Tuesday 7 December 2010

Nexus S and Gingerbread (2.3) Officially Announced

As expected, today Google announced Android 2.3 Gingerbread and the Nexus S. Android 2.3 is the latest iteration of Google’s popular smartphone platform, and includes a number of immediately apparent graphical changes to the Android 2.2 UI, and a host of under the hood features for developers.

Alongside the Android 2.3 announcement came official confirmation of the Nexus S, which appears to be architecturally very similar to the Galaxy S line of devices, with the notable inclusion of near field communication (NFC) hardware, a 4' curved display, and front facing camera, 16GB of memory. Read more here...

In Wired, they explain what to expect from Android 2.3 (and related devices). The NFC feature will enable new earning paths to Google. In my opinion it will be exploited firstly in US.

If you're feeling brave, dive right into the Android 2.3 Platform Highlights. It's aimed at developers, but most of the main features are spelled out in plain English. Here's a taster:

  • Faster, more intuitive text input -- the default keyboard has been significantly improved, and multi-touch 'key-chording' means faster input

  • UI refinements for simplicity and speed -- the UI has been simplified, with menus and settings now easier to find. It looks like the whole thing will be quite bold and 'primary colored'

  • One-touch word selection and copy/paste -- this one's quite hard to explain, better to look at the two pictures

  • Improved power management -- apps will be automatically closed if they steal a lot of CPU time, and users can now see at a glance which phone components and apps are taking up the most power

  • More ways to communicate -- Internet calling (VoIP/SIP), Near Field Communication and video calling with the front-facing camera are now possible

There's lots of other low-level changes, but I won't bore you with them. It's safe to say that, as I write this, app developers the world over are drooling on their hairy feet. To put it another way, that Sony PlayStation phone that you've seen on Engadget -- it's only possible because of some big changes in Android 2.3's architecture.
With regards to availability, Gingerbread will be open-sourced in the next few weeks. The Nexus S will be available to buy in the US from December 16, and in the UK from the 20th.
There are videos of the phone itself, and some developers getting their nerd on, after the break.

Continue reading Android 2.3 Gingerbread SDK and the Nexus S announced by Google on Download Squad

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