While many users are just now receiving Android 2.2 Froyo on their handsets, some are already anticipating the wake of Android 2.3, otherwise known as Gingerbread. People are expecting Gingerbread to make a huge splash when it goes live, but I, for one, don’t think it will.
Earlier this year, I asked the question, ” Is Android 2.2 Froyo all it’s cracked up to be?” and I walked away saying that it was. So when hearing about the dazzling new features rumored for the next version of Android, I got quite excited. The next version of Google’s OS is said to take aim at the user experience. Unfortunately, from the few glimpses that we’ve seen, Duarte, and the Android team haven’t done much to the UI, it seems.
Google has birthed an OS that has (and frustratingly, in some aspects) taken the world by storm. While some features go unrivaled by any smartphone competitor today (NFC , multi-tasking, streaming media, etc.), one has to wonder what Google’s goal is with Android. If Gingerbread is supposed to bring the heat, it best do so with the operating system itself, and not with applications Google decides to announce alongside the new OS version.
Google may be trying to make their OS more attractive to everyone across the board, not just guys. But from the little that we have seen, I’m starting to think it may not be enough. Given what we’ve seen of Gingerbread, it seems Google is focusing on new apps and services for Android, rather than focusing on aspects like usability/UI design and core functionality. Schmidt himself said that he wishes that Google would have focused more on applications in previous versions of the mobile operating system, and that may indeed be the focus in the upcoming version.
That said, we really don’t know everything that the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS will offer at this point. Gingerbread has been rumored come with Google Music, the online Android Market, and possibly even Google Books. The latter of which is much less likely, but would truly bring the heat to Apple and every other competitor out there. Being a big Android fan, this is very good news. At the same time, I’d like Google to concentrate more on the core OS.
Here’s the problem with Gingerbread. Google said that the Android 2.3 OS will focus on user experience, leading many to expect the next major Android update to include a major UI overhaul. From the little we’ve seen, though, the UI has seen anything but that, with only minimal differences in the aesthetics of the user interface. Of course, Google wouldn’t radically change the look of Android. It works very well, after all. But, it could stand to be a bit cleaner around the edges. That said, changing the notification bar black and subtle things just will not fit the bill. Not when we’ve been expecting dazzling UI changes. I guess that’s what hype brings.
So will Gingerbread be able to deliver? Sure, why not? Whatever Google has been working on will be an improvement over the current version of Android OS. It’s what Google hasn’t been working on that will disappoint. I honestly don’t know what I’d like to see from Gingerbread, but what I don’t want to see is Google making some negligible UI tweaks and calling it a major OS update. This is very much a rant, and for the most part, I believe Google will deliver the Gingerbread goods in their own way.
There’s nothing wrong with applications being the highlight of Android 2.3, but we’re just hoping it doesn’t stop there. What do you think about Gingerbread and what it will bring to the table? It’s been a while since the Google I/O, and Gingerbread is now so close to being ready that we can taste it. Will Google hit a grand slam somehow with some unannounced new features, or will we be left wanting Honeycomb immediately?