Version confusion on Google's Android resolved
Google's Nexus S runs Android 2.3, code-named Gingerbread. That's the successor to 2.2, Froyo. So far, so good. However, first smartphones starting up with Android 2.4 appeared at the CES in January and, although never officially endorsed by Google, this version number has since made it into the data sheets for various future mobile phones, such as those HTC introduced at the MWC. The 2.4 version was allegedly also going to be called Gingerbread and will only offer marginal changes compared with 2.3 – the reported difference being that the support for dual-core processors and NFC chips is to become available to apps, and not just to the operating system itself.
A press release by HTC sent to The H's associates at heise Mobile states that Google has now clarified that this release of Gingerbread will be version 2.3.3. According to HTC, Google had "originally" communicated that "the version is to be called 2.4". For buyers, this means that a (future) smartphone running Android 2.3.3 is not retreating from the promise that it will run 2.4, it's just that the version has been renamed. HTC says it has corrected its data sheets and other resources to reflect the correct 2.3.3 version number.
Things will remain complicated enough, as Android version 3.0 (Honeycomb), which is about to be released for tablets, will not run on smartphones – though hackers have just ported 3.0 to the Google Nexus One, but the port cannot make phone calls or use any of the device's telephony capabilty. Both the Gingerbread and Honeycomb branches are planned to be merged in a future version, which may be code-named Ice Cream and version 4.0, but with Google's secrecy over version numbers and code names for the open source operating system, who knows?