Review: Sprint EVO first carrier Android to get 2.2 upgrade

July 31, 2010: 11:32 AM ET

The update adds a laundry list of improvements, but will it improve battery life?

Sprint just announced that you can do a manual update to Android 2.2 Froyo on the HTC EVO. The commercial is right, EVO is first at everything. "What will you do with first?"  I installed Froyo 2.2 and it works beautifully.  On two different EVOs.

Before I show you how to do it, have a look at the improvements you'll be getting from Sprint:

This update offers:
- Ability to share applications
- Display events and birthdays from Facebook on Calendar
- Use camera LED as flashlight
- New user interface for the FM radio
- Add unknown users in Facebook as friends in Friend Stream
- Photo Gallery supports Facebook comments function
- Send contact as vCard using SMS
- Addition of MMS slideshow editor
- New pre-loaded widgets including Calculator, FM radio, Message list view, Profile settings and Ringtone settings
- Camcorder can use camera flash so video can be shot at night or in low light
- Flash 10.1 support
- Numeric PIN and alpha-numeric passwords to unlock screen
- Search widget and search bar able to switch to search in different types (web, specific application, or all)
- Adjustable alarm volume
- Android Market widget allows installation of applications on SD card

So what do you have to do to install the update? (btw, I take no responsibility if you brick your phone):

First, find the update.  HTC has removed it from its site.  They say that it isn't the official build but it matches the Sprint page above.

Update: Sprint just removed it from the site as well.  My update went pretty good on two different EVOs but perhaps some patience is in order if Sprint removed it.  Proceed at your own risk:

Next, follow this fairly simple set of instructions:

1.Download the update file and rename it to update.zip.
2.Place in the root of your SD card (connect via USB, transfer via bluetooth, pick your poison).
3.Reboot into recovery mode (hold the Volume Up button while your phone is booting).
4.You will be presented with the boot loader. The Volume Up/Down buttons navigate the menu, and the Power button selects.
5.Select Bootloader.
6.Scroll down to Recovery and select it.
7.The phone will reboot again, this time into recovery.
8.Select "apply update.zip" or "install from .zip" (depending on your recovery image).

*If you see at red exclamation mark in recovery mode, press and hold the volume up button and then press power button. Then select "apply update.zip".

I got so excited I forgot to keep one at 2.1 to compare speed!

You'll have to do two or three restarts after that, but the process only takes about 10 minutes overall.

I've been playing around with the new OS and here are some notes:

  1. The flashlight app is bright! (3 different levels and the highest brings both LEDs to painful-to-look-at levels.
  2. Update: I didn't see the Flash initially but it seems to be working pretty well.
  3. Battery usage improved significantly.  Left EVO unplugged overnight and only used 1/4 battery.  Usually this would all but kill it.  Not sure if my battery optimizations made it through the update or if this is new optimizations.
  4. Web browser is crazy fast.  Hands down fastest I've used - feels faster than Nexus but I haven't yet tested. You can really feel the V8 JavaScript engine on complex pages.  With the EVO's screen and the new speedy browser, I've turned off the mobile preference in browser.
  5. The new JIT makes everything marginally faster but for most things, the EVO wasn't lacking to begin with.  You'll see a bigger difference on slower phones.
  6. New 'App Sharing' app lets you share apps like you would share pictures or a movie.  Not sure this will be important but cool I guess.
  7. You can now put applications on your storage card (but strangely, I haven't seen how you can update all of your applications at once like the Nexus One).
  8. Voice dialing over Bluetooth, something I will use exactly never.
  9. You can now brows Facebook photos in the gallery app and comment directly -- without leaving to go to Facebook.
  10. You can now shoot video with the double LED Flash - and it certainly helps in low light - but you aren't going to win any awards with the footage shot this way.  It is very blue and spotlighty.

Overall this is a fantastic upgrade in that it only improves things.  Nothing is re-arranged or moved around.  You could probably install this on someone's EVO without them knowing.

Android Central does a nice video review:

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Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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