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Cellphones Google Handhelds Open Source Operating Systems Upgrades Linux

Android Fork Brings Froyo To 12 Smartphones 193

Posted by timothy
from the sticking-it-to-the-phone-companies dept.
jj110888 writes "CyanogenMod has just been updated to version 6.0, bringing Android Open Source Project 2.2 (Froyo) to several devices. This fork includes enchantments to many of the built-in apps, Ad-hoc network connectivity, OpenVPN support, Bluetooth HID, Incognito browsing, extensive control over audio and UI elements, and more found in the extensive CHANGELOG. The CyanogenMod team uses an instance of Google's gerrit tool for code review and patch submission, helping make this former backport of Android 1.6 to T-Mobile's G1 into thriving development for the G1/MyTouch/MyTouch 1.2, Droid, Nexus One, HTC Aria, HTC Desire, HTC Evo 4G (minus 4G and HDMI output), Droid Incredible, and MyTouch Slide. HTC Hero (including Droid Eris) are coming soon for 6.0, with Samsung Galaxy S devices expected to be supported in 6.1."
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Android Fork Brings Froyo To 12 Smartphones

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Watch out, it's hobbit forming.

  • by Iftekhar25 (802052) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:30AM (#33432938) Homepage

    This fork includes enchantments to many of the built-in apps [...]

    Enchantments? iOS doesn't have that. Android rules.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by matunos (1587263)

      Are you kidding? Apple fans are constantly accused of being under some sort of spell.

    • by md65536 (670240)

      Enchantments? iOS doesn't have that. Android rules.

      Doesn't matter if iOS isn't enchanting because the devices themselves are magical [wired.com].

      One day, kids will be in awe reading fantasy novels about our golden age of computer junk.

      • by Stele (9443)

        One day, kids will be in awe reading fantasy novels about our golden age of computer junk.

        Unfortunately kids these days spend more time texting and less time reading. Fortunately, we'll be able to look at all that old junk at the Computer Junk Museum in the Mega-Costco, between the boat and forklift isles, near the Starbucks and Brawndo machine.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Qubit (100461)

      Android Rules...and Droid Does...hmmm.

      If past confusingly-worded advertisements [blogspot.com] are any indication, we should look forward to:

      Android: Try our new interface for waterproof phones: Slip and Slide Rules!

    • by sapphire wyvern (1153271) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:38AM (#33433094)

      Yeah, according to the release notes, they added a +1 bonus to the Music and Deskclock apps, amongst others, and added 1d6 [Fire] elemental damage to the Torch app.

  • by M. Kristopeit (1890764) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:32AM (#33432946)
    i'm concerned about bugs, intentional or not, that would allow someone access to my voice calls or other personal data... how feasible are those situations when using one of these 3rd party mobile operating systems rather than the one supplied directly by the mobile vendor with the device?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:40AM (#33432960)

      review.cyanogenmod.com

      They end up patching most vulnerabilities faster than the handset makers, but there is always the chance of users not understanding root and not reading the permissions their apps require. One of the many good things about android though is that it shows you what the app wants wants before installing, if you don't read/know what you're installing, who's really to blame at that point?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dargaud (518470)

        One of the many good things about android though is that it shows you what the app wants wants before installing

        Yes, but without the ability to deny some of those rights, it's not very useful. Case in point: couple days ago I wanted to install a simple music app. It wanted GPS access and internet access. Fuck that, I didn't install the app but I'd much rather block those two things.

        • by mcvos (645701)

          Yes, but without the ability to deny some of those rights, it's not very useful. Case in point: couple days ago I wanted to install a simple music app. It wanted GPS access and internet access. Fuck that, I didn't install the app but I'd much rather block those two things.

          I agree. It could be useful if you could install an app while denying it some of the rights it wants. Of course that could make the app unstable and useless, but at least you had the option to do so and it was your own free choice.

          • by bcat24 (914105) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @07:56AM (#33434394) Homepage Journal

            It could be useful if you could install an app while denying it some of the rights it wants. Of course that could make the app unstable and useless, but at least you had the option to do so and it was your own free choice.

            I agree in principle, but I think this would make life suck for developers. Would you really want to deal with the inevitable people saying "I paid for this app and it doesn't work" when the only reason your app doesn't work is because these same people didn't grant it the necessary rights? Supporting software is hard enough as is; we don't need to make it even easier for well-intentioned—but not technically-minded—folks to break things.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by hedwards (940851)
              By the same token, Google really ought to include a provision to make the application request permission to do certain things after it's been installed. Such as placing phone calls. Most applications that ask for that permission do so in order to allow you to select a phone number from the application and place it as a convenience. They don't generally need the permission all the time, so for something like that making it ask each time is probably reasonable and not going to cause too much trouble for anybo
            • by jDeepbeep (913892)
              Yes it is probably inevitable, but it could be greatly lessened by info dialogs to inform the user that the feature they are trying to access is only possible if they allow it to, say, access contacts, or whatever it is. Some apps do this to a degree already, and notify you when your mobile connection is switched off for example, while others just sit there doing nothing (bad idea). If it can't sync, it should tell the user why it can't sync.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by tayhimself (791184)

              It could be useful if you could install an app while denying it some of the rights it wants. Of course that could make the app unstable and useless, but at least you had the option to do so and it was your own free choice.

              I agree in principle, but I think this would make life suck for developers. Would you really want to deal with the inevitable people saying "I paid for this app and it doesn't work" when the only reason your app doesn't work is because these same people didn't grant it the necessary rights? Supporting software is hard enough as is; we don't need to make it even easier for well-intentioned—but not technically-minded—folks to break things.

              Sorry, but this is how it works on iOS. Your app downloads fine. If it tries to use the GPS the phone prompts you for permission. If it tries to message you, the phone prompts you to allow messaging. etc. Works great, maybe google will copy this too.

              • by beej (82035)

                Works great, maybe google will copy this too.

                What was it Steve Jobs said great artists do? Please, though, Google, don't steal Apple's refund policy.

                Actually, a hybrid of the two approaches is needed, since I'd like to know before I buy what permissions the app is going to ask for.

        • by Sulphur (1548251)

          What could go wrong with an app sending your coordinates to **AA?

        • by N1AK (864906)
          It's very useful: It informed your decision and you walked away. You wanted a different app without GPS or Internet requirements, that's your problem, not a flaw with the system.
          • by delinear (991444) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @07:01AM (#33434016)
            Exactly - better that you're at least informed, if it had said nothing you'd be blissfully unaware that your music app was tracking your position and accessing the web. And if you don't want it to do those things, mail the developer and give them some useful feedback (I would have bought/used your app except...) and maybe they'll explain what the usage is, or even offer a version with those things removed. That's the beauty of the system, you have a lot of visibility of what's going on.
    • Have you seen how buggy vendor-firmware is these days? I'd wager that Cyanogenmod actually has less bugs than the original firmware on most of these devices. While I don't use CyanogenMod myself, I'm using a ROM which is nearly entirely based on it, just with some junk ripped out and tweaked for better performance, and I must say, the stuff they've baked into the kernel is fantastic (things like full Bluetooth HID keyboard support)... And while it does introduce some bugs, there are none known that could ca

      • by MrCrassic (994046)

        Have you seen how buggy vendor-firmware is these days?

        I, fortunately, have the Nexus One and get firmware supplied from Google. Their versions are pretty tight; the only bug I noticed was with large SD transfers rebooting the phone, but that went away after I got a new device, so it may have possibly been a hardware issue as well.

        While I appreciate all of the work Steve and his partners (Team Douche :p) have put into making a very viable alternative to vendor-supplied firmware (especially on more restricted devices), it hasn't been reliable enough to make m

      • resulting in high power draw during standby - this can drain the entire battery in abut 10-15 hours

        10-15 hours? That's normal standby battery life on my HTC EVO if Google Maps and Google Talk are left running and lightly used.

        • Not without at least an hour or two of activity (i.e. screen on, radios active, CPU grinding)... unless you've got a process keeping the phone awake in the background all the time.

          You should check your Battery History in the INFO menu (dial *#*#4636#*#*)... if "Running" (listed under "Other Usage" with "Since last unplugged" set) is higher than the amount of time you were actively using your phone, it's probably not going into standby properly when you turn it off. If that's the case, you should check under

    • by w0mprat (1317953)

      i'm concerned about bugs, intentional or not, that would allow someone access to my voice calls or other personal data... how feasible are those situations when using one of these 3rd party mobile operating systems rather than the one supplied directly by the mobile vendor with the device?

      You don't know it but what you are indirectly implying is that open source community developed systems could harbor more undisclosed vulnerabilities due to less peer review, either accidentally or, a via more disturbing proposition: that someone may masquerade as a coder in a community project to hide something in plain sight (certainly possible: http://underhanded.xcott.com/ [xcott.com]) obtaining sudden pwnership of thousands of phones (last I heard CyanogenMOD was on 30k Android phones now likely many more).

      In al

    • by Sloppy (14984)

      It's good to be concerned about bugs. The question is: do forks add bugs or remove them? If you start asking which code has been audited and which hasn't, you're going to realize the same question is going to apply to every single phone's firmware. You don't know about Froyo's quality, but then unless you work at Google or Apple, you don't know anything about Android or IOS quality either.

  • by msevior (145103) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:43AM (#33432966)

    The existence of this project makes my want to buy an android phone.

    No lockin for me!

  • by Kethinov (636034) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:49AM (#33432982) Homepage Journal

    As a Droid Incredible owner, I'm pretty pissed off that Android 2.2 is so many months old and there's STILL no official build available for my device. Why can't I just go to a magic URL like google.com/android/2.2, then download a supported ROM for my device, and then install the new OS just like downloading a new version of Ubuntu for a PC?

    • by Namarrgon (105036) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:11AM (#33433026) Homepage

      So why should they build, test and support new roms for every different Android device out there? They've got enough on their plate developing the reference OS itself. You should be asking Verizon, or at least HTC.

      With Ubuntu, a lot of people chipped in to write and make available many different device drivers so that a huge range of hardware could be supported. Phones too require different device drivers - but on phones, many of those drivers are still proprietary. Cyanogen (among others) is the best recourse we've got.

      But for actual solutions - well, you could insist on buying only phones with minimal vendor changes from vanilla Android, thus reducing the amount of work needed for porting the latest OS. Vendors could devote more effort to supporting older hardware, since it's clear it's a big issue with customers [gizmodo.com]. From Google's pov, they've said [engadget.com] they're working on separating as much as possible from the base OS, so that the cooler stuff can be updated independently.

      Only other "solution" I can think of is for Google to hold off releasing new versions until major vendors complete porting it to their older hardware. But all that would do is disadvantage Google's own customers to no purpose, just so that other vendors' customers don't know what they're missing, not to mention reducing the valuable feedback Google needs to work on the next version. Might as well go to an annual cycle and change their name to Apple 2.0.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        With Ubuntu, a lot of people chipped in to write and make available many different device drivers so that a huge range of hardware could be supported. Phones too require different device drivers - but on phones, many of those drivers are still proprietary.

        How do vendors distribute proprietary device drivers linked to the GPL Linux kernel?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by deltantor (912016)

      As a Droid Incredible owner, I'm pretty pissed off that Android 2.2 is so many months old and there's STILL no official build available for my device. Why can't I just go to a magic URL like google.com/android/2.2, then download a supported ROM for my device, and then install the new OS just like downloading a new version of Ubuntu for a PC?

      But you can, with cyanogenmod. CM is one of the only things that is fighting to end fragmentation.

    • by JoshRosenbaum (841551) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:20AM (#33433046) Homepage
      Mine just came OTA (over the air) last night. Or you can do a manual update as shown here: http://www.droid-life.com/2010/08/31/manual-update-droid-incredible-to-android-2-2/ [droid-life.com]
    • by vlueboy (1799360)

      As a Droid Incredible owner, I'm pretty pissed off that Android 2.2 is so many months old and there's STILL no official build available for my device. Why can't I just go to a magic URL like google.com/android/2.2, then download a supported ROM for my device, and then install the new OS just like downloading a new version of Ubuntu for a PC?

      Heh. I'm equally angry that nobody has released final-draft ROMs for the acclaimed wireless N standard. It's supposed to be an easier one-time task than porting Android every 6 months to a plethora of incompatible carrier hardware here in the US. That's specially true because final-N is supposedly a "virtually no-change" update to the draft-N standards that we bought for years. If even that small a promise at face value (namely NOT saying "oh, there was really no change" then what is my hope that buying thi

    • by milamber3 (173273)

      You can actually do just that. The Froyo source has been available from Day 1 on the AOSP website. You need to realize that Android is still in its infancy and similar to when linux was in its infancy if you wanted to run a different version on your hardware you need to be prepared to modify it, write new drivers, and work out some bugs. This is exactly what the devs do for most of the phones. I have been running 2.2 on my Hero for months even though HTC has said they will never release it for the Hero.

    • This is partly why google is changing some things in the design of android. It will reduce how much devices can differentiate their interfaces - but it is meant to ensure that when a new version comes out ALL the android phones can get it immediately.

      I fully understand why they are going there, though I can also see the downsides.... interesting times ahead.

    • by ferrocene (203243)

      At least you'll have 2.2 eventually. For those of us with a Hero or Eris, this is the only way we get FroYo. A semi-working build was available within hours of the FroYo source code release, and now stable versions abound. But the Eris is already end-of-life. One day your incredible will be, too.

    • You also could have done some reasearch instead of running to your phone net supplier typed in as us american the google webshop and bought a nexus one.
      It speaks legends that now the nexus one is sold over the dev channel worldwide, google is selling so many of them that they have a supply problem, and before when it was only available in the US no one bought it except for a few.

    • by rotor (82928)

      You're not missing much with Android 2.2 being late. I've got it on my droid and I'd almost consider going back to 2.1. The icons routinely disappear off the screen (I just have to swipe to another screen to get them back, but it's an annoyance), and Pandora (or any other streaming music service) is affected by having every other song come through in low quality. All for what? Flash? They claim speed increases, but I haven't noticed any.

  • stability (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Blymie (231220) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:49AM (#33432984)

    This is a great ROM, and the whole crowd that put it together does deserve applause.

    The only detractor is stability with smaller issues. There is an 'experimental' branch, which is essentially alpha like code, and the stable branch is more like a constantly moving, fairly mature beta.

    Part of this, of course, is the speed with which this whole environment is moving. Just when the Cyanogenmod team release a ROM, it seems that a whole whack of changes manifest upstream, with the goal of a whole new Google branded release. So, naturally, the compulsion is to move to that newer codebase..

    I'm hoping that for a while at least, Google doesn't fork for another release branch. Hell, there are already issues with phone manufacturers and the fragmentation in the Android market as a result. So, maybe it should be.. oh, I don't know, a YEAR before there is another fork and release on the Google side?

    Perhaps then, people will be able to fork 6.1 or 6.2 of Cyanogenmod, and spent about 20 sub-releases just on stability issues.

    All and all though, that would just be icing on the cake. And what a sweet cake it is!

    Thanks Cyanogenmod dudes!

  • by synthesizerpatel (1210598) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:53AM (#33432992)

    I have been wishing for OpenVPN support on my iPhone for some time now. The idea that you'll 'control your whole life' through your phone is so hollow until you have 'secure' tunnels to your resources. The person who put the effort in to get OpenVPN working on android has my respect. Good work!

    • by sam0737 (648914) <sam@cho[ ]i.com ['wch' in gap]> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @02:11AM (#33433024)

      And this is so essential to mainland user like me!...or else how you think the facebook app is going to work?

  • As a user of a Desire ROM that's based largely on CyanogenMod (and there are many of these), I'd like to thank the team for the work they've done. The enhancements they've added are truly enchanting (hrhr), and add a lot of value to an already pretty great product.

    There are issues, of course, but largely it's just a vanilla Android version with all the enhancements Google should have built into Android from the beginning. And that's awesome :)

  • Cyanogen is a great ROM, especially for older phones like G1/Dream which is already abandoned and doesn't have an official 2.x ROM. It had some really neat features like the WiFi tethering or additional launcher screens. However I found it to be bleeding-edge and somewhat unstable. For example, the 1.5 ROM had a battery monitor that actually drained the battery because of a bug in the code :)
    Some features like AWB launcher are feature-rich but look incomplete and beta-quality. The 2.1 ROM for G1/Dream added

  • by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @04:20AM (#33433402)

    Has anyone managed to, or even bothered to try to put a full linux distro on any of these instead of android?

    I know the debian chroot thing has been around for a while, but I'd really love to be able to put debian or maemo or something like that onto another handset.

    I love my N900, but there are newer, shinier toys out there but I like my mainstream mobile linux...

    • by RMH101 (636144)
      You can boot Ubuntu on a Nexus One. And Win95, should you be masochistic enough to try it. I also run PSX4DROID as a playstation emulator!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TeknoHog (164938)

        You can boot Ubuntu on a Nexus One. And Win95, should you be masochistic enough to try it. I also run PSX4DROID as a playstation emulator!

        The only Ubuntu/Nexus installations I can find are running in a chroot, like the Debian that grandparent mentions. Win95 wouldn't run natively anyway.

        Android devices are fairly limited compared to most computers, so I would like to run a real distro, instead of layers of emulation. In fact, native binary applications should run faster than the bytecode apps in Android.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by asnelt (1837090)

          The only Ubuntu/Nexus installations I can find are running in a chroot, like the Debian that grandparent mentions. Win95 wouldn't run natively anyway.

          There is a tutorial at http://www.irregular-expression.com/ [irregular-expression.com] for installing Debian on a Nexus One that runs directly on the hardware, no chroot. The only catch is that you need a PC hooked up to the device in order to initiate booting. So the only thing that is missing to be usable in the field is a bootloader that is able to boot an alternative OS. Or you could try to keep the device running without rebooting, but I guess that Debian without chroot is a bit too power hungry for that.

    • by TeknoHog (164938)

      I wonder the same thing about Toshiba Dynabook AC100. It is an Nvidia Tegra 250 based netbook running Android, and to my great surprise it is available in at least one consumer electronics chain here in Finland (Tekniset).

      The Tegra seems like a relatively open platform, in that there are plenty of Linux resources and a Gentoo installation guide available, at least for the devkit. But I wonder if any of the consumer versions are similarly updateable. Kernel upgrades seem like a hassle in any case, since t

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gmuslera (3436)
      Don't forget that you had Froyo as alternate OS for the N900 before it was available officially for any Android phone (even before the Nexus One). Still no full functionality because the parts that Nokia didn't opened on it, but is actively being worked for fixing that. Nitdroid was a different android fork, and was targetted to one smartphone only (and the N8x0 tablets).

      There are a few newer Android phones with better hardware specs, but still the N900 is an impressive piece of hardware, and Maemo is nothi
  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @04:36AM (#33433462)
    The Android open source community is fucking awesome.

    Thank you.
  • I'm running CM6 RC3 on the Eris, and the phone has never felt snappier. It has revived (by today's standards) a dated platform. The fine folks at XDA developers have put together a ROM with WiFi tether, over/underclocking for improved battery life with increased speed, etc. Great stuff.

  • The Cyanogen mod ROM images do NOT contain some of the stock apps (after a C&D letter from Google). They say you can back up and use the versions you received with your phone. But to back up the apps, you appear to have to root the phone. To root the phone, you have to downgrade the ROM. Will I be able to get updates to the built-in apps, or am I stuck with the oldest 2009 versions of those built-in apps on the newest Cyanogen-installed Android ROM?
    • Correct, they don't include Google Apps as part of the ROM.
      They are distributed separately [kanged.net]

      Download, and flash in the same way as the ROM. No hassles at all.

    • by kyuubi (1355069) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @07:28AM (#33434176)
      None of that is neccesary. For a while I dispaired that Google was going the way of Apple, but they have since worked with Cyanogen and released all the apps as a seperate installable .zip file. The only difference is that you need to flash two zips instead of 1. A company working WITH a mod guy to solve his problems and let him do his thing!? What is the world coming to. I've tried a million different ROMs, and Cyanogen is teh BOM in my opinion. I've still got an old Magic (Sapphire, G2, or whatever they keep naming the same device), and every time a new version of Cyanogen comes out it's like getting a new handset. It's awesome. ;-)
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mahiskali (1410019)
        Mod parent up. I currently am running the latest Sapphire ROM on my Droid (shamefully, I have not yet tried Cyanogen). They had the exact same "issue"--a C&D was sent stating they could not bundle the stock Google apps with their ROM. However, instead of essentially killing the project by doing this, they provided an alternative--a separate update.zip file that you would install after the main ROM, which placed the stock Google apps back on your device. I am happy to see a company doing something li
        • Google can get away with this because OEMs/carriers get Android for free. If Apple or MS do this, AT&T, other carriers, HTC/Samsung etc. would cry foul. It might even be in the contract somewhere that they can't facilitate unlocking/jailbreaking.

    • by mdm-adph (1030332)

      You're worried about the wrong thing, entirely -- you have to root your phone FIRST before you even start worrying about Cyanogenmod. Thus, after this point, it's trivial to get the new proprietary Google apps (they're in a separate zip file you flash), and Cyanogen will release updates for them from time to time -- just keep an eye out.

  • So they have Sandal on the team now. Good for them.

  • I tried a port of CM6 release candidate on my HTC Kaiser (AT&T Tilt). It was slow, but to be fair the Kaiser was designed for WinMo 6.1, something like three years ago. I got the impression that CM6 is a thing of beauty on an adequate phone. The OpenVPN support was great, if you use that. I am using a more stock Froyo right now, a better fit for this old phone. I won't quote w0mprat, but I agree with the sentiment.

  • by Eil (82413) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:04PM (#33437810) Homepage Journal

    Recently, I decided I wanted to ditch my iPod Touch. I'd really like a good quality Android device to replace it. So far the only decent Android devices that I know of are phones. (Yes, there are non-phone Android devices, but they often lack critical pieces, like the App Market.)

    If I were to buy an Android phone (say, a Nexus One), and have no intention of using it as a phone (no phone calls, no text messages), can I use use all the other Android functionality without a carrier, just wifi? I've done a lot of Googling but haven't yet come across a definitive yes or no. I'd preferably like to hear someone who is already doing this.

    (And yes, I already know I will pay a lot more than I did for the iPod Touch.)

  • by crhylove (205956) <rhy@leperkhanz.com> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:55PM (#33439320) Homepage Journal

    Any other (Android) is not really Android. It's some crippled crap corporate malware. CyanogenMod is awesome: Wifi tethering, fast speed, uncrippled features. I would not have an Android phone if there wasn't a Cyanogenmod.

    rhY

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