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The hype of Android's next version update (2.3) has died down quite a bit since all of the rumored SDK release dates have blown past us without any trace of that tasty Gingerbread. But some of us are still waiting [im]patiently. A good indication of it's imminent release was witnessed by thousands yesterday in a video, posted by Google itself, showing off the Voice Search function of Android.

It appears that they slipped a little glimpse of what we believe may be the fabled Gingerbread in the video (it has since been pulled from their YouTube channel). The darkened notification bar and the matching icons at the bottom of the screen are dead giveaways. This isn't the first time we've seen this interface. The anticipated shaky, blurry, fuzzy, low-light pictures have found their way to headlines before, but nothing that really gave us a good look. The UI got about two minutes of fame in the video, and to be honest, I'm not impressed.

The very first iteration of Android was a nice change from all of the other mobile user interfaces we had all grown accustomed to. The BlackBerry interface was very engineered and boring, the iPhone was simplistic with brilliant colors but no functionality beyond arranging your icons on different homepages. You get the point; Android brought a new thought process to the table and genuinely wowed a lot of people with its fancy widgets and ease of customization. We saw some nice UI changes when Android made the step from versions1.x to 2.x. The application page was transformed – from a drawer-style display that hid off-page – to a separate page altogether. Visuals overall were improved and the icons were updated accordingly.

If in fact the user interface in the video was Gingerbread, I will be disappointed in Google. I feel as if Google is taking a step in the wrong direction. The UI made a transition from a more polished, more distinguished interface to a cheap-looking and toy-like. For one, the ugly, washed-out green they're now using is plastered all over; from the updated notification bar, to the icons, and even the settings page. Android has always used a lot of green, I actually like the normal green in doses, but the new UI is disgusting, so is the new green they're using (I'm not talking about the wallpaper). It could, of course, be the quality of the video, and contrast of the picture, but it matches the color in the other pictures. It looks like they're using a brighter, more saturated green that gives the interface a very “cheap” look, as do the more squared edges and the saturated gray color of the launcher buttons.

I was expecting great things from Google and the Gingerbread update, and I'm sure there are a lot of changes under the hood, but my first visual impressions are not so good. Thankfully, we have home replacement applications in the Market and Google still has a chance to redeem themselves with their “major UI overhaul” said to be coming with Honeycomb. What are your thoughts on the new UI in Gingerbread? Yay or nay? What would you change about it?


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