Our report earlier this week that Google had started rolling out Android 2.2 to Nexus One phones has been met with more skepticism than Tom Cruise's marriage to Katie Holmes. Given the fact that the majority of Nexus One users haven't yet seen Froyo on their phones, some were quick to dismiss the report as being, to quote one e-mail I received, "pure hogwash."
Well, good news, gang: Today, we have proof of Google's partial over-the-air Froyo rollout -- as well as a possible explanation of why it was stopped so soon.
[NEW INFORMATION: See "The official word on Froyo"]
The Froyo OTA Rollout: How It Began
In case you missed it, Android Power learned midweek that a number of Nexus One users had received Google's Android 2.2 upgrade over-the-air to their phones on Wednesday night. Users from various parts of the U.S. on both T-Mobile and AT&T were affected.
The update, contrary to some commenters' cries of doubt, arrived on Nexus One phones that were not rooted and had not previously received test builds of 2.2. The phones were running stock Android 2.1 and received the standard system notification that an update was available. The update was a standalone file and was installed via Android's standard automated OTA process. Following a roughly 10-minute download and installation procedure, the devices were bumped up to Android 2.2, build FRF83.
Android Power friend Josh M. was kind enough to send in this video showing the system details from his freshly upgraded AT&T Nexus One device. He even went to the trouble of restarting the phone to demonstrate that the bootloader wasn't unlocked.
The Froyo OTA Rollout: Why'd It Stop?
The burning question, then, is what happened -- why more people haven't seen Froyo on their Nexus One phones, and why Google's thus far keeping quiet about the process.
At this point, we don't actually know how many people received the Froyo OTA update before Wednesday's rollout was stopped. I'm personally aware of a small handful of users who did -- and odds are, they're indicative of a larger group that got the update and didn't bother telling anyone about it -- but there's no way to know for sure.
A representative from Google's Android team could only tell me they had no "official news" to share just yet, but that we should stay tuned.
Android Power reader Zenrag, however, pointed me to a Google forum posting by a Google employee named Ry Guy. In the message, written this Friday, Guy answers a user's question about being unable to download the Nexus One ERE27 update to his new phone. (ERE27 was an incremental update that enabled multitouch support and other features in the Nexus One. It was released over-the-air in February, but it still has to be downloaded to some new handsets upon activation.)
Guy says the following:
"The reason that you haven't been able to update your Nexus One from ERD79 to ERE27 is because we have been doing some maintenance work on our OTA server. No need to fret though, you'll definitely be seeing updates within the next one to two weeks. Thanks for your patience!"
Now, bear in mind that this is merely a best guess -- there's no official confirmation as of yet -- but putting all the pieces together, it certainly makes sense to surmise that Google started a trial run of its Android 2.2 rollout to the Nexus One on Wednesday. We know that Google's FRF83 build of Froyo was released that day, and given the fact that the Android team open-sourced the code at the Droid X launch that same afternoon, it's perfectly reasonable to think that Wednesday's build could be the final edition or something very close to it.
Based on Ry Guy's message, it's logical to think that something may not have been performing as expected with Google's OTA server around that time. So after starting to send Android 2.2 over-the-air to some users, the company may have pulled the plug in order to work on the maintenance Guy mentions.
One would imagine that once that server work is finished -- within the next couple of weeks, according to Guy's message -- the rollout will resume and start to reach a wider group of users. This would remain in-line with everything else we've heard about the Android 2.2 development process as well as with the latest intelligence suggesting that the Motorola Droid will start to receive the upgrade next, sometime in July.
If you aren't a Nexus One user, keep tabs on our Android 2.2 upgrade list for the latest info on when your phone could see Froyo. If you have the HTC Hero or Samsung Moment, though, don't hold your breath: Sprint confirmed on Friday that neither handset will be getting the 2.2 update.
But hey, you can still be glad of this: At least you don't have to hold your phone with a magical four-fingered grip just to get it to work.
(A hearty thanks to Josh M. and Zenrag for their contributions to this story.)