Android 2.3 arrives in Google Nexus S handset

A new version of Google’s Android operating system for slates and smartphones has arrived. Otherwise known as Gingerbread, Android 2.3 promises a host of new goodies, including tweaks to make the user interface "easier to learn, faster to use, and more power-efficient." Based on what I’ve seen from Android-based devices, the UI is a definite step behind what’s available with webOS and iOS. The latest revision should be an improvement, although I suspect some handset makers are going to continue slapping their own interface on top of what Google provides.

In addition to streamlining the UI, Google has revamped Android’s on-screen keyboard, made it easier for users to monitor the power consumption of applications and OS components, added support for SIP-based internet calling, and developed an application that can read near-field communications tags. More interesting is the laundry list of enhancements aimed at improving gaming on Android-based devices. The OS update includes updated graphics drivers that are said to improve 3D performance, API support for gyroscopes and other motion sensors, and a new "garbage collector" that’s said to smooth animations and increase responsiveness by minimizing application pauses. Speaking of responsiveness, Google also claims that Android 2.3 handles touch and keyboard input more efficiently than previous versions, making games and other applications feel snappier.

All this gaming goodness lends further credibility to rumors that Android 2.3 is coming to a Sony smartphone that will wear PlayStation branding. Such a device could be announced as early as this week, although there’s been no official confirmation from Sony. In the meantime, you can get your hands on Android 2.3 in Google’s new Nexus S handset, which features a 1GHz "Hummingbird" Cortex A8 CPU, a 4" 480×800 Super AMOLED screen, 16GB of solid-state storage, and a claimed 6.7 hours of 3G talk time.

Comments closed
    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    I really feel that android as a platform could benefit from a overhaul in the way they roll out patches vs. updates. Every little tick in the OS meter seems to be such a big deal both in what it adds and how many devices don’t support the new updates. If only they integrated the incrimental updates into the OS better. Why should 2.2 not universally update to 2.3 honestly. I could understand 2.9 not going to 3.0 but I think anyone using 2.0 should be covered for all 2.X updates on all android devices. That is probably the biggest issue I have with Android as a platform right now. If you resolved that it would solve pretty much all the other issues that I and techreport in general have with android.

    • twizttid13
    • 9 years ago

    Still waiting for 2.2 for Galaxy S Fascinate…

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    Yeah, once it comes with Medfield, I’ll think about it.

    • axeman
    • 9 years ago

    Umm. WebOS is great? Oh yeah, so was BeOS. It’s practically abandonware, who cares. And iOS, it’s great… so long as you want exactly what Steve Jobs decides you want.

    • DancinJack
    • 9 years ago

    I really wish they’d make a CDMA (or LTE) version of the Nexus.

    • Tumbleweed
    • 9 years ago

    Nexus S: No HSPA+, no MicroSD slot (!), no dual core.

    No thanks. I’ll wait for the true next generation of cellphones to be announced at CES next month. NFC is great, but that’s the _only_ new thing in this phone other than Android 2.3, and they left out things that other phones currently have. Crazy.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 9 years ago

    Yay! More Android segmentation *sigh*

      • spuppy
      • 9 years ago

      The segmentation “problem” is exactly what makes Android so great. My sister’s $200 LG Optimus can run just about everything my Desire HD can run. Not with the same performance of course, but the fact that she can experience Android for much less than a typical “iphone competitor” is a huge advantage IMO

    • TaBoVilla
    • 9 years ago

    you know what? the true innovation I’m really waiting for, either from google people, apple whatever is:

    ** HIGH QUALITY SOUND VOICE CALLS **
    quality voice audio (high quality mic, high speed data connection 64k or something needed, and high quality not so shitty ear speakers etc)

    IT’S 2011 GOD DAMIT! I want to HEAR people like it’s 2011, not like 1911’s 4khz which equates to 2-8kbits/s or something, we should be able to really hear people, clearly.

    mic and current networks (fixed land line interconnects to current infrastructure) could be probably the culprit, we need to move celular and land communications over to complete IP data solutions. Mates, we’ll have over 300Mbits on future 4G systems to download apps, videos, movies pictures porn etc, yet we can’t dedicate atleast 20kbit for proper voice transport is beyond me.

      • blastdoor
      • 9 years ago

      Very good point. It is pretty absurd that landlines still sound so much better than cell phones. Of course, the sheer crappiness of most bluetooth headsets only exacerbates the problem, but still…

      • jwb
      • 9 years ago

      Have you used a Nexus One? The voice performance is exemplary. And given that the Nexus S supports SIP I would say your claim that nobody is paying attention to voice isn’t true.

        • ChronoReverse
        • 9 years ago

        Nexus One’s have a secondary noise canceling mic. I didn’t even realize it made such a difference until my brother mentioned that the sound quality from my phone sounded so much clearer (on the same network).

      • ew
      • 9 years ago

      I’ll second this! Have you ever tried a Skype-to-Skype voice call? The audio quality beats the pants off any POTS or cell call.

      • axeman
      • 9 years ago

      Wait, you can make voice calls with phones now?

        • DrCR
        • 9 years ago

        No, but they got text to speech. 😉

    • Forge
    • 9 years ago

    Ok, I snarked at the typo before I watched the video. That first presenter… His accent is so thick it’s almost not English anymore. Google, thank you for the subtitles.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    I never felt that android was the issue, but rather the phone maker and carriers not keeping them up to date and all on a level playing field. If you look out there you can still find phones selling that don’t have android 2, let alone 2.3. At that how many phones with outdated OSes are gonna support OS updates? If everyone was on the same page I think that would go along way towards promoting the platform. Why phones release with outdated OSes and no support for updates is beyond me. Alot of phone design seems to be extremely short sighted.

    • Forge
    • 9 years ago

    q[

      • blastdoor
      • 9 years ago

      Maybe a giant L2 cache? 🙂

    • lex-ington
    • 9 years ago

    Why would Android be considered a “step behind” the other OSes? From what I see from my wife’s ipod with the latest iOS on it to my HTC Desire with 2.2 on it, there is little in the way of differencing – both are snappy and it truly depends on whether you like iTunes or not.

    I hate iTunes, so does this mean that Android and WebOS is a step ahead? I hate the fact that everything has to be converted to apple’s standards where I can just put an .avi file on my phone and just watch it – does that mean that Android, WebOS and BB’s OS is a step ahead?

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 9 years ago

      I couldn’t agree more.

      • GTVic
      • 9 years ago

      The author says “based on what I’ve seen”, so it sounds like he doesn’t have enough experience to make a reasonable comparison. Probably should have kept his critique to himself.

      • Flatland_Spider
      • 9 years ago

      The Nexus S is using the native Android interface. Your HTC is using HTC’s custom interface,and HTC is known to have to really good interface designers on their payroll.

      Zune/WIndows Phone also has a better interface then any iOS devices.

      If you subtract the hype, Apple interfaces are really sub-par. They never evolve, and they are stuck with design concepts no matter how bad they may be.

        • spuppy
        • 9 years ago

        Furthermore, if you don’t like the stock interface (or the one that came with your phone) you can hit up the market for a replacement. For instance, LauncherPro takes everything that is good about HTC Sense, and makes it smoother and less clunky. ADW is very nice as well. Some manufacturers even put theirs up on the market, such as LG.

          • axeman
          • 9 years ago

          iOS changed the “smartphone” landscape a lot. It is very important in that respect, the original iPhone came out less than 4 years ago. But somehow that’s made it the gold standard, making people think that anything works differently must be inherently inferior, solely because they expect things to be iOS-like. But nevermind anything it couldn’t do, like cut-and-paste until the 3rd major version of the software. Because if iOS didn’t do that, obviously you didn’t need it. Maybe it’s a typical story of first to market winning not only the market share, but also gaining the majority “mind share”. The development of Android was in full swing when iPhone came out, but the first commercially available Android handset came out much later. It’s like PS2 vs. Xbox and PS3 vs. Xbox 360, etc. Being first matters a lot more than being better, at least in cases where the “better” product is not dramatically so.

      • LawrenceofArabia
      • 9 years ago

      I also disagree with the TR crew’s assessment of the Android platform (mainly Scott’s). Having sold both Android and iOS devices (not for any carrier mind you), the two platforms are extremely competitive with each other. That isn’t taking into account stuff like HTC sense either.

      Android is already there on UI usability, I personally can’t stand the iOS and Samsung Touchwiz app menus, there was far too much information on screen which sends me endlessly searching for a single app. Luckily Apple fixed this somewhat with folders in iOS, but I still prefer the customization available on Android home screens.

      Keep news as news. I know we’ve got three iPhones and a Palm Pre on the TR crew, but judgments about the mobile space shouldn’t be made without some real hands on time.

        • pdjblum
        • 9 years ago

        Ditto that big time.

        • kc77
        • 9 years ago

        I second this… I’ve set up quite a few phones and while you could (as in possible) make a case of Android vs iPhone, really at the end of the day it comes down to preference for Apple products versus usability.

        Now Web OS better than Android in usability? That really is just not even remotely possible. The Pre to my knowledge has the best iteration and it woefully lacks in social media capability something that the Iphone and Android both do rather well. It’s no where near as customizable. It’s browser (while both use Webkit) is slower than molasses in July and it’s Active Sync support is about where Android was in 1.6. It’s there but that’s all that it is.

      • Da_Boss
      • 9 years ago

      For the record, you can just put an .avi file into your iPhone, given the right app. You still need iTunes, but it’s very much a drag and drop procedure. This kind of thing was allowed in iOS 4.

      As for the remark about Android UI, I agree that it’s very much a personal decision. That being said, I think that there are flaws that arise in Android’s UI that are more a result of Android business model and design philosophy than poor implementation.

      For example, our company makes iPhone and Android apps, and when I speak to devs, they all seem to agree that iOS’ strength is in it’s strictness. They’re, relative to Android, VERY specific on how UI should be implemented so that there is a consistent feel between apps. Apparently, Android doesn’t quite share this trait. So what you’ll get is an platform that’s less strict, but less consistent.

      Secondly, it doesn’t help that every manufacturer has a take on ‘Android’ and most users are left to distinguish between what appears to be different dialects of the same language, so to speak.

      Also, the accumulation of stray files and programs have the “potential” of being very hard on CPU and memory if not properly managed. This can be an issue with Apple too, but not to the same extent, due to how background services are handled (again, more strict). The result of this can be potentially sluggish performance over time. Don’t take my word for it, try this. You won’t see any articles like this for your iPhone:

      §[<http://www.tested.com/news/when-you-should-give-your-android-phone-a-factory-reset/1409/<]§ Anyways, I'm not trying to start a fire. I just wanted to point out that if enough people opine that something is better in a certain way that another, sometimes (only sometimes) this can be seen as evidence of fact.

        • mattthemuppet
        • 9 years ago

        /[

          • axeman
          • 9 years ago

          And said app probably isn’t in the app store, so you have to jailbreak it.

            • poulpy
            • 9 years ago

            Nowadays there’s no need to root the phone as VLC is on the market and allows you to just drag & drop your regular divx file.
            But to be fair this has only been available since November of this year..
            Music/Movies/Pictures management is so much better on Android where you don’t have to make do with the nightmare that is iTunes.

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    Hmm, parts of that look suspiciously like /[

      • funko
      • 9 years ago

      which parts? I’ve used 2.1 to 2.2 and now 2.3 on my N1, and i dont see a huge change in UI, so the ‘look’ is still mostly the same since 2009, and arguably 2008.

    • Dposcorp
    • 9 years ago

    Darn you, Samsung, where’s my 2.2 for my Epic 4g?

      • Farting Bob
      • 9 years ago

      Im guessing that most smartphones by the same company will require the same drivers since its very similar inside. Why it takes some months to get around to updating a very high end, new phone i dont know. And if you have a phone that didnt cost $300+ or is more than 6 months old it seems like a game of roulette as to whether or not you’ll ever get an update.

        • poulpy
        • 9 years ago

        Telcos tend to lose interest in handsets already sold with customers hooked on for another 12/18/24 months I guess..
        Also becomes more complicated when you have -say- HTC Sense as they first wait for Google to release the cake then they work on adapting their take on interface/widgets/etc then only after they release that your telco can start delaying any OTA update..
        If the mobile is already 6 months old I’d root it and install what I want, your hardware is more than capable to run Gingerbread.

      • Goty
      • 9 years ago

      l[

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