The next version of Google's mobile operating system has just been unveiled at the Google I/O developer conference. Android OS 2.2 (code named "Froyo") will include a number of new features, but won't significantly change the platform.
One of the more notable new features is tethering and portable hotspot software. This will allow smartphones to share their wireless Internet connections with other computers, such as laptops, which includes tethering to a single PC over USB or Bluetooth, or functioning as a Wi-Fi router to share a connection with multiple devices, like tablets, portable gaming consoles, and laptops.
The web browser in Android OS 2.2 will include support for Adobe Flash, which will allow smartphones running this new operating system to correctly view websites that use Flash for navigation, games, and showing video.
The next version of Google's operating system will include a selection of smaller improvements.
It will run third-party software significantly faster thanks to a a JIT (just in time) application compiler. The feature was demoed during the announcement of this new OS at the Google I/O conference.
Users will be given the option to install applications to a removable memory card. Previously all software had to be stored on the device, so this change will bring more room to hold apps.
In addition, users will be able to set their smartphones to automatically install new versions of third-party applications as they are released.
Business users who connect to an Microsoft Exchange Server will have access to the Global Address Book.
Although Android OS 2.2 was unveiled today, but it's unclear when it will actually be available for installation on devices.
Google said it will be given to device makers "in the coming weeks." These companies will then have to modify for each smartphone model, a process that can take weeks or months.
Attendees at the Google I/O conference were also given a sneak peek at some features that will be available in the future.
Google is working on a desktop client that will allow users to stream all the music stored on their home PC to their Android OS smartphone.
The company is also developing a Web version of the Android Market that will allow users to push apps directly to their mobile device.
The features are likely to show up in the next version of the Android OS, which Google says is coming in the fourth quarter of this year.
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