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Unofficial Android 2.2 Ready and Rooted

Have an Android smartphone and just can't wait for v2.2's (FroYo) official release? Apparently a version is now available to download for rooted phones--one that isn't exclusive to Nexus One phones. While installing this firmware may sound tempting, keep in mind that it's not an official Google release, and for some reason it doesn't include Wi-Fi support (due to protecting the original source).

Rather than using an installer package, this version of FroYo comprises of nandroid backups (Clockwork Recovery and SP Recovery). Users simply download the files, extract them, and then place them in the appropriate folder. The ROM is already rooted and comes packed with SuperUser. However if living without Wi-Fi isn't acceptable, users can head here and download overclocked kernels that bring the feature back to FroYo.

So what's the big deal about this Hobbit-sounding update? Lots. Android owners will see a huge performance increase--up to three times faster than v2.1 or later. OpenGL improvements means that game will look and play better--we're already seeing Android as a competitive mobile gaming platform thanks to Gameloft's release of N.O.V.A., Modern Combat: Sandstorm, Dungeon Hunter, Asphalt 5, Hero of Sparta and more. There's also the hotspot aspect--allowing the Android device to share its Internet connection with local devices--and support for Flash 10.1.

Consumers wishing to update manually using the rooted FroYo release are cautioned to proceed at their own risk, as a faulty installation could lead to a bricked phone. For Verizon users, the company has not issued a release date, and has not answered any queries regarding FroYo's timing or any possible added fees stemming from the new tethered feature.