Froyo drinks Eclair’s Android milkshake

Android 2.2 on its way to becoming dominant platform

Ah, how fast time flies in the brave new world of Google's Android. Only a few weeks ago, a lucky few of us rejoiced as we started playing with "Froyo," the much-hyped version 2.2 of the Android mobile phone operating system, which replaced 2.1, code-named "Éclair."

At the beginning of August, only 4.5% of Android phones were running Froyo, while nearly 60% ran 2.1, with the remainder on 1.5 or 1.6.

Android 2.2 on Motorola Droid: First impressions of Froyo

Froyo users are no longer the lucky few (although some might quibble on the word "lucky" because of battery life problems that may have been caused by the OS update).  According to Google's latest numbers, Android 2.2 is now on 28.7% of phones, a whopping 6X increase. Android 2.1 usage is down to 41.7%, meaning that no single version of the Android operating system is on a majority of phones. 

Froyo was highly anticipated enough that Android geeks like myself couldn't wait for the official rollout, and decided to upgrade our phones with leaked copies of the new operating system version.

Android didn't get Flash support quite right on the first 2.2 release for the Motorola Droid, leading to an even newer version of 2.2 which made Adobe Flash Player 10.1 available through the Android Market.

Finally, the major wireless networks started pushing Android 2.2 out to a wider range of phones, including the HTC Droid Incredible and the HTC Evo 4G, accounting for the big jump in usage.

If you think the improvements in Android 2.2 would only be noticed by tech geeks, let me recount the experiences of my mother, who suffers from a mild case of technophobia but nonetheless owns a Droid Incredible. After receiving the 2.2 update, she sent me an email with the subject line "Holy cow!!!" reporting a major increase in speed, particularly when using Google search, as well as a stronger phone signal in Maine. (She's also amazed by the phone's flashlight and still does a lot of accidental dialing, a problem that has not been solved by 2.2).

While 2.2 isn't the most widely used version of the Android OS just yet, I'd expect it to take that title well before the end of this calendar year.

Then we can start thinking more about Android 3.0, code-named "Gingerbread," which figures to be an even bigger update than Froyo and reportedly could arrive in mid-October. Based on the Froyo rollout, it could take several months for all the major Android phones to receive the 3.0 update. 

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter. 

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