Android OS 2.3 has just been officially unveiled. Google’s main goals in the next version of its operating system for smartphones were improving the user interface, adding support for new types of communication, plus fostering games development.
Its developer says this version of the Android OS, code-named Gingerbread, is the fastest yet. Plus, Google has also tweaked the user interface of its operating system a bit.
The process for cut-and-paste has also been enhanced with the aim of ending the need for a trackball or D-pad. Pressing on a word enters a free-selection mode — the user can adjust the selection area as needed by dragging a set of bounding arrows to new positions, then copy the selected text by pressing anywhere in the selection area.
New Communication Methods
Support for multiple cameras has been built into Android OS 2.3, with an eye toward video conferencing. However, the rumored Google Talk client is not included. Basically, Google has provided the tools developers need to create video chat applications, but not provided its own app.
The new version also has support for VoIP/SIP software. Users will need to subscribe to a SIP service, however.
In addition, support for Near Field Communication (NFC) technology has been added to Android OS 2.3. This allows users to read information off of everyday objects like stickers and posters that are embedded with NFC chips.
Improvements for Gaming
The exact enhancements made to improve gaming on this platform are highly technical, but they are intended to bring smoother animation and increased responsiveness.
To make high-end games possible, Google is giving developers greater access to native APIs. Without these, apps are restricted to running in the Dalvik virtual machine, a slower but safer method.
Support for a gyroscope has also been added.
New Multimedia Formats
In Android OS 2.3, Google has added support for two new open video standards, Google has added support for VP8 and WebM, two new open video standards.
In addition, support for AAC and AMR wideband encoding is being added.
Along with today’s announcement of Android OS 2.3 came the unveiling of the Samsung Nexus S, which will be the first smartphone to launch with this new operating system version.
A system software upgrade for the Google Nexus One is also expected in the near future, followed at some point later on by upgrades for other models.
Video Discussion of Android OS 2.3
Google has released a video detailing some of the new features in Android OS 2.3: