Android Gingerbread Coming Soon, Android Market Set for Major Update

Android users have been anxiously anticipating the next update of the mobile operating system. Android Gingerbread, previously thought to be version 3.0, will actually be version 2.3. At the recent Web 2.0 Summit, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that Android Gingerbread would be coming in the next few weeks.

Android Gingerbread is supposed to be packing some pretty slick features. Near-field communication (NFC) will allow you to check-in and/or make payments by tapping or bumping your phone at a location. In addition to other more basic enhancements, there has also been talk of face recognition. Android and Me says we will see more powerful motion processing, like a Wii controller:

In Gingerbread, Google is planning to add several new sensor fusion APIs including quaternion, rotation matrix, linear acceleration and gravity. It sounds confusing, but developers will finally be able to leverage the benfits of the gyroscope working together with the accelerometer and magnetometer.

On a related note, the Android Market will be closed to developers for 6 hours this Friday as it receives a major update. Consumers will still be able to use the Market, but developers will need to take this time to make sure their apps meet the new features and requirements to be listed in the Market.

Follow us through the jump for the full email, but the new requirements now include a “feature graphic” of 1024 x 500 resolution, a 512 x 512 high-res icon, two screenshots (increasing to 8 in the future), and a link to a promotional YouTube video.
While the new Android Market will undoubtedly look a lot nicer, the addition of a video to promote the app and a new “recent changes” section will make the Market a lot easier to navigate. I always thought it odd that I needed to leave the market to figure out what features and fixes were in an update for an app. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak offered some choice words on the Android platform in a recent interview, in which he basically concedes that Android will win the smartphone race much like Windows ended up dominating the desktop:
Woz then moved on to the topic of Android saying that Android smartphones, not the iPhone, would become dominant, noting that the Google OS is likely to win the race similarly to the way that Windows ultimately dominated the PC world. Woz stressed that the iPhone, “Has very few weak points. There aren’t any real complaints and problems. In terms of quality, the iPhone is leading.” However, he then conceded that, “Android phones have more features,” and offer more choice for more people. Eventually, he thinks that Android quality, consistency, and user satisfaction will match iOS. via Engadget
The Samsung Nexus S will probably be the first phone to feature Android Gingerbread. Of course, most of us will have to wait for our carriers to catch up, but I suspect this latest Android OS update might push more impatient Android users to root.
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