Google Updates Android OS With Ver. 2.2

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San Francisco - The next generation of Google's Android OS will operate faster, turn Android smartphones into mobile WiFi hot spots, support Adobe Flash within the browser, and add new camera/camcorder features, the company announced here during its developers' conference here.

The

upgraded 2.2 OS

, codenamed Froyo (for frozen yogurt), also supports voice dialing over Bluetooth, supports Microsoft Exchange for enterprise users, and lets users make room for more apps by storing them on memory cards.

The OS is already available to app developers, and over-the-air updates to existing Android owners will be available in a few weeks, a spokesman said.

Besides turning the handset into a Wi-Fi hot spot that can be shared with up to eight devices, Android 2.2 phones could also be used as a wireless modem when connected to a Windows or Linux laptop via USB cable to share a wireless data connection, the company said.

New Bluetooth features include voice dialing over Bluetooth, contact sharing with other phones, and support for Bluetooth-enable car and desk docks.

Improved camera/camcorder features include portrait orientation, access to exposure data, and onscreen buttons to control zoom, flash, white balance, geo-tagging, focus and exposure.

A new picture gallery feature will create stacks of pictures. Users will use a zoom gesture to view individual pictures in the stacks.

Android-phone camcorders will now benefit from using an LED flash to take videos in low light or at night. Android 2.2 will also provide an easier way to set video quality for sharing via MMS or YouTube.

Performance-enhancing additions include faster loading of JavaScript-heavy Web pages and improved memory management to provide faster app switching and smoother performance on devices with constrained memory.

In other changes, a tips widget on the home screen helps new users configure home screens with shortcuts and widgets. The OS will also provide dedicated shortcuts on each of five home-screen panels for phone functions, Web browsing and app launching.

For enterprises, Microsoft Exchange support includes Exchange calendars, Global Address List look-up in the email application, numeric pin and alpha-numeric password options to unlock devices, and remote wipe so Exchange administrators can remotely reset a device to factory defaults to secure data if the device is lost or stolen. Autodiscovery is said to make it easier to set up and sync an Exchange account with just a user name and password.

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