picture of the Eiffel Tower" and even perform simultaneous translations from, say, English to French.

Support for Flash 10.1. Android phones will be able to view most Web-based videos without the aid of a separate application, such as YouTube. Other phone platforms except iPhone are expected to support Flash 10.1 as well later this year. Apple is, instead, going with another, less-used standard called HTML5.

Moveable apps. Onboard phone storage capacity will no longer be a problem because you'll be able to download and use apps to and from your phone's SD memory card, without sacrificing performance, Google officials say. And you'll be able to access the same apps and games you purchase for you phone on the Android Market for on your PC. Just log on to the Android Market from your PC's browser.

Google also announced new features for TVs, Blu-Ray players, and set-top boxes.

We'll have more after details later.—Mike Gikas

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