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06 December 2010, 16:53

Google announces Android 2.3 and the Nexus S - Update

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Google Android Logo The Google Android development team have announced the release of version 2.3 of their open source Android mobile operating system, code named "Gingerbread". According to the developers, the latest version includes a number of new platform technologies and APIs aimed at helping developers create better applications.

Changes in Android 2.3 focusing on game development include the addition of a new concurrent garbage collector, optimised event handling and a broad set of new native APIs. Additionally, the developers have added support for the VP8 and WebM video formats, as well as AAC and AMR-wideband encoding. Audio effects, including reverb, equalisation, headphone virtualisation and bass boost, have also been added.

As already confirmed by Google CEO and Chairman of the Board Eric Schmidt, support for Near Field Communication (NFC) chips, a technology that Schmidt believes will in future replace credit cards, is provided in Gingerbread for fast, short range wireless transmissions. Updates to the Software Development Kit (SDK) Tools, Native Development Kit (NDK) and ADT Plug-in for Eclipse have also been released.

According to Engadget, an Android 2.3 update is already rolling out over-the-air (OTA) to Nexus One users.

Update: Google Android Developer Advocate Reto Meier has said that the Nexus One OTA update is not happening yet, adding that it "should be coming in a few weeks".

Zoom Google's new Nexus S smartphone runs Android 2.3 "Gingerbread"
Following widespread rumours of a Nexus Two, Google has also introduced a new Gingerbread-based Nexus device, the Nexus S. This new Nexus handset is now Google's lead Android 2.3 device and will be the first to ship with the new version of Android.

In a post on the Official Google Blog, Google VP of Engineering Andy Rubin says that the new device "delivers what we call a 'pure Google' experience: unlocked, unfiltered access to the best Google mobile services and the latest and greatest Android releases and updates. Built by Samsung, the Nexus S features a 4-inch Contour Display, a 1GHz Hummingbird processor and 16GB of built-in memory. It also includes front and rear facing cameras, as well as a built-in NFC chip.

The Nexus S is expected to be on sale in the US from the 16th of December from Best Buy and Best Buy mobile stores, and from the 20th of December at Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy in the UK.

Update: In the US, the Nexus S will cost $529 (£336) unlocked or $199 with a two year contract with T-Mobile USA. In the UK, the device will cost £549.95 sim free.

More information about the Android 2.3 Platform and SDK Tools can be found in a post on the Android Developers Blog by Android SDK Tech Lead Xavier Ducrohet, on the Android 2.3 Platform SDK components page and in the Android 2.3 Platform Highlights. The source code for version 2.3 of Android should be posted to the Android Open Source portal shortly.

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