Google hasn't shared much information about Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and Ice Cream, but details about future versions of Android are beginning to slip out.
According to an Android fan site called Phandroid, a source close to Google has provided a peek at what is in store for the Gingerbread version of Android.
The first and most noticeable change to the operating system is that the graphics and icons have been refreshed. Based on a screen shot acquired by Phandroid, the application icons have a more uniform appearance and provides for a cleaner look to the operating system.
Earlier this year, Google hired webOS designer Matias Duarte away from Palm. He was placed in charge of Android's user interface team, and the assumption is that he was brought on board to improve the look, and feel of Android. The early screen shots seem to confirm that assumption.
Beyond new icons and graphics, the user interface exhibits more colors -- notably Android green -- as well as an enlarged notification drawer with carrier branding more prominent. The refreshed UI also introduces kinetic scrolling to longer menus and adds animations.
For all the power that Android holds, I've long believed it to be less than elegant. Based on what Phandroid has seen, it is possible that Duarte's presence is having the intended effect: a better, more unified user experience.
Don't care all that much about what Android looks like? Functional changes are coming, too.
First and foremost, it appears as though Google has added the GTalk-based code to Android, which will allow for native video-chatting capabilities (right now, third-party software is required).
Second, Google has added SIP support to the native Google Voice application for Android. This means it will be possible to receive calls to your Google Voice number via Wi-Fi or 3G. This functionality may be exclusive to Gingerbread and higher versions of Android, meaning it can't be ported back to Froyo or Eclair.
Google has not officially revealed anything about Android 'Gingerbread' other than its name. The new version of Android is widely expected to be available in later 2010 or early 2011.
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