Update 2/9/11: Writing/transmitting via NFC is now possible thanks to the 2.3.3 update.
One thing that was very much anticipated in the Nexus S and Gingerbread in general was NFC (Near Field Communication) support, which is a feature we've never seen before on an Android device. In fact, the vast majority of us took it to mean that it will allow you to use your phone as a credit card, which would indeed be very exciting and insanely cool.
Google loves putting Easter eggs into their products, and whoever sneaked this late Halloween piece into the official Gingerbread SDK release over at Google is a real master. This is art, people! Found among the boring buttons and icons in the depths of the new Android SDK at this path: platforms\android-9\data\res\drawable-nodpi\platlogo.jpg, this painting is a work of a pure genius:
Having finally seen the Android 2.3 Gingerbread release happen, I can't tell you how happy I am. All I can say is that this is better than Christmas and New Year's Eve combined!
Amidst all this holiday spirit and joy in the air, one amazing person (Peter Alfonso of Bugless Beast) has already ported the Android 2.3 keyboard to rooted 2.2 devices. Be sure to thank him kindly for the following Android 2.3 keyboard port.
As you may have seen, Google took the covers off Gingerbread today and released the new SDK, which allowed me to immediately jump into an emulated Gingerbread instance. After playing with the new UI for a while, I've taken a bunch of screenshots, which you can find below, along with some of my notes.
Before I dive into the Gingerbread screenshots, here is a side-by-side comparison of the same Settings screen in Donut (1.6), Froyo (2.2), and Gingerbread (2.3):
From left to right: Donut, Froyo, Gingerbread
As you can see, not much has changed since Froyo, except for most of the elements getting darker and/or greener.
With a new OS comes a new manual, and this one's pretty hefty. The 374-page manual for Gingerbread is now available for your perusing pleasure, with plenty of screenshots and details about the new OS. This includes information about the new Near Field Communication function found in the Nexus S:
Earlier today, Engadget posted a pretty sensationalist article (now deleted) implying that Gingerbread OTA updates are being streamed down to Nexus One device owners. Since I haven't seen a single confirmation yet, I grew more and more skeptical. To put an end to all rumors, Google's own Reto Meier just sent out a tweet refuting any OTA rumors and putting the Gingerbread update timeline as "in a few weeks":
The moment we've been waiting for so many months - it's finally here! I can hardly contain my excitement as I'm writing this, but both Gingerbread and the Samsung Nexus S were officially announced 30 minutes ago. As expected, the new OS bears the version number 2.3 and brings updates to the SDK and the NDK as well SDK tools and the Eclipse ADT plugin.
As expected, a lot of the OS improvements are under-the-hood, which will result in better gaming, responsiveness, and overall Android experience.
I woke up this morning to a slew of tip emails stating that Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) is definitely coming out on December 6. I initially decided to pass it up (at this point, I'm so sick of Gbread rumors that I almost don't care anymore), but for the sake of you, dear reader, I thought I'd pass it along. The reason for the latest rumor is that Notion Ink posted on their blog stating the following:
6th December is another big day for Android and you will find out how fast Notion Ink can work.
Well, this one's a bit special, isn't it? In a marked shift from the traditional blurrycam espionage, what we have here is a nice, calmly filmed tour of the no-longer-mythical Zeus device. While there isn't a great deal of new information presented in the video, we do catch a glimpse of a PlayStation icon in the menus. The software is labeled Gingerbread in the About screen, despite a distinctly Froyo-esque appearance.
Wow, this went unnoticed for a while, didn't it? On November 23rd, Google's own GoogleinHK YouTube account posted a video walkthrough of the new Google Voice Search in Cantonese. With only 2100 views, this official Google-authored video did not grab anyone's attention, until someone noticed that it featured over a minute of the clearest Gingerbread user interface video we've seen to date. The greens, the blacks - it's all there. Have a look:
Update #2: the original video was pulled but luckily, I found another copy:
Update #3: another mirror, in case Google takes down our YouTube mirror.