Google Inc., yesterday, released their latest iteration of Android, being Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
The latest Android OS to be released was displayed on the new Google Nexus S which has been developed together with Samsung.
With Android 2.3 Gingerbread, comes some exciting new features and upgrades, both for consumers and for developers as well as a host of newly supported technologies that will surely push mobile phone computing to the next level. Some of these features and upgrades include:
User Interface Refinements
The user interface has been refined to make it simpler and easier to learn, as well as making it faster to use. Visual themes have been simplified with colours on top of black backgrounds to bring in vividness and contrast.
There have also been changes in menus and settings in order to make them easier to navigate and control.
More intuitive text input
The original Android keyboard has been redesigned and optimized for faster text input. The team at Google have reshaped and repositioned keys, making them easier to see and press them accurately.
New multitouch keys now allow you to easily and quickly enter numbers and symbols by pushing shift+<A key> much like you would do on a computer … thereby removing the need to switch input modes
between letters, numbers and symbols.
One Touch Word Selection
Now you can easily select text by using the press-hold method over text and adjusting and dragging the selection sliders, after which you can copy your selection.
Better Power Management
Android 2.3 Gingerbread will now take a more active role in managing apps that keep the device awake for long or that consume CPU resources while running in the background. In managing these applications, closing them if appropriate, Android 2.3 will assist in improving the battery life of the system.
You can also view a more transparent list of power being consumed together with an estimated remaining time on the battery. The application settings menu provides an overview of how the battery is being used.
Updated set of standard applications
Google have included new standard apps that give you more control over managing your information and relationships. These include a internet calling client allowing users to make calls to other users who have SIP accounts. Also, the ability to use Near-field communication (NFC) where NFC tags are embedded into various items, such as a poster or advert (provided the phone has the necessery hardware to run it).
A proper download management application allows you to easily access any files you may have downloaded from various applications. The downloads facility will be open to being used by other applications.
Exciting Additional Features and Capabilities
Gaming on Android 2.3 Gingerbread will be improved with a host of new toys for developers to play with such as updated video drivers and faster event handling.
A variety of compatabilities for new hardware sensors have been included, which include a bunch of new sensor types including Gyroscopes, Rotation Vectors, Linear Acceleration, Gravity and Barometer sensors … this should lead to an endless list of new possibilities, both for mobile phones and other electronic products. These sensors will especially be geared towards 3D Motion Processing.
Android 2.3 Gingerbread now also officially supports the ability to interface more than one camera, meaning that with the Android 2.3 range of phones, many of them will most likely include front facing cameras to be used for video calling.
On the Multimedia front, Android 2.3 Gingerbread supports some new frameworks including VP8 and WebM video codecs and adds support for AAC encloding and AMR encoding.
For the more technical guys out there, they have upgraded the Linux Kernel used to 2.6.35.
Before we all get too excited, we can expect a good few months before we see Android 2.3 Gingerbread hitting the South African shelves as was the case with Android 2.2 Froyo, but we can probably rest assured that the guys at XDA will make sure us Rooters have access to it before then.
Below is a video of the guys at Google explaining a bit about Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
Video explaining Near Field Communication on Gingerbread and the Google Nexus S:
Video explaining the new refined Gingerbread UI:
Video explaining the new VOIP functionality of Gingerbread:
Video showing off the the new Keyboard in Gingerbread on the Nexus S:
Video showing off the connectivity of Gingerbread and the Nexus S:
Video explaining Multitasking on Gingerbread and the Google Nexus S:
Video showing off Navigation on Gingerbread and the Google Nexus S:
Video demonstrating Voice Actions on the Google Nexus S with Gingerbread: