Android 2.3 ‘Gingerbread’

Well we all know that the Smartphone market is dominated by large platforms such as Apple’s iOS4, Nokia’s Symbian Series 60, Windows Mobile 6.5 (and soon to be introduced 7), but the newest platform everyone has been hearing about recently and one which is creating a lot of noise on Twitter is most defiantly going to be Android and their open-source platforms.

Android was first introduced in late October 2008 with T-Mobile’s G1 which came pre-installed with Version 1.0 and soon Google will release their latest version; 2.3.

Speaking for myself, I didn’t really give Android a chance and wouldn’t have swapped my iPhone for the ‘newbie’ on the block. However over the past years, HTC has grown phenomenally and is now waiting to release their sophisticated iPhone killer platform called “Gingerbread” which has certainly made the new smartphone platform look mature. The names Android use for their firmware are controversial as most of their platforms have rather scrumptious names such as Cookie and Éclair.

Android has some features which will startle a lot of people, even the non-techie people. If we take browsing on Android 2.3, it supports flash and it is flexible; this is defiantly something excelling against their competitors which means lots of boredom cured.

Android supports push notifications which mean that your Twitter, Facebook and Emails are pushed automatically to your phone without the hassle of having to re-sync your inbox every quarter of an hour. In addition to this nifty feature, Android also have their ever growing Market which is now catering over 30,000 apps readily available for downloading.

Android have also added over-the-air installation for apps and integration of iTunes streaming. Google have named their music streaming app ‘Simplify Media’ which creates a desktop software that can stream all your music directly from iTunes to your Android phone. Simply all you have to do is point the software at your music and it will push it up into the air accessible anywhere.

Like all smartphones, the new version of Gingerbread is now compatible with all Microsoft platforms including Exchange 2010. Android have also introduced Bluetooth voice commands allowing users with Bluetooth headsets or parrot in-car systems to say a name or number to activate an out-going call.

Overall in conclusion to the new version of Android, it will hopefully be showcased in Q4 2010. There are numerous updates Android has made and all of them are justifiable but the sheer amount of platforms can defiantly perplex even the most technical people. With technology being so subliminal and everyone used to technology being at our fingertips, expectations from manufactures are extremely high hence the upcoming release of Gingerbread. It’s defiantly something I am excited about and it has a lot of new features no other versions of Android has incorporated but remember, your phone must have the minimum specification to run it.

New iPhone 3G S and 3.0 software

It probably hasn’t escaped your attention that Apple have released their 3rd generation of the ever popular iPhone along with an update of the OS for all iPhone users.

The new phone itself isn’t much different from the older 3G version, boasting a very similar look and feel, but packing a few extras under the hood:

  • Quicker processor
  • Double the memory (256MB)
  • Updated camera that can do video recording
  • Electronic compass
  • Nike+

It is quite good that Apple haven’t updated the fundamental design as it means all the accessories and add-ons that were available for the earlier version work with the new one.

The interesting thing about this phone is that most people with the iPhone 3G will not be able to upgrade immediately, tied in as they are to an 18 month contract with O2. That said, sales of the new 3G S seem to have been pretty strong with many original version iPhone users upgrading (my wife upgraded on the day it was released) and a whole bunch of new customers drawn in by Apple’s impeccable marketing.

Of interest to all iPhone users is the update to version 3.0 of the iPhone software which brings with it a whole host of useful additions.

A few highlights are:

  • Ability to use rotated keyboard in any app (that supports it) particularly useful in email app.
  • MMS
  • Copy and Paste
  • Enhancements to activesync (main one is to allow push to other folders than the inbox)
  • Global Search
  • Enhanced bluetooth
  • Tethering (ability to use your phone like a USB 3G dongle)
  • Push notifications

There are a lot more, I have only highlighted the particularly newsworthy ones and the ones that I personally have found benefit from. The keyboard update and the general user interface enhancement have made the whole experience more aesthetically pleasing and more practical. This is quite impressive considering the quality of the previous version, but Apple have done a good job with the incremental improvements.

Of all the updates I would expect the push notifications to have the biggest long term impact as it will allow developers to build applications that appear to stay open on the device when they have actually closed, this is going to be extremely important for instant messaging and social networking type apps.

Overall the latest updates are a good addition to the iPhone series; I wonder what they have up their sleeves for next year….