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5 tweaks to turn Android 2.1 into Froyo

Get the features of the latest version of the OS now

If you're envious of Android users who have Android 2.2, don't be. Here are some ways to get the same features.

Get voice control

Google's Voice Actions for Android is a great free app that lets you control your phone using vocal commands to do things such as load web pages, send text messages and call contacts. The bad news: although it doesn't ship with Froyo, only phones with Froyo can use it.

But Android 2.1 users need not feel left out - the free Vlingo for Android lets you use your voice to dial contacts, send emails, text messages and tweets, and more.

Vlingo can't do everything that Google's Voice Actions can do. It can't, for example, load a web page or tell your Android device to play music. But it can do a few tricks that Voice Actions doesn't do, such as launch apps. And it includes a text-to-speech feature that will read emails and text messages to you.

Vlingo is remarkably easy to use: Run the program and talk into your phone, and it does what you tell it. When I tried it, I could dictate a text message or email and tell it who I wanted to send the message to; Vlingo opened the appropriate app and popped in my text, waiting for me to either send it or edit it. When I told it to find coffee shops in Cambridge, or Italian restaurants in Boston, it searched local listings via Google Maps and displayed the results. It properly opened apps when I asked it to.

As with all voice apps, don't expect Vlingo to properly recognise all the names you speak into it, and you may have to do some editing of text you send. But still, it does a remarkable job.

Get Flash on Android 2.1

One of Froyo's most notable features is its ability to run Adobe Flash. If you don't have Froyo, you won't be able to play Flash - or will you?

A site called AddictiveTips claims to have found a way to run Flash on some Android 2.1 phones. The process involves downloading a zipped Flash app to your PC, copying it to the SD card of your Android 2.1 phone, using an app called Apps Installer to install the Flash app, and then rebooting.

However, that doesn't work on every Android phone. I couldn't get it to work on my Droid X, for example. People have reported that it works on the HTC EVO and the Nexus One. It may or may not work on your phone, but if you feel the need for Flash now, it might be worth a try.

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