Android 2.2 Could Up Speed for Mobile Devices, Add Adobe Flash

An Android enthusiast site has gotten the jump on Google with the suggested release date of Android 2.2, codenamed "Froyo," and put the Google-backed mobile operating system through its paces. What the site found is a very fast new operating system sporting a version of Adobe Flash -- marking Flash's debut on the smartphone OS.

AndroidPolice.com believes Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) will push Android 2.2 out to Nexus One customers in one week, on either May 19 or 20. Officially, Google has not given a release date for the next version of the operating system.

Google did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.

The site has also been putting Android 2.2 through its paces on a Nexus One phone and was impressed with what it has found. "One of our team members has been playing with a Nexus One running Froyo for about a week now, getting more and more visibly excited every day," wrote Artem Russakovskii, the article's author and the site's editor and founder.

AndroidPolice.com ran the LINPACK benchmark on a Nexus One running Android 2.1 and then 2.2. LINPACK is the same benchmark used to test the speed of the world's fastest computers in the Top 500 supercomputer list. In this case, however, LINPACK has been ported to Android specifically to test smartphones, and while the Nexus One isn't a supercomputer in your pocket, it sure is going to get a lot faster.

On a Nexus One running version 2.1, LINPACK returned a score of about 6.5 to 7 megaflops, or millions of floating point operations per second. Android 2.2 on the same hardware came in at 37.5 megaflops, a 450 percent improvement. That's some serious software optimization.

This in turn could be one reason why it's possible for the phone to support Adobe's Flash 10.1, which Apple insisted was too inefficient to run properly on its mobile devices. The performance improvements in Android 2.2 make Flash run very well on the phone, Russakovskii wrote.

"Things are starting to finally come together. Flash and huge performance gains, all in the same release. Flash is CPU-hungry, so Android makes everything about the environment more efficient," he wrote. "Do you see it? Adobe wasn’t giving Apple what they needed, and Apple wasn’t giving Adobe, well, anything. But Google thought of the problem outside the box, like the ingenious engineers to the core that they are and made Android so much faster than it could finally run full Flash without a hitch."

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has banned developers from using Flash on the iPhone and iPad, saying it's slow, a resource hog and inefficient. Google and Adobe have begged to differ and in May teamed up to support Flash on Android.

The Nexus One is expected to get the upgrade first, potentially because the Google-branded phone remains the company's baby and the most Google-centric of Android phones, despite some waning support among partners: Verizon recently cancelled its plans for a Nexus One phone in favor of the HTC Incredible, and now Sprint has cancelled its Nexus One in favor of the HTC EVO 4G.

Flash support and speed aren't the only things coming with Froyo (short for "frozen yogurt," in keeping with Android's scheme of nicknaming releases after desserts, in ongoing alphabetical order with each version.) Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) has said its new low-power Atom Z6XX processor, codenamed "Moorestown," will gain Android support with the Froyo release.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


Flash, Google, Android, nexus one, benchmark