Android 2.2 Update Goes Awry
Android's momentum is sputtering a bit as the messy rollout of Android 2.2, or Froyo, continues -- there's been delays, missing features, handsets left out of the update altogether and rumors of Motorola lawyering up to stop users from doing their own upgrades. Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) open source mobile platform was grabbing headlines in recent weeks as Android outsold its rival iOS from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) for the first time. The mobile Linux OS also surpassed Research In Motion's (NASDAQ: RIMM) BlackBerry OS. At the same time, next-generation smartphones such as the Samsung Epic 4G and HTC Evo 4G running the mobile OS were being hailed as the hottest handsets of the summer. The news coincided with the much-anticipated rollout of Android 2.2, a significant upgrade to the OS promising much faster performance, Flash 10.1, stronger security features, improvements to the mobile app experience with the Android Marketplace, mobile app storage on memory cards, tethering and the ability to create Wi-Fi hotspots. Smartphones slated for the update include Motorola's (NYSE: MOT) Droid carried on Verizon, as well as the HTC Evo 4G. The Droid X will be updated "late this summer," according to Motorola's official Android update schedule. Given the state of affairs with the Android 2.2 upgrade, it's not surprising some users were taking advantage of a leaked Froyo Android 2.2 ROM for the Droid X made available at several Web sites such as MyDroidWorld. However, just yesterday tech sites Engadget, MyDroidWorld and IntoMobile reported that Motorola issued cease-and-desist letters to sites offering the download.
The update to the Droid is underway, but Verizon did not specify dates for the completion of the rollout, and users are reporting that Android 2.2 does not include the tethering or the mobile Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. Verizon and Motorola did not return calls seeking comment by press time. Meanwhile, the Motorola Backflip, Cliq and Cliq XT won't even get the Android 2.1 update until the end of this year, and the Devour won't get the outdated Eclair version at all, according to Motorola's schedule. On the HTC front, the Incredible handset is also still awaiting an update to Android 2.2 and even Dell's Android tablet, the Dell Streak, is shipping with Android 1.6 with an update scheduled later in the year. The Samsung Epic 4G is shipping with Android 2.1 but will also climb to 2.2 "soon."
The Droid 2, which just went on sale, shipped with Android 2.2, and the Google-branded Nexus One, in addition to the EVO 4G, are also now running 2.2.