Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gingerbread May be Ready to Come Out of Google's Oven

Finally it looks like Google is ready to serve up Android 2.3 nicknamed Gingerbread to its users. This a long awaited update as it should bring Android into a more competitive position with Apple and their juggernaut iPhone iPad combo. And with the features that most expect Android will offer most if not all of the features that Apple currently offers in its i line of products. The real question is will the Android driven pad computer offer the iPad's features but not require a data plan for most users. If it does it could make a real cost saving advantage that the iPad would have a problem answering as you can bet that At&T and Verizon aren't going to like the iPad trying to undercut their data plan sales. And if Google Voice is part of the deal then you have a pad computer that can work without a data plan and make a reasonable cell phone replacement all at the same time and all using Google services and software. That could be a true market changer as many would welcome a change to reduce their cell phone and data plan charges without losing any features or services. So the only question is just when will we all get to sample some of that Gingerbread Google's had in the oven. With gingerbread cookies in the shape of the Android logo showing up on some Google sites you can bet it won't be long.

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Google Signals Android 2.3 'Gingerbread' is Done Baking

Google has dropped yet another clue that the company's next iteration of its Android mobile operating system is ready to be served up to users—literally. The official Google Mobile Twitter account now links to a rather suspicious image of a plethora of gingerbread cookies that have been baked in the style of, you guessed it, the Android logo.

The culinary move comes in the wake of Google's first big clue that Gingerbread was nearing release—the launch of a giant Gingerbread man in the front of the company's Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. It's been a longstanding tradition that larger-than-life replications of the company's mobile OS codenames, all conveniently themed around delicious desserts, get added to the ever-expanding "sculpture gallery" at Google.

So what, then, can users expect to see upon the ideally imminent release of the upgraded OS? According to Phandroid, the user interface has been shuffled around a bit to the benefit of Android's native applications—they'll now appear as more integrated parts of the operating system, rather than add-on accessories in the same styling of a conventional downloaded application.

Video chat is allegedly integrated into the Gingerbread OS—a move that wastes no time in arriving, given Apple's push toward making its Facetime video chatting service an industry standard. Provided carriers allow it, Google also allegedly intends to integrate VoIP service directly into its mobile OS.

While that might not be as big a deal for the mobile market, the cost of data plans being what they are, it would be quite a line in the sand for future tablet devices based on the Android OS. After all, one could then pick up an iPad-like device without having to pony up monthly fees to a carrier for any communications or data. Integrated wireless connectivity could solve the latter, and integrated Voice over IP functionality (through Google Voice?) could theoretically allow the tablet to serve as a kind-of phone replacement, if necessary.

There's no official release date for Gingerbread, nor the Samsung Nexus S—a device originally rumored to be hitting the market this month, and one whose front-facing camera would be an ideal match for the aforementioned Android 2.3 features. With pictures of both currently making rounds in the market, however, it's safe to say that the Gingerbread Man is coming soon to Android users soon. And, with luck, he'll have some new hardware for his features to actually work with.


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