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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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