Verizon and Motorola weren’t the only companies making big announcements at the Droid X debut today. Google’s CEO and President Eric Schmidt and Vice President of Engineering Andy Rubin were both present. Following the introduction of the Droid X, Rubin officially announced the open sourcing of Anrdoid 2.2 also known as “Froyo.”
Typically, when Google drops the open source version of Android, it means a wave of upgrades to existing handsets will follow soon after.
“Today, there are 60 compatible Android devices,” Rubin said, “delivered via a global partnership network of 21 OEMs and 59 carriers in 49 countries. The volume and variety of Android devices continues to exceed even our most optimistic expectations. In some instances, Android devices are selling faster than they can be manufactured. To celebrate, we are open sourcing the new 2.2 version of Android, which we call Froyo, to our partners who manufacture Android devices around the world. Customers will enjoy great new features and improved browser performance. And developers will benefit from new tools such as Android cloud-to-device messaging (which makes it easier for mobile applications to sync data).”
Froyo delivers a decent number of upgrades and improvements, but there are ten aspects to the version that are most noteworthy. They include: Improved speed, better enterprise support, tethering, a new browser, cloud-to-device sync, SD-bootable apps, app auto-updating, flash and AIR support, music sync, and a new Web-based Android Market.
Of course, since there are two basic branches of Android -the one Google owns and the open source one- not all of these will necessarily make it to the open source version. However, Jean-Baptiste Queru pointed out in the Android Developers Blog today that the 2.2 drop opens up some libraries that were closed in older versions of Android, specifically: the recovery UI code for Dream, Sapphire and Passion, and the interface between the media framework and Qualcomm chipsets.
Furthermore, developer tools are being put directly into the open-source tree, with all work being done in the open. Queru says this includes the Eclipse plugin, the emulator, and more than a dozen other tools.