The evolution of the Android operating system involves lots of high technology and a bunch of goofy dessert-based nicknames.
This week, Google unveiled Gingerbread (Android 2.3), which will have to do until version Android 3.0 is ready; that's Honeycomb-which is the bigger release that this ZDNet post said is coming next year. It is, however, a step beyond Froyo (frozen yogurt); that's the current highest version, Android 2.2.
Despite the fact that the Google world is waiting for Honeycomb, observers seem happy to have something to talk about. Several like Gingerbread, though Anders Bylund at Motley Fool was less than impressed. He positions Gingerbread as mostly a bridge between Froyo and Honeycomb:
Alas, this particular dish seems a bit underdone. Feel free to stick with Froyo (2.2) if you have it, or wait for next year's Honeycomb (3.0) if you want something groundbreaking. This one's mostly a bug-fixer.
It should be noted, however, that he doesn't criticize Gingerbread. Instead, he seems to feel that it doesn't do too much.
Gingerbread will be the OS on the Samsung Nexus S, which will be released next week. For users, the new operating system features such upgrades as a new on-screen keyboard, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based international calling, near-field communications (NFC) and download management, the story says. Developer features include a new version of the Native Development Kit, Java speed ups, faster event distribution and multimedia. A more graphical look at these and other features is available at Expert Reviews.
The impending arrival of Honeycomb was heralded by Andy Rubin, Google's vice president of engineering. Techland reports that Rubin used Honeycomb-not Gingerbread-when he displayed a prototype tablet this week at the All Things Digital conference. The site says that the device also has a NVIDIA 3D graphics chip. The story says that the tablet will use on-screen buttons that re-orient themselves for horizontal and vertical operation. Honeycomb will be applicable for both tablets and phones. Tablet-specific operations will be enabled by "fragments."
Following Google and Android is dizzying. The reason may be the fast and furious pace of introductions, or the sugar from all the operating system code names. In any case, it seems to have battled to rough parity with Apple in the advanced mobile device race.