Virgin Mobile’s customers have been waiting for quite some time to get a software update for their Google Android powered Samsung Intercept handsets. It seemed as if the carrier had decided that it was going to stick with the now-aging Android 2.1 Éclair for the long haul–but there’s hope! I received a text message last week stating that my handset would be getting an upgrade soon, and it did indeed get an update just a few days ago.
First off, the good stuff about Google’s Android 2.2 Froyo: we can finally move applications to the SD card! This allows for customers to free up lots of space on the actual phone, and this in turns keeps the handset running smoothly. It also means that customers will be able to leverage the space on their SD cards to install even more apps! Furthermore, all the core applications are updated. Gmail, YouTube, Google Calendar, and Maps are all newer versions with some nice little touches. YouTube is changed the most drastically: it’s now possible view comments while watching a video, and the application has received a significant interface overhaul. I especially appreciated the updated Alarm Clock app–it now shows the weather along with the time (just what I needed!).
Virgin Mobile seems to have also pushed a couple apps they like down with the update, including a capable task manager as well as the Where application for finding local food and entertainment. I welcome the addition of a task manager (it’s super handy for killing apps and seeing phone status at a glance), however the Where app seems redundant if you already have Google’s own Places. That said, Where does include a daily deals component that may save users a few bucks.
Although there’s plenty to like about this new update for Virgin Mobile’s Samsung Intercept Handsets, there are still some small annoyances as well. The useful “command bar” that was integrated with the Android status bar is now gone, and with it any quick way to turn wifi, GPS, and other services on and off. I installed the Quicksettings app to compensate. I also found the default Home screen/launcher in Froyo to be a bit sluggish, and not very customizable. I switched it out for the lightweight Zeam application launcher from the Android Market.
Even though Android 2.2 Froyo is not the latest release from Google’s mobile operating system, it is a welcome refresh to Virgin Mobiles’s Samsung Intercept handset. The improvements in this software update vastly outweigh the few inconveniences, and it really makes these older phones seem a bit more modern, capable, and responsive. Thank you, Virgin Mobile!