Mere months after the launch of Android 2.2, discussions about the impending release of Android 3.0, or "Gingerbread," are gushing. Android 3.0 is rumored to be released sometime in the next few weeks, and will be a significant overhaul of Google's market-dominating smartphone OS -- and may be the first truly tablet-ready iteration of Android.
What to Expect
Phandroid broke the news about Android 3.0 (replete with the lamest, blurriest "leaked" photo I've ever seen). Here's what they say will be included:
- Built-in video chat support: The iPhone 4's FaceTime video chat made a splash -- and Google looks to be right on Apple's heels. In an interview, Andy Rubin, Google's vice president of engineering, said Google is working on integrating video chat into its new OS.
- Death of third-party "bloatware": HTC's Android-powered smartphones have thus far combined HTC's own Sense UI with Android's UI. Apparently this convergence of UI elements will cease with Android 3.0, eliminating Sense, Motorola's Motorblur, and others -- but whether these companies will willingly relinquish their OS creations is contentious.
- Possible mixture of webOS: The lead designer of Palm's webOS joined Google's ranks this year, which may mean Android 3.0 will integrate bits of Palm's gorgeous interface. In addition, Android 3.0 promises a "simpler and cleaner" look for Android, especially with its apps, and the most noticeable change is the notification bar, which will go from bright white to a "warmer slate gray color." The aesthetic overhaul will also subtly integrate the Android brand's recognizable green milieu into the palate.
- Integrated Google apps: Your favorite Google apps -- such as Gmail, Calendar, Maps and YouTube -- will reportedly be less of a "tacked-on accessory" and become an extension of the OS. This eliminates reliance on wireless carriers to roll out Google app updates.
- Increased speed: Like in Android 2.2, 3.0 will use the new Dalvik JIT compiler to allow for better CPU performance, turning Android smartphones into speed freaks.
- Needed: A powerful smartphone: The more features you add, the more powerful the phone will need to be. Android 3.0 won't be a featherweight. According to reports, the OS will require some hefty specs: at least a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB RAM, and 3.5-inch display (4-inch displays and larger require resolutions of at least 1280 x 760).
Sounds good so far, but nothing earth-shattering. What do you think should be wrapped up with 3.0?
Will Android 3.0 be Tablet-Ready?
When LG refused to create a tablet using Android 2.2, it should have given other tablet makers pause. If LG won't use it, why should others? By pumping out Android 2.2-powered tablets, which was indirectly deemed inadequate by LG, is everyone else rushing and therefore hobbling their chances of competing with the iPad?
I highly doubt any impending tablet releases will become "iPad-killers" (that term makes my skin crawl -- ugh!), but if Android 3.0 is all it's cracked up to be, and is worthy of becoming a wide-spread and highly functional tablet OS, Google could take a bite out of Apple.