Smartphones

Android 2.3 'Gingerbread': Feature list, screenshots, and video

On Monday, Google officially unveiled the next version of Android, codenamed "Gingerbread" (version 2.3). Here is a list of new features, as well as screenshots and videos.

On Monday, Google officially unveiled the next version of Android, codenamed "Gingerbread" (version 2.3). Here is a list of new features, as well as screenshots and video.

Improvements and new features

The new stuff in Android 2.3 includes:

  • New UI theme with simpler color scheme
  • Redesigned on-screen keyboard
  • New copy-and-paste functionality
  • Better power management
  • Better application management
  • New downloads manager
  • Near-field communications (NFC) integration
  • SIP calling over the Internet
  • New camera app for accessing multiple cameras
  • Support for extra large screens (i.e. tablets)

Screenshots

The next Android: Screenshots of version 2.3, Gingerbread

Videos

Here is Google's introduction to Android 2.3 for developers:

The first Android 2.3 device will be the Google Nexus S. Here is look at the direction Google is taking with the Nexus S:

Also read

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

34 comments
allreeds
allreeds

Hoping the OTA for the HRC EVO comes soon. With the release of 2.3 for the nexus series...looking forward to the upgrade to 2.3 from 2.2 . Happy Holidays!

Justin James
Justin James

So I've been having issues my my Droid 1... my wife would send me a picture message, and no matter what I tried, I couldn't receive the message. After an hour on the phone with Verizon, and an escalation, they found the problem. Android (at least version 2.2 as implemented on a Motorola Droid) is incapable of displaying a picture if the message does not have the "Subject" filled in. Oh, and my wife *never* fills in this field, because sending picture messages on Android (she has an HTC Droid Eris) is an insanely painful process (slower than an elephant talking a Sunday stroll, for one thing) that discourages you from entering any data you don't have to. As a programmer, I can tell you that this is ridiculous. Who wrote this code, a bunch of comp sci 101 students who don't know how to properly validate data? J.Ja

vindasel
vindasel

I sincerely hope that my Galaxy S gets the 2.3 update from Samsung. Given that the 2.2 for SGS was delayed so long, I am not holding my breath for the 2.3 anytime soon. It would be a real shame if it doesn't materialize at all...the Nexus S and the SGS are so similar in many ways...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

New hardware gets the new OS version. Question is, what old hardware will get the new OS version and how badly will it be butchered by the hardware vendors?

BONVI
BONVI

When will it be available for the Samsung Captivate if ever? We missed the FROYO.

boothby
boothby

Does it sync as effortlessly, wirelessly, and as completely as my old Treo? Does it accept Outlook Notes? Outlook Tasks? Does it allow for more than 255 characters in the Contact's Notes field yet? Wake me when it does.

i<3php
i<3php

What's to stop OEMs from snagging the open-sourced Android, adding their own crapware and locking down features to nickel and dime you for later? Doesn't sound very "open" to me. Oh, my mistake, that's already happening.

cbader
cbader

You need to blame Motorola and not Android.

jcockrell
jcockrell

Samsung doesn't have a good track record when it comes to updates. Look at the Samsung behold 2 they promised 2.1 for the phone and threw us 1.6 and have a nice day. The same thing is going to happen to the Galaxy S line I saw this coming from a mile away, and promised myself I would never by another Samsung Android phone again..

wiggledbits
wiggledbits

If you use something like Touchdown from Nitrodesk for $20 yes (not sure about chars in contacts). I have none of the issues mentioned on my Nexus One but have heard of them on some of the very first ones. If you complained hard enough your vendor gave you a new phone because they knew it was a hardware issue. I do expect that on occasion I will have to reboot my phone but compared to how often I had to do that to my BlackBerry this one is minimal like maybe once a month. As far as bit rot I have no observable slowness over time. Kinda like a PC the more $hit you pile on it and have running in the background the less responsive it becomes. KISS

RipVan
RipVan

I have had a MyTouch for over a year. It wasn't a bad phone to start with, but a couple of weeks ago, it wanted to do a system update. It went to version 2.2.1 I thought it looked better, but it KILLS the battery so fast, it won't go through 8 hours without nearly dying. There were plenty of people who told me about the woes of having to charge their phone all the time and I wasn't sympathetic. UNTIL NOW! This sucks. Guess I'll have to keep my USB cord handy. At least I'm near a computer most of the time on weekdays. It will almost be like having a land line again...

AstroCreep
AstroCreep

Android is released under the Apache license, which allows the handset OEMs (and others for that matter) to create their own programs and customizations and NOT make the source code available. I would have perferred that Android was released under GPL, but if they did, they wouldn't have received the same enthusiasm from handset OEMs to use Android as they do right now.

Justin James
Justin James

Android phone have VERY bad bit rot issues. Many people I know find that even without doing anything to the phone like adding apps, it gets progressively slower as time goes by. My Droid 1 is now agonizingly slow, and I haven't touched anything on it in months... it's just getting slower and slower! My mother's Droid 1 is now so slow that she often can't pick up calls because it doesn't respond to the answer swipe in time... and since she's looking for work (currently out of work... had to sell her house and move in with me...), it is IMPERATIVE that she not miss calls! J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

Can you please explain how you know that Motorola screwed this up, and the problem is not Android? Did you examine the reference source code? Example #491 of the colossal screwups that are being caused by Android's "openness". I'm a fan of open systems, but in the case of Android, it makes everything a disaster. I was against the closed, controlled nature of iOS and WP7 at first, but I'm a fan now. At least then I can easily tell if problems are at the main OS level (and therefore, likely to be fixed) or if I'll be praying a handset maker fixes them. J.Ja

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

They sell hardware. You don't buy new hardware unless they can make your existing perfectly functioning hardware seem obsolete.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If a phone is branded an Android phone; I should be able to easily take Google's core distribution and flash it to the device. Came with Motorola-Android on it; don't care.. installing Android proper. Even with the hardware differences requiring vendor specific drivers. Have the vendors provide a tiny blob of drivers that gets flashed to the device along with the Android firmware; one utility, two input fields, done. Vendor/hardware/osversion specific baby Android one-offs was what killed it for me. Nexus looked good, Evo looked good, I actually played with the Asus phone for a bit. That and "open" meaning "after we develop it behind closed doors and hand it out to hardware vendors to butcher".

jcockrell
jcockrell

Make sure to clear your cache and Dalvik cache once in awhile. It helps it run a lot smoother, they should of made it easier to do this on 2.3. Maybe Honeycomb will have this fingers crossed.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

(admittely: having not yet looked into this deeply...) I'd like to see solid sync regardless of paired OS. ActiveSync is great for the Windows folks but it needs to sync when ActiveSync is not available. I'm guessing it does sync with Evolution; if it doesn't then WTF? But again, I haven't looked into it very deeply yet. As a side-note; my Maemo has native Exchange support. For business use, I'd think that better ActiveSync to a desktop's local data.

scratch4653
scratch4653

If Google wants to make a bigger dent in the enterprise space, surpase the Outlook experience with RIM. On the other hand, VDI or VMWare can take of that in itself.

Justin James
Justin James

... but ANYTHING has to be better than the long term Android experience of crashes, reboots, lost data, non-syncing, bugs, errors, problems, lack of calls and text messages coming through, and more. Android is not an insanely beautiful but insane girlfriend. Lots to love when you first get your hands on it, but the longer you live with it, the more you wish you had not gotten involved... I personally do not own an iPhone, and I highly doubt that I ever will (in no small part because Apple is a bit *too* controlling with it), but WP7 is definitely on the table for me. J.Ja

spaul940
spaul940

Gosh Justin, I could hardly tell that you are a fan of iOS by your thoughts of Android being so bad.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'd actually have to side with your blameing Motorola in this specific case. I don't like that hardware vendors can brutalize the core Android distribution but the fact is that Motorola did just that. Other vendors are at least delivering a more open.. or less user hostile firmware modification. Outside of the specific case, I would have to agree though. I'd have liked to see Android live up to it's hype and potential; produced more openly and keep it a central distro that will run on any "Android" branded device given a device specific driver bundle.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It was one of the three that I seriously considered but the lack of physical keyboard and price where issues at that time. That would be the most open Android hardware available though. Maybe one day the consumer market will actually send a message back to the OEMs who sell defective and malware'd products. (Motorola's logic bomb is malware plane and simple). Ha.. the market taking action.. well.. I can dream at least..

AstroCreep
AstroCreep

...it's never going to happen that way unless you buy a Google-branded phone. Again, the Apache license allows manufacturers to do what they want with their holistically-developed software, but there is no provision for the hardware itself; rooting it will likely void your warranty. Also, remember, Google has released the source-code for Android; you can download and compile it yourself, and you can download the SDK and create apps/tools. In all, Android was created and released as a means for "Tinkerers" to have a deeper experience with their phones. The fact that OEMs can do what they want to "Lock it down" is merely a side-effect.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm having flashbacks to NT4 Server.. I've found my phone likes a reboot from time to time.. usually after I've installed a bunch of stuff or opened to many background applets. It doesn't seem to be a regular thing though, just when I start having laggy response.

Justin James
Justin James

Everyone I know with an Android phone that's more than a few months old has to reboot it at least once a week to maintain basic functionality AND install a task killer. I don't use a task killer, but my phone does get a periodic reboot. My wife is up to once every day or two. Android is based on Linux. Linux doesn't have these problems. My computer runs the much maligned Windows OS. It doesn't have these problems. Cache management is a problem that was solved years ago. Android shouldn't have these problems! J.Ja

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

A reboot would also freshen the system and clear those cache files wouldn't it? I'm guessing Justin has tried that but mentioned here just encase.

AstroCreep
AstroCreep

It wasn't until iOS 4 that Apple added support for multiple Exchange accounts either. Not sure why it was that way though; just didn't think it was useful enough or if there was some sort of limitation in the version of ActiveSync they were catering to.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I was infact thinking of those older sync apps versus Exchange native sync functions. The only question with my Maemo device; why only one Exchange server? I can add multiple pop/imap but only one Exchange. Maybe Nokia figured no one would ever connect one phone to more than one Exchange server.

AstroCreep
AstroCreep

I think you're referring to the OLD ActiveSync that was used with PocketPCs and the like - that's not "ActiveSync" anymore (it is now referred to as "Windows Mobile Device Center" on Vista & higher, or "Desktop ActiveSync" for XP and older). What I am referring to is the OTA mobile device sync feature built-in to Exchange, known as "ActiveSync", or "Exchange ActiveSync". This is likely what your Maemo uses. So long story short, Android's support for "Exchange" ActiveSync is still quite lacking.

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