Droid X users get a taste of Froyo

Latest version of Android is now available for Verizon's slick smartphone. Here's what you need to know before you update.

Droid X owners who have been anxiously awaiting the latest version of Android now can celebrate: Android 2.2, aka Froyo, is available for your phone. The updated OS brings a host of improvements -- including support for Adobe's Flash technology -- to your Verizon Wireless smartphone. Here are all the details on why you want Froyo, how to get it, and what to do if you encounter any issues while updating.

Android, Updated

Google's late Nexus One smartphone was the first device to receive the upgrade to Android 2.2, but the software also is already shipping on Verizon's newer Motorola Droid 2. Owners of the Droid X -- arguably Verizon's best Android phone -- have been left waiting for the software update until now, however. But the Froyo flavor of Android looks to be worth the wait.

Support for Adobe Flash is, unquestionably, Froyo's headline feature. Apple has famously refused to support Flash on the iPhone, while the Android camp has embraced it. And Android 2.2 offers Flash Player 10.1, which allows you to view multimedia Web sites as you would on your Flash-enabled PC. That means you can watch videos, play games, and view interactive sites the way they were meant to be seen.

Flash support isn't the only new or noteworthy feature in Android 2.2, though. The update promises to deliver faster overall performance (something PCWorld's Ginny Mies noted when testing Android 2.2 on the Nexus One) as well as faster loading of JavaScript-heavy pages while browsing the Web.

Android 2.2 also promises to offer an easier way to keep your Android apps updated, with automatic app updates. And where previous versions of the OS required that you store apps on your phone's memory --potentially limiting your space -- version 2.2 will let you choose to store them on your phone's memory card instead.

Additional improvements in Android 2.2 on the Droid X include:

- The ability to switch between the eight most recently used apps;

- The ability to rotate your screen 270 degrees to the right or left when switching from landscape mode to portrait mode;

- Improved performance when using Google Maps;

- Verizon's VZ Navigator (which delivers turn-by-turn driving directions) will be pre-loaded on the phone;

- Improved Exchange server connectivity;

- The ability to edit MMS messages after attaching video files;

- The ability to manage your message history from the Contact application; and

- A better mobile hotspot experience.

How to Get Your Taste of Froyo

Convinced that you need Android 2.2 on your Droid X? Here's what you need to do in order to get the software on your phone.

Verizon says the over-the-air (OTA) upgrade process will take anywhere from 20 to 70 minutes, depending on several factors, including your connection speed. While you're updating and installing the new software, you will be unable to make any calls on your Droid X.

You may see a notification on your phone that a system upgrade is available for your phone. If that's the case, you select Download and then Install now. Your device will turn off, then back on, and the installation will begin.

If you don't see the notification, you can initiate the upgrade process yourself. From the main menu, hit the Menu, then select Settings, and then About phone. You then need to select System updates, and then select Download. The download (which can take anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes itself, according to Verizon) will begin. When it's complete, you'll see a notification. Hit the Install now button that appears at the bottom of the screen. Your device will turn off, then back on, and the installation will begin.

The installation process should take 5 to 10 minutes, Verizon says. Once it is complete, Android 2.2 will be up and running on your Droid X.

Installation Errors

In a perfect world, the Android 2.2 installation will be quick and painless. (Or, maybe, if we lived in a perfect world, the Droid X would have shipped with Android 2.2 when it launched this summer.) But we clearly don't live in a perfect world, so here's what you need to know about any errors you may see while you're updating your phone.

If you see an error screen informing you that the system update failed to install, Verizon offers this suggested fix: "Remove and re-insert the battery and power the device back on. The device will power back on with original software and will prompt you once again to install the system update." If you have any problems after that, you can contact Verizon Wireless at (800) 922-0204.

Sometimes the fix isn't as simple as removing the battery, however. Some users who have modified the Android 2.1 OS that shipped on their Droid X have encountered problems with the update. These users will need to restore Android 2.1 to its original settings, or as close to these settings as possible. And depending on how many changes you've made, as well as your ability to undo them, you may need to restore it to its original factory settings entirely, which will delete all of your data -- so back up your information before you proceed.

Good luck, Droid X owners.

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Liane Cassavoy

PC World (US online)
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