Updated: Android 3.0 "Gingerbread" details uncovered

Fresh off the heels of announcements regarding Android 2.2, and its release unto the Nexus One (and other handsets in Q3), Google is divulging some juicy details regarding the next major release of Google Android, 3.0. Named Gingerbread, it promises a new look and feel specifically suited to the tablet family of mobile devices. UnwiredView.com, translating from a Russian podcast given by mobile-review.com's Eldar Murtazin, is reporting that Gingerbread will be essentially a separate branch of the Android development cycle. It's geared towards larger devices, and may be excluded from smaller handsets altogether. Here's the basics:

  • It will be released mid-October 2010. Just in time Black Friday and the holiday season rush.
  • Minimum Hardware requirements: 1Ghz CPU, 512MB RAM, 3.5" displays and higher. As of now, the majority of handsets do not fall whithin the minimum, allowing the new OS to focus on bigger systems, namely tablets. 
  • 1280x760 resolution available on screens 4" or bigger.
  • Overhauled user interface. UnwiredView.com compares it to the Gallery App on Android 2.2, just throughout the whole UI.
  • Less reliance on third-party UI shells like HTC's Sense or Motorola's MotoBlur.

While this won't affect handsets running 2.x, the minimum specs raise the question: Will devices like the HTC EVO 4G, Samsung Galaxy S, and other newer-gen smartphones be grouped in the 2.x corwd, never to get a 3.x release, or will they be considered "small netbooks" and receive the more robust Gingerbread release, since within the minimum specs? Also, where does this leave Google Chrome OS? If Gingerbread takes over the tablet market, where does Chrome OS fit in the grand scheme of things?

Either way, this is a sure sign that Google will be expanding to bigger and better things with their newest Android release.

Update: Over on Twitter, a Google employee, Dan Morrill, has tweeted about the news, saying that he "loves it when people make up stuff and report it as news" and that you "shouldn't believe everything you read" in regards to Android 3.0, and says that "In summary, please remember that rumors are not official announcements. ;)".

This makes the rumors that have been circulating untrue, as Dan is the "Android Open Source & Compatibility Tech Lead" according to his Twitter bio -- which means the information is coming from Google itself. 

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Android has to be the only OS where people complain because it is upgraded ...

Of course a device (with fixed hardware) is not going to support 3 years of OS upgrade. I find it ridiculous that anyone expect that. As for devs who might have a point, Android is a new platform, it was expected to have a lots of tuning.

"Minimum Hardware requirements: 1Ghz CPU, 512MB RAM, 3.5" displays and higher."

Should run on the Desire then! :-D

XDA, if there is no official availability! ;-)

None of the information given in this article is from Google. That should be the most important piece you take away from this below average news posting.

so 1ghz cpu and 512mb ram is tablet or small netbook specs?
ok, guess the iPhone 4 is either one of those two then, i would have put my vote for it being a phone but ok

nice that the will actually have some kind of good UI themselves at least

Oooo, you may think you're being clever, but watch what happens when I spin it like this:

You mean a netbook can run an entire OS with productivity software and all with the same specs the iPhone needs to pull off just iOS on a tiny screen? Daaaaaaang. That's one inefficient phone!

pretty sure Froyo / Gingerbread were supposed to be the transition process where you can get pretty much everything updated from the market instead of waiting for OTAs from the carriers.

Leeoniya said,
pretty sure Froyo / Gingerbread were supposed to be the transition process where you can get pretty much everything updated from the market instead of waiting for OTAs from the carriers.

Not the kernel. Components, yes, perhaps (the plan was a more modular OS), but not the core of the OS itself. That requires driver updates, which relies on vendors, over whom Google has no power. No version of Android will ever be able to update itself to the next full iteration as long as there's hardware fragmentation.

The iPhone is updated in one central place (iTunes). I don't have to hunt down websites, etc to do a firmware update or OS update.

I used to use Windows Mobile 6 and cook custom roms but then I stopped caring, I just want to use something that works. I was interested in Android until I found out that SOME phones can't support some OS, etc.

I want something that WORKS from the developer, or get a new phone (and not every three months with the LATEST and greatest from HTC).

Tech Greek said,
I want something that WORKS from the developer, or get a new phone (and not every three months with the LATEST and greatest from HTC).
So just don't update? It'll still work.

Tech Greek said,
The iPhone is updated in one central place (iTunes). I don't have to hunt down websites, etc to do a firmware update or OS update.

I used to use Windows Mobile 6 and cook custom roms but then I stopped caring, I just want to use something that works. I was interested in Android until I found out that SOME phones can't support some OS, etc.

I want something that WORKS from the developer, or get a new phone (and not every three months with the LATEST and greatest from HTC).

It sounds like (to me) that with gingerbread Google is planning on taking a little more control with the OS. If they will become "less reliant" on third-party UIs then could that lead into Google themselves handling the updates just like Apple and MS are?

Tech Greek said,
The iPhone is updated in one central place (iTunes). I don't have to hunt down websites, etc to do a firmware update or OS update.

I used to use Windows Mobile 6 and cook custom roms but then I stopped caring, I just want to use something that works. I was interested in Android until I found out that SOME phones can't support some OS, etc.

I want something that WORKS from the developer, or get a new phone (and not every three months with the LATEST and greatest from HTC).

So are most HTC phones, the updates are delivered OTA by the carrier, you don't have to go and hunt anything down, it just means you can get the update more quickly if you do. If that is your best anti Android / pro iPhone argument it's a pretty poor one. To me, using iTunes is one awesomely large reason *not* to own an iPhone.

No big deal really. There is only so much a company can do to support old devices. The iOS 4 doesnt work on the original iPhone but I dont hear any bitching on that. And like I said before, even if there isnt an official release for your phone...devs will have it working for older devices in no time. One of the advantages of going Android...even if Google doesnt support your old device, someone will most likely.

Uh, well, not exactly 'no time'. Depending on who makes the device and how old it is, don't exactly get your hopes up. XDA only gives love to HTC, and in spite of their fame, even they don't have everything running beautifully off the bat.

With Samsung making a mad push to become a major Android player, hopefully they'll get some hacker love. But it won't be from XDA. And it might not be very extensive either, since you don't just update a phone to a new version of Android. You have to have compatible drivers. SDX, the only real dev community for the Samsung Moment, struggled messing around with Eclair, and ultimately got nothing done until a beta leak, and even then barely got anything done again until the official release of 2.1.

I know it's easy to praise Android hackers, and to praise Android for being 'open'. But apparently it's also easy to forget that open software doesn't work without drivers, and drivers contain IP, so don't exactly expect those to open up any time soon.

techbeck said,
No big deal really. There is only so much a company can do to support old devices. The iOS 4 doesnt work on the original iPhone but I dont hear any bitching on that.

You're comparing Apple dropping support for a three-year-old phone with Google dropping support for phones released this year?

.Neo said,

You're comparing Apple dropping support for a three-year-old phone with Google dropping support for phones released this year?

Google have absolutely no choice in that matter whatsoever, they only provide the OS. It is up to the manufacturer of the devices to provide OS updates, and it is they who are failing the users not Google. Steeper hardware requirements are the price of progress, this is no different really to people complaining about computers that shipped with Windows 2000 not being able to run Windows 7.

Subject Delta said,

Google have absolutely no choice in that matter whatsoever, they only provide the OS. It is up to the manufacturer of the devices to provide OS updates, and it is they who are failing the users not Google.


Did you even read the article before posting? Google's own system requirements state a mobile phone should have at least an 1 GHz CPU and 512 MB of memory. How isn't that Google's own choice in the matter? It's Google's decision to design Android 3 for devices with those requirements only.

Subject Delta said,
Steeper hardware requirements are the price of progress, this is no different really to people complaining about computers that shipped with Windows 2000 not being able to run Windows 7.

This is totally different. What you're talking about are 10-year-old computers not supporting today's operating systems. I'm talking about Google's decision to drop support for brand new phone hardware released the same year as Android 3.0. Last time I checked Apple didn't even drop support for the iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2g and Microsoft continues to support practically all computers released in recent years with Windows 7.

So really, what has your reply to do with anything?

Edited by .Neo, Jul 1 2010, 4:31pm :

I won't get Android due to the fact it's like Windows Mobile now. I want my phone to update, without having to wait on carrier Dependant phone firmware upgrades.

Tech Greek said,
I won't get Android due to the fact it's like Windows Mobile now. I want my phone to update, without having to wait on carrier Dependant phone firmware upgrades.

^^^^^^Wut

Tech Greek said,
I won't get Android due to the fact it's like Windows Mobile now. I want my phone to update, without having to wait on carrier Dependant phone firmware upgrades.

Only if you go with a carrier who wants to add crap on it, if you want updates as soon as they appear get a Nexus - worked for me

Tech Greek said,
I won't get Android due to the fact it's like Windows Mobile now. I want my phone to update, without having to wait on carrier Dependant phone firmware upgrades.

Uhh, maybe you should go back to sending letters then. All newer phones do this...including the iPhone.

Tech Greek said,
I won't get Android due to the fact it's like Windows Mobile now. I want my phone to update, without having to wait on carrier Dependant phone firmware upgrades.

well you don't have to wait if you just want vanilla android

Nexus one just about makes the grade, so hopefully thats still in for another update

3.5" minimum screen size seems an odd choice though, they have something against future equivalents of the x10 minis ?

I think it's a given that the Nexus One will get it. I'm curious if the HTC Desire will get it? I'm guessing not though since HTC seem to only give one OS update and put the phone to pasture (referring to the HTC Hero recently being upgraded to 2.1 and not getting 2.2). That is my 2 cents, take with a grain of salt.

Xerxes said,
I think it's a given that the Nexus One will get it. I'm curious if the HTC Desire will get it? I'm guessing not though since HTC seem to only give one OS update and put the phone to pasture (referring to the HTC Hero recently being upgraded to 2.1 and not getting 2.2). That is my 2 cents, take with a grain of salt.

Yea, HTC's update track record isn't the greatest out there. That said, having an almost identical spec to the nexus, i'd be very surprised if it didn't get a copy ported over by the developer community, regardless of htcs own decisions. Equally, if gingerbreads UI is properly improved, i don't think loosing sense UI would be much of a loss.

(Spork) said,
wow neowin is late to the party new about this a few hours ago

Oh noes!!! The news is a few hours hours.!!! Whatever will we do!!

(Spork) said,
wow neowin is late to the party new about this a few hours ago

I didn't know about it until I read it here, and I'm sure plenty of other people didn't either. If you don't care about the article, don't read it or comment on it.

Metodi Mitov said,
I didn't know about it until I read it here, and I'm sure plenty of other people didn't either. If you don't care about the article, don't read it or comment on it.
Seconded.

"Also, where does this leave Google Chrome OS? If Gingerbread takes over the tablet market, where does Chrome OS fit in the grand scheme of things?"

My view is that it's not black and white, there's a spectrum. Gingerbread can be suited for 3.5"-5" handhelds, while chrome will be for 7"+ tablets. Yeah, there will be overlap. The more diversity, the better!

zhiVago said,
"Also, where does this leave Google Chrome OS? If Gingerbread takes over the tablet market, where does Chrome OS fit in the grand scheme of things?"

My view is that it's not black and white, there's a spectrum. Gingerbread can be suited for 3.5"-5" handhelds, while chrome will be for 7"+ tablets. Yeah, there will be overlap. The more diversity, the better!

I agree with the point, but I must ask: if you could get an Android based tablet or Netbook, or the exact same thing with Chrome OS, why would you get Chrome OS?

I personally hope that Chrome OS flops. Not because I hate Google, but because I want local storage and local applications. I'd much rather have an Android based Tablet or Netbook compared to a Chrome OS version. Honestly, I'm not in the market for a Netbook, but I'll never understand why the "small" OS is more feature packed (installable Apps, local storage, etc) than the larger one.

zhiVago said,
"Also, where does this leave Google Chrome OS? If Gingerbread takes over the tablet market, where does Chrome OS fit in the grand scheme of things?"

My view is that it's not black and white, there's a spectrum. Gingerbread can be suited for 3.5"-5" handhelds, while chrome will be for 7"+ tablets. Yeah, there will be overlap. The more diversity, the better!

I always thought ChromeOS was strictly for netbooks and android would be used for slates. One OS is geared for touch input while the other would benefit a keyboard and mouse

"Less reliance on third-party UI shells like HTC's Sense or Motorola's MotoBlur."

looks who's joining the "no-third party UI" group

georgevella said,
"Less reliance on third-party UI shells like HTC's Sense or Motorola's MotoBlur."

looks who's joining the "no-third party UI" group

Theres a difference between less reliance on third party themes and no choice what so ever, besides since its open-source HTC and Motorola can do what they want with the code.

thealexweb said,

Theres a difference between less reliance on third party themes and no choice what so ever, besides since its open-source HTC and Motorola can do what they want with the code.

Not exactly. There are stiff requirements they have to adhere to if they use the "with Google" branding. That is something that seems to be pretty popular right now; either with carriers or consumers.