Android This Week: Instant Search; Wi-Fi Direct; $30 Phone

Google (s goog) rolled out Instant Search for mobile this week, bringing it to Android and iOS (s aapl). The search works on smartphones as it does on the desktop: Start typing a search term, and it begins offering predicted phrases immediately, with the suggested terms further refined with each additional letter that is entered. Once the desired phrase is spotted in the results, a simple tap fires the search as usual.

Samsung unveiled the first smartphone to achieve Wi-Fi Direct certification: the Galaxy S. Wi-Fi Direct is the new standard that provides peer-to-peer connections over Wi-Fi without the need for a hotspot or access point; the connection is direct between two devices both supporting the standard. Having Wi-Fi Direct capability in the Galaxy S makes it possible to wirelessly send photos from the phone to a computer, or print documents to a supported printer. Bluetooth is currently used for such tasks, but the 30 foot range of that technology is far surpassed by that of Wi-Fi.

More Android devices are running newer versions of the OS than ever before, as indicated in numbers released by Google this week. Fewer devices are still running versions 1.x than indicated in previous accounts, with fully 77 percent of all devices activated now running either Android 2.1 or 2.2. This shows that companies are providing OS updates to older devices at a faster clip, and also, that fewer devices are shipping with the older versions.

What do you get for $30? A pretty good smartphone, according to Kevin’s review of the LG Optimus T. His review shows very few features were dropped to maintain that low price, and the $30 gets a solid performer. This performance is realized by the inclusion of Android 2.2 (aka Froyo) on the Optimus T, and while the hardware components aren’t the most powerful, they’re pretty darn good. As Kevin points out, the Optimus T is a good smartphone for first-time buyer, and they will not be disappointed.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):