Google's mobile operating system Android is a super hot topic these days and this mobile platform suppose to overtake all smartphone market share soon. Its the best time you to know more about this platform and know whats new in the latest Android version 2.1 (Eclair) and 2.2 (Froyo). And even Android 2.3 aka Gingerbread also has annonced by Google. Most of new phone comes with Android 2.1 and some with even Android 2.2 and other offer to upgrade with.
Here I'm writing about what is Android and the new features in above new versions and than you better understand why you must have your Android phone to updated with.
The Basic of Android : Android is a mobile operating system initially developed by Android Inc., a firm purchased by Google in 2005. Android is based upon a modified version of the Linux kernel. Google and other members of the Open Handset Alliance collaborated to develop and release Android to the world. The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is tasked with the maintenance and further development of Android. Unit sales for Android OS smartphones ranked first among all smartphone OS handsets sold in the U.S. in the second and third quarters of 2010, with a third quarter market share of 43.6%. On 28 August 2008 Google launched online app store Android Market. There are currently over 100,000 apps available for Android.
The Android distribution announced on 5 November 2007 with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 78 hardware, software, and telecom companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices.
~On 30 April 2009, the official 1.5 codename Cupcake update for Android released.
~On 15 September 2009, the 1.6 codename Donut SDK was released.
~On 26 October 2009, the 2.0 codename Eclair SDK was released.
~The 2.0.1 SDK was released on 3 December 2009.
~The 2.1 SDK was released on 12 January 2010.
~On 20 May 2010, the 2.2 codename Froyo - Frozen Yogurt, SDK was released.
~3.0 codename Honeycomb Scheduled for early 2011 launch.
~A future version 4.0 codename Ice Cream supposed mid 2011 launch.
New and Improvemed features in Upcoming Android 2.3 (Gingerbread):
WebM video playback Support.
Support for WebP image files.
Support for Google TV.
Bluetooth voice commands.
Support for Near Field Communication.
Unconfirmed new features.
Improved copy–paste functionalities.
Improved social networking features.
Broader video codec support.
Android Market music store.
Media streaming from PC library.
Full Revamped UI.
Support for bigger screens with up to Wide XGA (1366×768) resolution.
New 3D Games support including new Marketplace area for gaming.
Use of mksh for /system/bin/sh.
Support for video calls.
New Features and Improvements in Android 2.2 (Froyo):
New Home screen tips widget assists new users on how to configure the home screen with shortcuts and widgets and how to make use of multiple home screens.
The Phone, applications Launcher, and Browser now have dedicated shortcuts on the Home screen, making it easy to access them from any of the 5 home screen panels.
Improved security with the addition of numeric pin or alpha-numeric password options to unlock device. Exchange administrators can enforce password policy across devices.
Remote wipe: Exchange administrators can remotely reset the device to factory defaults to secure data in case device is lost or stolen.
Exchange Calendars are now supported in the Calendar application.
Auto-discovery: you just need to know your user-name and password to easily set up and sync an Exchange account (available for Exchange 2007 and higher).
Global Address Lists look-up is now available in the Email application, enabling users to auto-complete recipient names from the directory.
Camera and Gallery:
Gallery allows you to peek into picture stacks using a zoom gesture.
Camera onscreen buttons provide easy access to a new UI for controling zoom, flash, white balance, geo-tagging, focus and exposure. Camcorder also provides an easy way to set video size/quality for MMS and YouTube.
With the LED flash now enabled for the Camcorder, videos can be shot at night or in low light settings.
More Settings in Camera app; Focus Mode, Store location in photo metadata, White Balance options, toggle Flash, Zoom options. For Video; Color effects (Mono, Sepia, Negative, Posterize, etc), White Balance, toggle Flash, toggle Video Quality also a custom setting for high quality for YouTube capped at 10 minutes.
Wi-Fi Tethering and Portable Hotspot:
Certain devices like the Nexus One can be turned into a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that can be shared with up to 8 devices.
You can use your Android-powered phone as a 3G connection for a Windows or Linux laptop by connecting their phone to the computer with a USB cable. The connection is then shared between the two devices.
Multiple keyboard languages:
Multi-lingual users can add multiple languages to the keyboard and switch between multiple Latin-based input languages by swiping across the space bar. This changes the keys as well as the auto-suggest dictionary.
Dalvik Performance Boost: 2x-5x performance speedup for CPU-heavy code over Android 2.1 with Dalvik JIT.
The graph to the right shows the performance speedup from Android 2.1 to Android 2.2 using various benchmark tests. For example, LinPack is now more than 5 times faster.
Kernel Memory Management Boost: Improved memory reclaim by up to 20x, which results in faster app switching and smoother performance on memory-constrained devices.
No Flash initially installed however you download it from the Android Market.
Bluetooth Voice Dialing for hands-free calling while driving
Cloud to Device Messaging which allows you to send in the near future download Android Apps from the new Android Market; plus send Google Maps, YouTube videos, Webpage links, phone numbers, and text directly to Android Phones
Updated Google Search bar to include dropdown for All, Web, Apps or Contacts search. Plus choose which items are searchable… not just those previously mentioned yet specific apps; Messaging, Twitter, Music, etc.
Yes the is a “Move App to SD Card” feature, but developers have to update and enable this option for their apps to be installed to SD Card.
System Settings Improved:
Phone and Browser quick launch are along side the app launcher.
Personalized search results saved to your Gmail profile.
Can allow offensive words in voice recognition settings.
Edge/3G: enable/disable data access over Mobile network.
Battery: sound when battery is low.
Multi-language stock keyboard.
Core Apps: Gmail, Contacts, Messaging, Facebook, Market, Talk, Car Home
Updated Market with auto-update settings, update all apps feature, and updated layout.
Updated Gmail app include Previous/Next buttons when reading emails. Jump between accounts by tapping the email address in header versus pressing Menu button then tap Accounts. You can select/copy text from email, colored labels. Now Android Apps (the APK files) can be installed from email attachment.
Contacts with multiple similar calls grouped together which can be toggled to show more detail. Option to sort by last name, display last name first.
New Features and Improvements in Android 2.1 (Eclair):
Live Interactive wallpapers:
The interactive backgrounds move in different ways: Some shift and swirl as you navigate around your home screens; others generate visualizations based upon music or finger-taps. It make Android devices look prettier. Animated wallpapers are onboard, and if you fancy it, you can interact with them too. For example, if you have an animated wallpaper featuring water, you can press the screen and ripples will appear.
Additional Home Screens:
Compared to the three home screens found by default in Android 2.0 (and the slightly updated Android 2.0.1), the 2.1 release of Android gives you five home screens to fill with shortcuts and widgets as you wish.
It means you can cram in more apps from the rapidly increasing selection on the Android Market, and of course shortcuts and Widgets. Although customised OS Android devices (such as the Milestone, T-Mobile Pulse, HTC Magic) did previously have more than three homescreens, they're now there from the off!
Updated Home Screen Navigation:
Along with the added home screens comes a thumbnail-based navigation system that allows you to quickly jump to any screen. You can still swipe left or right normally to move through the various screens, but the thumbnail system gives you the option to also see small icons of all five screens and tap directly on any one to jump straight to it.
Voice Controls for All Field:
Android 2.1 provides voice recognition for all text fields. Being able to control your phone via voice may not be at the top of everyone's list of features. Not only can you demand it takes you somewhere and be presented with turn-by-turn voice directions, but you can also send Tweets, SMS messages and emails just by telling your phone what you want to say. You can do everything from sending texts to writing e-mails by simply speaking the words into your phone.
The Android 2.1 has same black-colored system widgets introduced in Android 2.0.1. Google has also added a widget that displays the latest news stories and weather on your home screen, then offers multiple tabs of news and weather information when opened in its full size.
The Google Earth app for Android will launch hand in hand with 2.1, and it does look mighty impressive from over here. It's pretty similar, well, to Google Earth on iPhone, but there's a new mode where you can apparently fly through the air like a bird. Nice.
The phonebook on Android 2.1 devices will automatically pull in contacts from multiple sources including Facebook, and although it was a feature found on many customised UIs such as Motorola's MotoBLUR, having it natively installed makes it much smoother.
Android 2.1 will bring with it the ability to have more than one Gmail account working from the same inbox. This means if you have two Gmail accounts, you can get them both feeding one inbox, rather than having to set up separate accounts.
The new weather app as featured on Android 2.1 will include dynamic weather updates that use GPS to give minute-by-minute accounts of the temperature, humidity and weather conditions in your current location.
3D Photo Gallery:
The new 3D photo gallery feature introduced in Android 2.1. Google developed this system with Cooliris. This shows all of your images in a slick three dimensional view. Albums are clustered by time, date and location too, so your gallery will be perfectly ordered. It also integrates two-way sync with online photo albums stored at Picasa.
New App Launcher:
Android's App Launcher has been revamped so you no longer have to drag and pull to get to the app menu. Simply tap a button and everything smoothly zooms into place. Compared to the drawer-like look in previous versions, where the app list would slide up from the bottom of the screen, the 2.1 app launcher flies the icons in from the corners of the screen while fading in a dark background behind them. It then uses a rolling effect as you scroll down through the list.