Android 2.3, Android 3.0: Whatever codename Google finally gives it, Android Gingerbread is coming, with insiders claiming it’ll be unleashed on 11th November. Still not het up about this latest bump to Google’s mobile OS? Then here are ten reasons why you really should be.
1 Video chat will be baked right in
With FaceTime giving Apple plenty to shout about, Google is set to fire back by putting video chat skills at the centre of Android Gingerbread. That should mean a dedicated app to rival Apple’s effort, but with fewer shackles to stop you using it as you please. Apple might think it’s got video chat sewn up, but Google will have something to say about that.
2 Google Apps will feel like part of the OS
One of Android’s biggest failings has been the tendency for Google apps to appear less like constituent, essential parts of the OS and more like basic add-ons. Phandroid recently claimed that Google’s suite of apps would be overhauled so that their designs matched up, giving them a more unified, iOS-style feel.
3 It’ll take the fight back to Apple
iOS 4.1 and 4.2 have both grabbed the initiative in the smartphone space in recent months. Gingerbread will give Android a welcome boost in the crucial pre-Christmas period, as well as giving the Big G some important mindshare amongst those who still haven’t plumped for a side in the smartphone wars.
4 The design is set to be less cluttered
Android is ace, but iOS really does batter it when it comes to look and feel. However, Gingerbread is set to bring a revamped notifications bar, as well as that Android green colour rather than the dull slate grey, which can feel tired and a little awkward. And with Palm’s one-time webOS UI man now working for Google, we can expect a much sleeker experience.
5 It points to an end to custom skins
Chatter about deeper social networking integration and a slicker UI has been in abundance since Gingerbread was first talked up in the summer. The implication is that OEMs will no longer feel the need to use custom skins. By extension, this means the wait for updates in the future should be cut substantially.
6 We’ll see what Android tablets will really look like
Google has been keen to point out that FroYo isn’t really made for tablets, while insinuating that Gingerbread is. While tablets using the new version of the OS aren’t due until January, its release should give us a clear indicator as to what proper Android iPad rivals will really be like.
7 It’ll cause rivals to up their game
Never underestimate a new OS’s power to give rivals a scare and, consequently, give them a push to deliver newer and better services. Gingerbread will influence Apple’s plans for iOS 4.x and beyond, while Nokia will doubtless be looking to how it can include similar features in nexts year’s MeeGo.
8 Speed will be the key
Word is that only phones running 512MB of RAM and 1GHz processors will be invited to the Gingerbread party. That raises queries about fragmentation, but also means devices using the OS will be at the very top of the pile when it comes to speed.
9 New phones aplenty
Sure, we’ve only just got to grips with the HTC Desire HD and Desire Z, while the Galaxy S has only just got Android 2.2. But there’ll be new phones using the OS. Rumours of a Samsung made “Nexus Two”, offering a clean install of Gingerbread, are rife. Expect more new efforts as Christmas nears.
10 Your current Android phone will get even more features
If your phone fits the spec, then Gingerbread could be about to make you fall in love with your ageing handset all over again. Just don’t expect Samsung, HTC and Sony Ericsson et al to get anything out and about for a good few months yet.