Google has taken the wraps off Gingerbread — its code name for the next-generation Android 2.3 smartphone platform. Moreover, Google said the new mobile OS will take its inaugural bows on Samsung’s forthcoming Nexus S smartphone, scheduled for a U.S. release later this month.
With the launch of Gingerbread, it appears that Android-powered devices are the only serious competition for Apple’s iPhone until Windows Phone 7 ramps up with CDMA carriers and gets some much-needed updates, noted Al Hilwa, director of applications development software at IDC.
“One of the key focus areas for Gingerbread appears to be the VoIP video telephony and conferencing, which continues to whittle away on the telco services that these phones consume — relegating the carriers into passive data plumbers,” Hilwa said. “Surprisingly, carriers are marching headlong into this because they have to mount competition to the iPhone.”
The Nexus S sports a four-inch color display made of curved glass that rests comfortably in the palm of the hand or against the user’s face. And the new device is equipped with two image sensors: A rear-facing five-megapixel camera/HD camcorder with flash and a front-facing camera capable of capturing VGA-quality images and videos.
Under the hood, the new handset integrates a one-gigahertz Hummingbird processor paired with 16GB of internal memory and a dedicated graphics processing unit to enhance the gaming experience, as well as 3G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and A-GPS radios. The Nexus S can also function as a Wi-Fi hot spot for up to six other portable devices.
Near-field communication (NFC) hardware enables users to read information by holding their phones in the immediate vicinity of smart posters or tags. Other hardware features include a microUSB 2.0 port, a three-axis gyroscope, an accelerometer, and haptic feedback, together with built-in proximity and light sensors.
Slated to become…