What to expect from Gingerbread and future Android updates

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| Published: October 22, 2010

Over the past few months, Gingerbread (Android 2.3 as they're now calling it), has been all the buzz from Android users all around. Honeycomb and Ice Cream are making their way to headlines on a weekly basis now as well, but Gingerbread is my main focus as we should see it before we see anything else...I think. Rumor has it that Gingerbread has been reduced to update version 2.3, as opposed to the original 3.0 release we thought it would be.

We have seen the rumored requirements for Gingerbread and the supposed features associated with it. Andy Rubin, founder of Android and Google VP of Engineering, has even spoken up about it, claiming that the update will focus more on different types of communication. We have also seen the release date creep back, starting at October 2010, to January/Q1 2011. There was also a rumor floating around that the SDK would be released by Google this week. That didn't happen, it's Friday and we haven't heard a peep.

Now we have an unidentified Google employee telling us that "Android 2.3 is a 'major release.'" I don't expect anything major from the release even though that's what it's technically considered. The "redesigned UI" will probably be more or less a "refined" UI. Things will look cleaner and more polished, but we probably won't see any extensive revamping. The alleged Gingerbread leaked image really didn't look too different from Android 2.2. I could be wrong, but why relegate from a 3.0 update to 2.3? If you're redesigning the UI, wouldn't you like to separate versions a little more?All fingers point to the rumored UI overhaul being included in the Honeycomb update. Although, there were some fairly large differences in the user interfaces between Eclair (2.1) and Froyo (2.2).

From the way tablet rumors have been churning and pointing to demo units being at CES in January, we could see Honeycomb before Gingerbread (unless the SDK does get released), which just baffles me. The dates are so close and neither remotely confirmed, so it's really difficult to know beyond the shadow of a doubt. How appropriate would it be for Gingerbread to release for the Christmas holiday though? It's very arduous work trying to piece all of these rumors together, especially since each one seems to be pointing in a different direction. That is, for one, why you must take these rumors with the appropriate dose of salt, and when a date is dropped, allow for six or more months of pushing back. So, what do I make of it all? For one, I think the UI will primarily stay the same, no "overhaul," yet. We will probably see some of the communication differences as stated by Rubin, like video chat via Google Talk, Google Voice calls over Wi-Fi, etc. Is it anything to lose sleep over? No, save that for Honeycomb. What say you guys? Will Gingerbread be a major change or just some slight differences?