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Motorola finally issues Android 2.2 update for UK DEFY users

Jonathan Morris
June 16, 2011

Motorola has finally begun updating Motorola DEFY users to Android 2.2 (Version 2.2.2 to be precise), some considerable time after the phone went on sale in late 2010.

While many other people are now enjoying some Gingerbread, Motorola DEFY users are 99.99% stuck with FroYo. Even though Motorola has agreed with others to work on more regular OS updates in the future, this will apply to new handsets from now on. There are no signs that the company will continue updating the DEFY now (or the Milestone models), but this isn’t necessarily the end of the world.

Motorola will also argue that it never promised to update the DEFY to anything beyond 2.2, even if we all hoped they might as a goodwill gesture – given the updates of older handsets by Samsung, HTC and Sony Ericsson (even the X10, shipping originally with Android 1.6, will be getting Android 2.3.3 shortly).

Android 2.2 brings with it a lot of improvements to the OS, from the improved running of apps, thanks to JIT (Just-in-Time) compilation, the ability to install many apps on a memory card (although, the DEFY has an incredibly generous 2GB of app storage space – so you’ll probably not need to bother) and some other new features.

We may have missed some of the new features, but this is what we’ve noticed so far:

  • The camera app now offers widescreen capturing – using the full width of the display (as previously available to Milestone users)
  • The camera app is slightly modified, with easy use of the digital zoom via the volume keys or on-screen + / – keys – assuming you’d ever want to use the feature.
  • A new look gallery
  • A choice of homescreens for different uses, e.g. work and weekend
  • Improved task manager
  • Cell Broadcast (a feature not really used in the UK)
  • Optional notification of both open and secure Wi-Fi networks
  • New Wi-Fi management options
  • In-pocket detection, using the proximity sensor to automatically lock the phone when placed in a pocket (in the upright position)
  • Improved Data Manager, with a new Data Delivery option to manage the features controlled by the manager
  • Bluetooth Bypass; allowing voice commands to control the phone even when it is locked
  • Updated Battery Manager with slightly tweaked preset modes
  • Double tap home launch: New choices for when you double tap the home key, usually used to load the camera, but with the new option to do nothing
  • Find names on the dialler by entering letters using the numeric keypad
  • Adobe Flash support (despite the phone only running at 800MHz, which normally rules it out as a device capable of running it) – which means you can now use the BBC iPlayer app
  • Punctuation now included on suggested words using factory default keyboard
  • General UI optimisations and tweaks

To do the update, you will need to use the Motorola software update tool for the PC, as the over-the-air update is not yet available. If you can wait, this should follow.

The update does NOT clear the phone and lose any data, but we’d be stupid and possibly negligent if we didn’t throw in a warning to use common sense and make a back-up of your important data. Google should save your email, contacts and appointments and everything on the memory card will be safe no matter what, but don’t let yourself end up kicking yourself for simply crossing your fingers and hoping nothing goes wrong.

Finally, some people may find they experience problems with the camera app after the update – namely that the DEFY can’t take photos with the flash. Trying to do so forces the LED to come on at full brightness, but you still end up with a totally black photo! What’s more, the ‘Scenes’ icon is missing and you can’t select widescreen mode.

To fix this:

  • Go into Settings
  • Select Applications
  • Click on Manage applications
  • Click on the ‘All’ tab
  • Scroll to Camera and click on it
  • Click on ‘Clear data’

Now exit and re-load the camera, and it should now work fine.

If any other applications misbehave, you can try the same procedure there – to hopefully save the need to do a full reset, which should then be a last resort.

Spotted any other new features or changes? Let us know below!

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