Google Officially Announces Android 2.2

It was basically a foregone conclusion that Android 2.2 would be launching this week at Google's I/O conference in California, but up until now, we only knew about select bits and pieces of the mobile OS. Today, Google revealed everything there is to know about v2.2 (code name "Froyo"), which is easily the most significant Android update to date. It's obvious that Google is playing hardball with Microsoft and Apple in the smartphone space, and for now, Android looks to be taking the lead. Of course, Apple has a chance to hit back in a few weeks at WWDC with iPhone OS 4.0, but there's hardly a chance that native tethering and mobile hotspot features will be built in. Both of those are just two of the highlights in Android 2.2.

At the event, Google proclaimed that their partners are now selling 100,000 new Android handsets per day, with over 180,000 active Android developers building a network of over 50,000 apps. Apple's App Store just soared past the 200,000 mark, but it's clear that Google's own App Market isn't hurting for variety. One of the major additions to Android 2.2 is the ability to play back Flash content. That's a show-stopper in many ways. Apple's anger towards Adobe ensures that Flash support will probably never come to iPhone OS, so anyone wishing to watch Flash content or view Flash websites on the go will now look to Android. Score one for Google.

Then there's this: Android 2.2 will reportedly have the world's fastest mobile browser, and considering just how nice Mobile Safari is, that's saying a lot. There's also a new set of APIs and services, a new compiler, a new V8 JavaScript engine and plenty of other new dev tools that make v2.2 really attractive. Plenty of other new details are listed below, and while the SDK has gone out to devs today, there's no clear indication of when a final version will be shipped to phones. Hopefully soon. It's hard knowing all of this is coming, yet being unable to touch.