Google Android 2.3 platform will be released to open source in the coming weeks. New features include NFC capability, improved speed, UI and graphics for gaming.
Google introduced its Android 2.3 platform SDK Dec. 6,
with plans to release the Gingerbread platform to open source in a few weeks.
Gingerbread, as the platform is codenamed, is featured on
the forthcoming Samsung Nexus S smartphone. The handset is launching
online from T-Mobile and from Best Buy stores for $199 with a contract, or $529
With the SDK and NDK available now
, developers will be able to leverage the new platform technologies and
APIs to write modern applications.
of Android 2.3 include faster performance, a better user interface
and an NFC Reader app for "near field communications" short-range
This app lets users swipe an NFC tag that might be
embedded in a poster, sticker or advertisement with a phone, such as the
NFC-enabled Nexus S, then act on the data read from the tag.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt
recently he expects Android developers to write mobile payment apps to
leverage this technology from Android 2.3. NFC chipmaker NXP has made
its open-source software stack "fully integrated and validated on
Android 2.3 boosts game development capabilities.
Taking a page from Apple's iOS 4, Google added
a gyroscope to let developers include "precise motion processing." Game
applications can use readings from a gyroscope and accelerometer on the device
to recognize tilt, spin, thrust and slice motions.
Android 2.3 features a fresh concurrent garbage collector
that minimizes application hiccups in graphically intensive applications such
as games. Gingerbread also uses fresh third-party video drivers for faster
3D graphics performance.
Gingerbread also supports Google's new VP8 and WebM video
formats. Audio effects,
such as reverb, equalization, headphone virtualization and bass boost, are also
The user experience should be better, too.
The Android soft keyboard has been redesigned for faster,
more accurate text input and editing. The keyboard also displays the current
character and dictionary suggestions in a larger style. There is one-touch
word copy-and-paste capability.