Google Android 3.0, or the Gingerbread build, will feature video chat support, SIP support for Google Voice on Android devices and a major graphical redesign for the operating system.
Now that almost every high-end smartphone has received or is in the process
of receiving the upgrade to Android 2.2, attention turns to Android 3.0, the Gingerbread build optimized for tablet computers.
Thanks to Android-watching blog Phandroid
, the world now knows a bit more.
In addition to what appears to be a major graphical overhaul of
icons and user interface, the biggest confirmed features coming
in Android 3.0 include video chat support leveraging the Google
Talk protocols and SIP support for Google Voice.
SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) in Google Voice will let users receive calls to Google Voice over WiFi and cellular data.
"For those who use Android devices without a voice plan, this means you
can still use your phone as a phone as long as you're near a WiFi
connection," the blog noted. "Nothing groundbreaking considering there
are many VOIP options in the market currently, but it's notable that
Google's adding this support natively."
This shouldn't come as a surprise. Google has shown a knack for porting
technology from existing Web applications and inserting them into other
In fact, Google Voice has already provided a prime example of this with
Google's integration of Google Voice into Gmail to let users call
phones via Gmail.
Google declined to confirm the Gingerbread details when asked, noting
that: "Gingerbread is due out by the end of the year but we have
nothing else to say at this time."
Phandroid offered evidence of a graphical overhaul in a blurry
screenshot, noting that most of the standard icons have been redesigned
for a simpler and cleaner look, speculating that this could be the work
of UI whiz Matias Duarte, who joined Google from Palm in May
Moreover, apps in Android 3.0 will more closely hew to the OS, the blog
said. Specifically, the YouTube app on Android 3.0 will include the
ability to control YouTube Leanback, which provides continuous video
play for Google TV
This is crucial because Android handsets are expected to serve as
another remote control for Google TV beyond the Logitech keyboard
controller and Sony Internet TV and Blu-ray player remote controls.
Of course, what is known is that Android 3.0 has been optimized
for tablet computers, thanks to the well-documented 1,280-by-760 resolution.
Indeed, LG scrapped offering
an Android 2.2 tablet, likely in anticipation of Android 3.0 later this year or early 2011.
Finally, we know Android 3.0 tablets are coming, thanks to Digitimes, which said
Oct. 19 that Google has recently notified its partners that tablet PC
engineer samples for Android 3.0 will appear in December.