in June, we
reported Google's plans to launch a major Android update,
"Gingerbread" (Android 3.0), in Q4 2010. Amongst other
things, Gingerbread promised to kill off third-party "bloatware"
like HTC Sense UI and Motoblur, and would only be available for
top-tier devices. Now, thanks to the
folks over at Phandroid,
we have a slightly better idea of what some of those "other
things" may be.
Android-fan website has received some new Gingerbread information
from a "trusted source close to Google," particularly about
some of the graphic enhancements we'll be seeing. As
you may know, the lead designer of Palm's webOS, Martias Duarte,
fled to Google to work on Android last May. While Palm is
struggling amid executive-level shakeups (having been acquired by
HP) and catastrophic sales numbers of its devices, its OS has largely
been praised as sleek and innovative. Analysts saw Duarte's arrival
at Android as a sign that Google would be taking some visual cues
from webOS, and it appears as if they're right.
to Phandroid, most of the visual changes to Gingerbread
thus far are quite subtle. Most of the standard icons, like the
Android debugging icon, have taken on a "simpler and cleaner
look." The overall OS experience is easier on the eyes and the
overall aesthetic has a more uniform feel to it, as if it were
designed in an individual effort.
the changes are most noticeable on the notification bar. Rather than
the bright white notifications present on current Android, they've
taken on a warmer, "slate grey" color. While everything in
the bar itself looks pretty familiar, the carrier branding is more
prominently displayed when the notification tab is pulled down.
much has changed fundamentally on the home screen. One
thing Phandroid points out is that Google is
bringing in more of Android's trademark green into various places
within the OS. The Browser and Dialer buttons at the bottom of the
screen have gone from a muted gray to a bright lime green. But the
familiar orange isn't totally gone, either. One change, in fact,
embraces it. When scrolling through lists, the edges emit an orange
glow and the list bounces back if a top or bottom border is reached
-- similar to the "bouncy" effect on iOS or TouchWiz 3.0.
visual element that Google's been working on is making the Google
apps look and feel more integrated with the OS. For example, the
YouTube app (upgraded to version 2.x) has been reshuffled to make it
more visually appealing and will feature the ability to control the
new "Lean Back" feature. There's even the possibility that
the app will allow control of the feature as it plays on Google TV,
but no details have been given.
it's not all eye candy either. While Android
2.2 significantly boosted app performance thanks to a
Davlik JIT compiler, it's been rumored that Google would be
implementing additional hardware acceleration into Gingerbread.
Though none of these changes/implementations have been confirmed, "it
sounds like that just might be the case with
Gingerbread," Phandroid reports.
in the past, when Google didn't stipulate any hardware requirements,
Gingerbread is implementing minimal hardware requirements (similar to
Windows Phone 7). All Gingerbread-powered devices will be running
on at least a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB RAM, and 3.5" display (4"
displays and larger require resolutions of at least 1280 x 760).
also the addition of "support for video chat using the same
protocols that powers video chat on the desktop version of Google
Talk." SIP support for Google Voice is also added, allowing
users to receive calls on their Google Voice number over WiFi or
though, Gingerbread is said to resemble HTC's Sense UI in terms of
how it changes the stock OS -- meaning it will be much more familiar
than, say, a complete overhaul. Rather, it will have a sleeker, more
in mind that these are still early details and could change or be
greatly added upon in the final build. Google originally aimed for a
Q4 2010 launch for the holiday-theme-named update, but, according
to Phandroid's impressions,
Gingerbread may be pushed to the first part of next year instead.