Our friends over at Phandroid have apparently seen an early build of the next version of Android, codenamed “Gingerbread”. It would seem that certain employees inside Google are running the “dog-food” on their Nexus One’s right now… and the leaks are starting to come in.
First up, hardware acceleration is rumored to be included (or coming to) Gingerbread. This means devices that have a dedicated graphics processor (GPU) will be able to make more efficient use of converting the code into what you see on screen. This also frees up the CPU so it doesn’t have to do double-duty, resulting in an all around, faster, snappier, and prettier experience.
Next, things are more “bouncy”. If you’re familiar with the Touch Wiz UI that comes on Samsung phones, when you get to the bottom of a list or run out of home-screens to swipe between, rather than do nothing, the items or screens “bounce” to indicate that you tried to see more, but there is none. It’s nothing earth-shattering, but it is a nice UI hint to easily communicate to the end user that they’ve come to the end of whatever it is they’re looking at.
Green is the new gray. The Android logo and mascot are both a sort of lime green. Currently there isn’t much green in the Android UI. If rumor holds true, that’s going to be changing.
Revisited icons are also going to be included. Icons look more polished and representative of what their action intends. Icons that are more tightly integrated with each other and across the UI help unify the OS and make for a better overall experience.
Speaking of a better unified experience… Google is also going back to GAPPS — the Google Application Pack — and bringing them inline with the UI of Android itself. The goal here is to make Google apps feel like an extension of the operating system itself, not something that was tacked on after the fact. The YouTube app is said to be one of the first to be getting the Gingerbread treatment, but we don’t know how just yet. Let’s not forget, Google has the former designer for Palm’s Web OS on staff now.
Google Voice, one of my favorite apps, might finally be getting native VoIP support. If the Phandroid report is correct this might not make it in time for Gingerbread, and probably won’t work on Froyo and below, but being able to make Voice calls over IP through a native Google app is very appealing.
Also rumored to be coming in Gingerbread is video chat using the same protocols that the desktop/laptop version has been using for years. This means that not only could you video chat with your fellow Android friends, but also with anyone who has the Gmail Chat plugin installed, or the stand-alone Google Talk app installed on their desktop computer.
Again, this is all rumors, but based on something more solid that what we’ve seen in the past.
What do you think? What would you like to see included in Gingerbread?