All about the Droid and Froyo


Android 2.2 (FroYo) build FRG22D.

Is it worth losing the Root capabilities in exchange for Flash abilites?

Ok, to clarify versions of FroYo for those of you who may not know, I have been using Android 2.2 (the first, non-flash capable version for Droid, FRG01B) for about a month now, to be exact.

Last week,  my phone received the noticement of the 2nd OTA update, (FRG22D) this one bearing the 1.6mb download that contained this ability to make your phone natively capable of using Flash 10.1. I avoided for several days downloading the update, as I knew that I would be losing my freshly rooted access capabilities, having just recently purchased Easyroot a few days before hand, as to not have to jump through the hoops of manually rooting again, and also to see what all the hoopla was about when concerning “Cheat Roots”.

Now taking Easyroot into consideration, I realize its not a huge deal, especially since this is just a “Cheat Root“, and was meant solely to “get me by” til I had the time to sit and do it the right way. That being said, when I decided to update,  I should have taken the time to just run a simple back-up of the system using Nandroid, but I was impatient as usual, and just wanted to check out the Flash 10.1 update, and see if it delivered on what my expectations were.

FRG22D’s Job

With all performance and hardware issues being mostly addressed in the initial 2.1-2.2 update, there is really nothing for FRG22D to do but hand out the ability to view and use Flash content, and fix some obscure “security issues”. (Making it so your phones not rooted anymore for instance.)

As far as performance and built in features, you will receive NO advantage with the FRG22D update, but you do gain the ability to surf almost any website that is in existence! (At least thats the idea…)

After install of the update, (1.6 mb DL, so a rather quick and painless update) I proceeded to download the Flash 10.1 application from the market, along with the Adobe Flash Showcase that is present for use mainly in first time experience guidance of featured flash sites and applications. I spent the next few hours playing with the newly enabled Droid, perusing the available showcase and then eventually wondering off to have a go at the uncharted territory. Over the next few days as I have continued its use and testing,  I have come to a decision on the performance and quality of my personal Flash experience on a Motorola Droid, and will say right now that its exciting to see where we are going with Mobile Flash, but am not exactly wowed by the general experience, at least not right now. I see huge amounts of potential, and as we venture into new territory, it will be exciting to see the change and the experience become a better molded example of what is possible using Flash and mobile device mate ups.

FLASH 10.1 – The Breakdown

Initial Impressions

and Content Specific Performance Issues

Well, I can definitely say it was not worth losing any root over, phone dependent feature and performance wise, which I already knew and expected, bu am hoping to be wowed enough with the Flash capability to put that behind me.

While having Flash is great, and I was able to play some interesting Flash games and puzzles, peruse videos on CNN, and take a look at Comedy Central’s upcoming lineup, I stumbled into some issues pretty fast. It’s performance is rather slow a large amount, with jerky interactions, the UI experience suffers at tumes. Even with great connectivity (Over 3g) , running about 1.6 mbps down, I am having a hard time getting any kind of completely “smooth” experience in playback quality and UI feedback. Now, I have realized that a lot has to do with the actual content provider/website you are visiting, and how that information is being treated on the provider end, such as whether content has been mobile optimized, and whether your phone actually has the processor power to run some of these complex sites/applications.

When I am located at a hot-spot that has relatively good wi-fi (I like to speed test before I do any reviewing, and have consistently been getting 1.5 mbps on 3G, and 3.5-4.0 mbps on wi-fi), than my little phone can often impress, buta lot is still just dependent how how “Mobile-Flash” ready some of the sites are. Some of the sites visited were obviously not ready for a mobile friendly flash experience, and the Droid seemed to handle these at a much slower rate, at times pausing for minutes on end with seemingly nothing happening, with no apparent processing happening at all, at least visually. Either backing up or closing the browser would end the process, but I was still fighting frustration over some basics not working, with more than a few issues taking place on the Adobe Flash Showcases.

Video quality was good, and at times excellent, and its very nice to be able to tap a player or interaction window and have it expand to full screen, giving ability to control player/window just as you would with a built in application. My biggest issue was a large majority of time there was a heavy amount of delay between when UI was interacted with, and the following lag time that player/window would respond. This led to some frustration, not being able to really fast forward very succesfully, or to just pause or jump to next video, and at one point not being able to grab boxes and lift them in time.  Let me assure the readers that this was not the case on EVERYexperience by far, but did seem to be a common issue that reared its head more often that I really liked.

*I am still trying to figure out if this is a combination of processor/memory/data or if it is a problem more relevant to just data stream, or vice versa. I am still working on figuring that one out, and will do some more in depth tests tomorrow.

While these apparent freezes and lags did happen often at times (Especially on Mobile Broadband) I was impressed by the ability to experience videos and Flash based applications in a new light, and was happy to find that a large majority of the time when it came to smaller applications with less of a memory footstep, the performance was often great to impressive.  I was able to enjoy some gaming and video experiences in a different light, and the entertainment factor is definitely there. I can’t deny that was not a blast to be able to surf some of my old time favorite flash based gaming sites and go back to pounding down popping out moles, or playing one of my favorite puzzle games, right from the browser.  I am looking forward to the development of more work related applications, built in Flash specifically for mobile use.

I can see how this is going to be a great tool to have in the near future, and it willvbe interesting to see what the next generation of mobile browsers, mated with the upcoming high performance hardware of upcoming handsets, are able do with the availability and capabilities of this technology. There are some really interesting doors that could possibly be opened in the future and I am excited to see that we will most likely not be so application dependent, and will be able to perform daily tasks and chores on a hopefully more “cloud based” experience. The ability to perform these tasks without having to have “an app for that”, at least in some small way for the forseeable future, will be exciting and will give programmers and devs a new playground to get dirty in. (Lists, cloud based calendars and agenda experiences, and even mobile gaming, etc).

A Step Forward

but whats next?

Well, its a step in the right direction. Its obvious that even with hiccups and bumps, the Android OS build is now capable of achieving full internet browsing rights and capabilities. I really do think its going to be interesting to see the Flash platform developed more, and tuned more into mobile applications, and what will transpire once the devices and the content are streamlined to a better and more rewarding user experience.

I find it hard to believe that Steve Job’s statement that Flash was dead will hold any merit, and Flash will continue to power the web and its applications for awhile to come.

Now, if your rooted and don’t want to have to do it again, or don’t know HOW to root manually, I would recommend sticking with your FRG01B Build if you still have it.  Its not worth it at least until someone releases an “easy root” for build FRG22D of FroYo for Droid.

There are several links that are going to be included at the bottom of this post containing helpful information on Rooting, hacking, and in general, making your android device function how you want it to function.

Moving on…

A few things I miss about the rooted Droid:

I first rooted my Droid 1 about a month after I got the phone, which was just a matter of weeks after it came out. I have since then continually kept my Android phones for the most part, in a rooted state. I am by no means a pro, have made mistakes, and I have more in common with the tech savvy end-user crowd then the hardcore geek squad.

After my first Root attempt / success (6 hours in a hotel room, in Los Angeles, shaking because my hands were so tired, ready to kill this one stupid fly that would not leave me alone!)

Well, at that point I also installed my first ROM, and so I was attacking two birds with one stone, and it was little bit much to chew off for a non-programming, semi-phone savvy person like me. It had been awhile since I had attempted any type of phone modding (Back since the first HTC Windows phones, and the Nokias before) so I was careful to pay extra attention to everything I did, and to always make sure I had a back-up ready to restore if ANYTHING went wrong.

Well, after the successful Root and then ROM install, I was elated to have finally opened up a new world on my Android device. Here are a few of my MAIN things I get the most use out of using a rooted device.

1. Wi-fi hot-spot (Essentially “Mi-Fi”) This comes in handy, esp. when visiting a good friend of mine who doesn’t have internet at his house. I could leave my device near the middle of the room, and he was able to access the hot spot from anywhere in the house. Really handy. When tethering to my own computer, I would typically stay with the good old USB tether, right through PDAnet… (Worth a look here)

2. Over-Clocking Capability. I am not into tweaking the CPU up real high on android devices, but love to give it an extra little bump of power at times. This can be nice, as your general performance will be increased (Frame rate, GPS lag, Application performance, Web browsing, etc)  Be warned, this does often have some side effects. Broken Wi-fi has been reported and a various list of other small things. Keep in mind to always ALWAYS back up before attempting more in-depth tweaking such as OC’ing. I experienced a good amount of heat gain when clocking to just 800mhz, and it of course grew even hotter the two days I brought it up to a steady 1.2 ghz.  Like I said earlier, just be careful, know what your doing, and don’t brick your phone.  Following are some quick links I through up that should be at the least interesting to read, if not take a crack at some of them, depending on who you are. 🙂

(OVERCLOCKING 101) (ROOTING 101)

3. Screen Capture. (Via DroCap) I dont know why Droid has never had this built in, but the feature is handy. Android not having fixed this seems like somewhat of an oversight. I guess they are the ones that know how many complaints they are getting vs. people who are fine with no screen cap. It was not the most useful rooted abilities, as the screen would typically spawn a pop-up message saying that Drocap had been rendered SUPERUSER PERMISSIONS, and I could not find anyway to turn this stupid notification off, so I gave up eventually, and ended up uninstalling DroCap anyway.

4. General Freedoms. There are more than a few little things that I enjoy having when taking advantage of a rooted Android device, and I wish I had time to go through and break them all down, but to generalize, the general freedom that one gains through breaking down that little barrier, and overstepping the technical boundaries set forth by our Oh So Mighty Carriers (Even though, when compared to other devices, Android is like an open door, waiting for you to come tinker within). There is something satisfying about being the full master and commander of your little world in your hand, and nothing can be held back from you.

I will eventually post an update on this post with a link to a Root for FRG22D, and will also be adding some reviews on more recent applications, games and tricks involving the Android OS.

I must return to other things at hand, as these have become pressing in the last few days, but I need to at least start writing this post, as to attest to my feelings on the android system, where its heading, and what so far they have come up with lately to keep us and our big noses out of the brains of their phones

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