Android 2.3 Gingerbread is just around the corner. Though we have no solid Android Gingerbread release date, we know it will be out within the next month. We heard a few days ago, from Google’s CEO himself that Gingerbread will be available “in the next few weeks.” Of course CEO speak isn’t quite like people speak, and CEOs can slip up from time to time as we’ve learned before.
Still, we are sure this won’t become the White iPhone 4, and users will have their Gingerbread well before the holidays.
In the big features war between iOS and Android, we know that both are constantly seeing improvements to both operating systems, let’s take a look at what’s coming in Gingerbread:
1) NFC for Mobile Purchases –
This was shown off earlier this week when Google CEO Eric Schmidt showed off the Nexus S. The latest upgrade adds NFC technology, it’s most popular use being the ability to make purchases with your mobile phone much like you would with a credit card. Simply swipe your phone and pay. We are huge fans of the concept.
2) Tablet Compatibility –
This needs to happen. Yes, there are Android-based tablets out there, but the OS is not optimized for it. Google has already made that point. Android happens to work on the Galaxy Tab because, unlike a 10-inch tablet, the device’s screen isn’t significantly bigger than a large phone. Still, when Android is optimized for tablet devices, and App SDKs start letting developers create those HD applications, we truly see how the competition stacks up to the iPad.
3) Refreshed Interface –
While some manufacturers like HTC create their own user interface, there are also many Android handsets that use a stock UI. Unfortunately, the Android interface still needs work when compared to devices such as the iPhone and Windows Phone 7 handsets. That is what Android Gingerbread is going to be. The UI is said to be more consistent throughout and overall a faster, smoother experience than before. This is something we will welcome with open arms. As a bonus, this could get rid of a lot of the third-party junk that bloats the OS.
Like this, but with more Android.
4) Built-in Video Chat –
Video conferencing is cool. We’ve heard that Android 2.3 is going to be adding a built-in video chat. This is a feature that we’ve already seen on the iPhone with the iPhone 4 and FaceTime, and on all compatible handsets through third-party applications such as Fring and Tango. Now, if Google can build a video chat or VOIP capabilities into their new OS, it will give them one more reason to be desired. Especially if they integrate it with Google Voice, which we imagine they would. Bonus points if they can make it compatible across devices, like FaceTime has done.
5) Better implementation for gaming features –
This is another one of those that we see on a rival platforms, but still needs to make its way to Android. Imagine is Gingerbread had enhanced gaming features much like GameCenter is on the iPhone or Xbox LIVE on Windows Phone 7 handsets. Online play, leaderboards, Achievements and so on.
6) Better Updates –
Some Android users know all about this. Your Android firmware updates come from the carriers and manufacturers. This means that the update is in their hands. If they don’t support their users with updates, you just don’t get updates. Even if that meant going with the stock Android interface on the next update. This may be easier said than done, but that’s why we’ve always called it one of the major problems with the Android platform.
7) Google is working on marketplace update, we can only hope this means….
As of the time of this writing, Google still hasn’t come up with a decent payment method and distribution model for Android Apps. Android developers still seem to have a hard time monetizing their Apps. This hurts everybody in the end, if developers can’t make money, they don’t develop. If they don’t develop, users don’t get Apps. Hopefully, the overall experience gets better with Google’s updates.
For now, we can only wait until the OS is released. We hope to see many of these features, some of which have been confirmed already, and others are just things that can lead to a better end-user experience.
What are you most excited about with Android 2.3? Or what do you hope to see with the new update?