RIM and Apple sit stalled in the smartphone landscape. RIM holds over 40 percent of the market and Apple holds about 25 percent of the market. As the smartphone user base continues to expand, they increase their sales, but only effectively hold steady in terms of market share. Meanwhile, Microsoft and Palm have seen their smartphone sales fall over the last few quarters.
The sole player to leap ahead in the market is Android. Between November and February, the OS jumped from a 3.8 percent marketshare to a 9.0 percent marketshare. Google seems geared to leap ahead of Microsoft sometime this quarter, with a deluge of hot handsets including the HTC Nexus One, the HTC Incredible, and the Motorola Droid (Milestone).
Now Android is preparing to take another evolutionary leap, with Google hard at work developing the next release of Android operating system, Android OS 2.2 (codenamed Froyo, after the shortening of "frozen yogurt"). While the designation 2.2 may make it seem like a minor release, don't let that fool you; the new OS is reportedly packing some heavy artillery.
Among the rumored features are:
- JIT compiler
- Free additional RAM
- OpenGL ES 2.0 enhancements
- Flash 10.1 support
- Fixed problem with “crazy screen” / Resolution of cross multitouch
- Activation of Color Trackball
- Enable FM radio
The JIT compiler has been confirmed, though Google has not said whether it will make the Android 2.2 release date. For those that don't know what a Just In Time (JIT) compiler is, on Android most app code is written in Java an interpreted language (though developers have the option of using C to write native routines). Interpreted programs run slower than native executables. A JIT compiler would take the Java programs and translate them to native bytecode. That would mean "3x faster applications, richer game graphics and better battery life to Android", according to a third-party JIT maker.
With Froyo Google has revealed that it will be moving its Linux kernel from 2.6.29 to the newer 2.6.32. This should allow the extra RAM access. Flash 10.1 seems a natural candidate as well, as Google has confirmed that it will come in the first half of this year.
Finally, an interesting tidbit is that some are claiming the Nexus One has a disabled FM radio. There is a rumor that this radio will be enabled with the release of Android 2.2.
Many are speculating that Android 2.2 will be released on May 19, coinciding with Google's I/O event. The HTC Incredible and Nexus One should both get the upgrade, though some older Android phones may be unable to handle the upgrade.