What Evo 4G business users can expect from Android 2.2

The Google 'Froyo' update will provide a bevy of new enterprise features to Sprint customers, but they still don't put Evo security on par with BlackBerrys

If you're a Sprint customer who is happy with your Evo 4G device but disappointed you can't bring it to work, help is on the way.

That's because Google this week will push out the Android 2.2 update, also known as "Froyo," to Sprint's popular WiMax-based device. The Evo will be the first device to get the new version of the Android operating system, with other devices such as the HTC Droid Incredible and the Motorola Droid X soon to follow.

[ The mobile battle is narrowing. See how iOS 4 and Android 2.2 compare feature by feature in InfoWorld's slideshow: "Mobile deathmatch: Apple iOS 4 vs. Android 2.2." |  See how the iPhone fares against the major competitors in InfoWorld's "ultimate mobile deathmatch" comparative review. | Discover how to deploy (almost) any smartphone in your business. ]

Android's enterprise features put it on par with iPhone, not BlackBerry

But what, exactly, can Evo users expect from the Froyo update? The big thing will be the bevy of enterprise features the operating system update will add, giving IT departments more control over Android-based devices than they have had in the past.

Android 2.2 will give administrators the ability to enforce password policies across Android devices and to remotely wipe any Android devices that become lost or compromised. Android 2.2 will also support Exchange calendars and auto-discovery to make it easier for users to set up and sync Exchange accounts, though it remains incompatible with many Exchange security policies.

These new features will give the Evo 4G the bare minimum that most analysts recommend for letting a device come onto the corporate network, but they still won't put the Evo on par with BlackBerry devices as far as enterprise security goes.

IT departments should also be wary of Android devices in general, since the Android application market does not filter out applications posted for sale. This means that there are significant dangers for users who don't carefully watch what permissions they grant applications they download onto their devices. A recent study by security vendor SMobile found that around 20 percent of all applications available on the store could compromise sensitive corporate information.

Other features that Froyo will showcase when released next week for the Evo 4G include the following:

  • Support for Flash video: Flash is the most widely used video platform on the Web and is currently barred by Apple on its iPhone. Putting Flash on Android-based devices could give a slight competitive advantage in attracting users who want access to as much video as possible. (Users must still download Flash themselves from the Android Market; Flash Plater 10.1 remains in beta form there.)
  • Wi-Fi tethering: This is a great feature to have if you're in an area with WiMax connectivity. Since Sprint's WiMax service typically delivers download speeds in the 2.5Mbps to 4Mbps range, tethering your laptop to your Evo 4G will give you significantly faster upload and download speeds than your typical 3G connection. Froyo's tethering service allows you to connect up to eight devices through the Evo 4G.
  • LED flash now enabled for the phone's video camera: This will allow you to shoot videos in the dark or areas with low light.

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This story, "What Evo 4G business users can expect from Android 2.2" was originally published by Network World.