Device operating systems

Android Bakes Its Gingerbread

1:45 PM -- After much ado, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s latest operating system release, Android 2.3, is fully baked. The update, dubbed Gingerbread, debuted today along with its lead device Nexus S, bringing with it a number of updates sure to make the lesser OSes jealous. (See Google Tries Unlocked Again With Nexus S.) Gingerbread's most notable new features include:

  • Improved game development, perhaps in preparation for the rumored Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications PlayStation phone. (See Device Watch: T-Mobile Gets Galaxy Tab Sans HSPA+.)
  • Support for tablet form factors, although Google stopped short of announcing any tablets to carry it. (See Moto Looks to Diversify, Build on Android Success.)
  • Near-field communications (NFC) support, an important update when more phones have NFC chips on board
  • Integrated voice-over-IP support for calling direct from the OS;
  • Video calling support on the new Nexus S, through its front-facing camera
  • Better power management
  • Multitouch and a faster keyboard input
  • Integrated task manager

Google elaborates on the updates in the video below:

Google said last week that 83 percent of its devices now run Android version 2.1 or 2.2, positive progress in lessening the effects of fragmentation that is now voided by Gingerbread's emergence on the scene. (See OS Watch: Samsung, King of Androids.)

But, that being said, it's easily Google's most impressive, fastest OS yet. Developers will be happy that it also comes with a new software development kit to tap the new features.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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