Gingerbread is the latest and greatest flavor of the Android operating system from Google.
Days,having progressed with dark leaks and rumours, finally has seen the light. Gingerbread is launched along with the second Nexus phone from google called Nexus S, made by samsung. This must not be a surprise because of being repeatedly leaked by engadget.
First lets get to the device which runs the new android Gingerbread which is supposed to bring in some nice improvements.
This is the Nexus S :
Lets have a look at some nice intro videos first :
Now,lets talk hardware.The Nexus S,is,in my opinion,exactly similar to the galaxy S in terms of hardware specs.
It has :
* A 4 inch Super Amoled display with a capacitive muti touch screen
* A hummingbird processor with 512 MB of RAM and 16 GB onboard storage, no micro SD card here
* The camera is 5 Megapixels.
If you wanna know about other specs, you can literally use the galaxy s spec sheet.Even the same plastic is used, which in my opinion, is a finger print magnet and gives a cheap feel to the phone.
You can fairly say that the nexus is the galaxy S in terms of hardware , with a pure google experience on board, which the galaxy S seemingly lacks.
Eventhough the inner hardware is all same, they have made some subtle changes to the looks and feel of the phone. The device features a contour display, don’t confuse it with the real S-Amoled display, they are talking about the screen. The screen is contoured at the ends so, the glass is actually curved not the display. What are the advantages ? well, you get a comfortable placement both in your hands as well as in your face while talking.
Now, the main differentiator in hardware from the Galaxy S is the inclusion of the NFC chip for which support is added in Gingerbread. As of now the functionality is limited. You can collect tags by just placing your phone near the NFC transmitter enabled tag. No handshake, and completely no user interference needed, just wave your phone near the tag and you can see that in your phone.Best demo’ed by this video :
Now lets get to the software part :
The Nexus S comes pre-loaded with Gingerbread, code name for Android version 2.3. We had seen that froyo is on its way to be the most used Android flavor, just now and guess what, it is going to change soon, again. But it will take some time for vendors to add their own custom UI. Anyway, there should be no fragmentation worries since this update is just evolutionary not revolutionary. Let us see what gingerbread brings us in terms of improvements :
First of all, lets see the new face of android, its slicker new UI has some subtle changes, made and looks much more pleasant than its earlier versions. Some serious changes you can notice are, Black notification bar(instead of the old white one) better touch response (means lesser lag while scrolling, see iOS,WP7 levels of smoothness) and some subtle animations(end of a list while scrolling gives an orange glow), new icons (redesigned for a better look) and some very subtle graphics changes like smooth edges and a nice new colour for options menu (the basic options menu is now black and every other menu is subtly dimmed down to a lesser gray rather than white). These , as you can imagine is like they have done a nip and tuck beautification of the UI. of course, you might have seen the new CRT like locking animation, demoed by eric schmidt.
And now, what are the advancements in the core OS ? Have a look at this video :
Better gaming performance, which has been some constraint for android till now, has been remedied to an extent by providing api access to literally everything in a native robust environment.Better event handling is the mantra right now. I guess this is a boon for the PSP phone, which is heavily based on gaming. Lets hope android lives up to the expectations of the spoilt iOS gamers and also the critics. Another stress, is the use of open multimedia formats and better audio manipulation for effects like bass boost and reverb. Also, now android supports native internet video calling. And all the APIs are now available for the developers with the new SDK.And the support for NFC, no big surprise there.
Other advancements include a new multi touch keyboard, support for gyroscope, new download manager and a better cut-paste method.
As you can see, the new flavor actually enhances the android experience. Now, i finally believe android is maturing.
Now why would you want this phone ? Purely for the Google experience without modifications. You get the updates first and that makes you feel good, doesnt it ? if you were happy with nexus one, you would be probably happy with Nexus S too. And Google has confirmed that Nexus one will get gingerbread too.
The Nexus S unlocked sells at 529$ and on T-mobile (contract) : 199$
Now, on other news, gingerbread finds its way on other rooted devices like the HTC evo 4g, wildfire and motorola Droid Eris. This has been accomplished by none other than the famous fellas at XDA developers forum.If you own any one of these devices hit the links below to install it at your own risk.
And if you want only the new multi touch keyboard, you can get that too. All links given below.