Google finally took Gingerbread out of the oven, revealing Android 2.3 along with its new Nexus S phone. Tablet fans hoping for slate-friendly operating system may be disappointed, however, as the incremental update offers a host of minor improvements and features, but not the long-rumored tablet support.
Google is touting Android 2.3 as the “fastest version of Android yet,” with a focus centered on game development, open media format and tool support for content creators, and bringing new forms of communication to the open operating system.
For users, that means Android application developers will soon be creating better games, near field communications support, tools with integrated VoIP, better cut and paste and more video conferencing via front-facing cameras. Android smartphone owners can also expect improved cut and paste functionality, better orientation via improved gyroscope support, a better download manager as well as a new task manager, and a new keyboard that supports multitouch.
Not the Tablet OS
Until recently, many believed Gingerbread would mark a major update from Android 2.2 (Froyo) to Android 3.0, and it would be suited specifically for tablet hardware. That included higher-resolution display technology for larger screens and a user interface that takes advantage of larger screen real estate.
Android Froyo supports a maximum screen resolution of 854 × 480. The Samsung Galaxy Tab shipped with version 2.2 and it has a 1024 × 600 touchscreen. However, this required a custom modification of the operating system, and many Android Market apps still display in lower resolution with a black box filling in the blank space.
News emerging from the last few months correctly indicated that Gingerbread would be an incremental update, and that the next major update, Android 3.0, codenamed Honeycomb, would be the tablet OS. Motorola, makers of the popular Droid smartphone, is rumored to be working closely with Google and may be the first to release a Honeycomb tablet.
Gingerbread Video Tour
More Information on Android 2.3
TabletPCReview’s sister site, Brighthand, has detailed information on Gingerbread, including detailed explanations on the gaming, communications and multimedia functionality.