Earlier this week, Google announced its latest device, the Nexus S, which will be powered by the latest version of Android called Gingerbread. Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) introduces many improvements over existing features including better copy-and-paste capability and faster text input.
New Features of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
New features in Gingerbread include near-field communications and Internet telephony. These are quick overviews on things you’ll find in Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).
The new OS provides support for reading NFC tags and can give us a big implication. If enough smartphones have NFC chips in them, merchants can use Gingerbread phones as an effective substitute to credit card. In general, near-field communications allow you to use your smartphone as a payment device.
Again, this is not a breakthrough technology, however if you have an affordable 3G data plan, making a call over the Internet can be a good option. You need to have your own SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) account to enable Internet telephony.
Google promises that the new simplified UI will make Android easier to learn and faster to use. Google has incorporated changes to visual themes while also tweaking menus to make them easier to navigate.
A basic tool that should have been available since Android 1.6, it allows you to monitor the activity of all running applications and finding out how many memory each app uses.
With Gingerbread, you have the ability to better manage your power usage. With this new feature, you will able to see how your battery is being used by various running applications. For example, you will know how that cool Matrix screensaver really sucks up all your battery juice!
After finding out how much memory and battery juice an application is using, you may decide to kill applications that are using the most resources. You can do this easily in the “Manage Application” shortcut.
Better Copy-and-Paste Capability
The new copy-and-paste tool is somewhat similar to the one found in Apple’s iOS,
Many Android users compared Android keyboard with soft keyboard of Apple’s iOS. Android’s keyboard is considered to be less responsive and sometimes as inconvenient. The keyboard in Gingerbread will allow faster editing and typing, a few keys have been reshaped and repositioned. Gingerbread also allows you to make corrections quickly by using dictionary suggestions.
You can now access an integrated downloads management from your email, browser, or other applications.
More Support on Newer Media Formats
You can now use WebM open container and VP8 video compression formats in Android devices. Also AMR (wideband) and AAC encodings are included for applications to capture better quality audio.
Other Things You Should Know
Gaming in Gingerbread
As we have seen in the Gingerbread’s official introduction video, the new version provides a host of new features designed to help developers build state of the art gaming to the Android platform.
Changes on Android Market
There are hints about future upgrades on Android Market. There are new changes in Android market, for example, “Recent Changes” section inside app descriptions and developer-provided ratings, but so far, no significant Market upgrades have been brought up in connection with the release of Gingerbread.
When Will you Get the Update?
It’s perfectly fine to be entirely excited about the new Android 2.3 and everything it contains. Obviously, current owners of Android devices are wondering whether they can get an update. Yes, owners of the Nexus S are the first to use Android 2.3, which will be available in the U.S. on December 16 and December 20 in the UK. Everyone else will have to wait to know whether it is possible to get an update.
Why? Google deliberately backs away after releasing a certain version Android software kits. After that, it is up to the cell phone manufacturer to decide which devices it wants to upgrade. The manufacturer will then test the new Android version for compatibility and make some arrangement with cellphone carriers to push out OTA (over-the-air) updates. Manufacturers that tend to add enhancements and modification on the existing Android platform like Samsung, Motorola, and HTC also add another layer of complexity which can delay or even prevent OS updates as engineers need to tailor and test new codes.
Nexus One used a stock version of Android 2.1 (Eclair) and now it is upgradeable to Android 2.2 (Froyo). Consequently, Nexus One owners have a better chance of getting a Gingerbread update. Owners of other Android devices may need to twiddle their thumbs for months or even forever for the first OTA updates.