Android™ 2.3 (a.k.a. Gingerbread) is Google’s most consumer-friendly smartphone platform to date. Here’s everything you need to know about this powerful, mobile platform and how it makes you and your Android phone a more productive team.
Android is the platform of choice for a plethora of smartphones and millions of users. With thousands of apps available from games to productivity aids, Gingerbread turns a phone into a powerful web browser, game console and personal assistant.
Here’s a taste of Gingerbread’s most mouthwatering features:
Improved User Interface
The Android 2.3 interface is easier for novices to learn and faster overall. Text input is more intuitive than ever. The redesigned virtual keyboard allows for faster, more accurate typing, with improved automatic correction of mistakes. For example, you can tap any word to get a suggested correction, not just the word you’re typing. Copy and paste take only a single touch, making it easier to edit text or copy it to other windows or applications.
Simpler Video Chat
Android 2.3 lets you take advantage of devices that include both front- and rear-facing cameras, making it easier to videoconference or take a self-portrait. With the 2.3.4 update, you can use Google Talk with the Video Chat option.
Easier Internet Phone Calls
You don’t need an app to make a VOIP, or Voice Over Internet, call. If your contacts have an Internet calling (or SIP) account, you can add that number to your address book and call them directly from the Android phone dialer.
Convenient Access to Useful Information
A new NFC app—that’s for Near Field Communication—lets your phone receive electronic information from "smart" tags embedded in posters, stickers, advertisements and the like. Just swipe the phone over, say, an NFC-enhanced event program, and your phone might take you to a special Web site where you can rate the event or buy related merchandise.
More Control Over Apps
In much the same way you monitor applications for power consumption, you can see how much storage and memory each app is using. The new Downloads application gives the user easy access to files downloaded using the browser, email or another application.
Many of the most popular preinstalled apps have been upgraded to take full advantage of Android 2.3, including:
Google Maps: You can use Google Maps to point out your current location, search for businesses and addresses, and get directions to wherever you need to go. If you just want to explore the world around you while on the go use Google Maps with Street View.
Gmail: View your inbox and conversations side by side, so you can triage your email while you read. Drop a few Gmail widgets onto your home screen to stay on top of all of your accounts. You can even drag and drop conversations into folders from your inbox.
YouTube: The mobile app provides a fast and simple way to search, browse and watch YouTube videos on your mobile device. You can also upload the video you’ve just recorded and instantly broadcast it to the whole world.
Google Talk: Never miss a ping again with Google Talk on your Android device. Swap between multiple chats at a time, search your chat history, see previews of videos and images within conversations or video chat.
Google Search: Search for anything, anywhere. Google Search on Android devices brings all of the computing power and innovation of desktop search to mobile and customizes the experience with several features uniquely relevant to mobile.
Google Voice: Enhance the existing capabilities of your phone, regardless of which phone or which carrier you have—for free. With the Google Voice app you can make calls and send text messages from your Google Voice number and listen to voicemail or read it with text transcriptions.
Google Play™: The new widget lets you keep on top of what’s hot on Google Play, showing featured apps right on your home screen.
Better Battery Life
The features that make today’s smartphones such a pleaure to use are hard on battery life. Android 2.3 helps keep you going longer by automatically closing energy-gobbling applications that run unused in the background and turning off services you don’t need. The platform also gives you smarter ways to monitor power consumption, so you can manually shut down applications that are using more than their fair share.
Android, Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Google Talk, Google Search, Google Voice and Google Play are all registered trademarks of Google, Inc.