Google Maps was updated to version 4.60 last week, and you may not have noticed it on the surface, but contained inside were some interesting resources providing an early glimpse at the style direction Gingerbread is set to take. Freenode IRC member canadiancow rather astutely spotted that there was a folder contained within the 4.60 APK that included icons and styling for API level 9, whilst we're currently on level 8 with Froyo.
These last few days the Android blogosphere has been awash with excited spluttering, dubious rumours and hopeful conflation. Kicking things off was City A.M., a "London-based free daily newspaper that specialises in financial news". According to an article on their website, Google had struck a deal with the popular phone retailer Carphone Warehouse. CPW were to sell Google's next phone, the Nexus Two by any other name. Their position as a reseller of phones and contracts on most if not all networks in the UK and wider Europe makes them a logical choice, right?
Remember that Sony Ericsson PlayStation phone we heard about back in August? Turns out it's not only real, but a prototype is out and about in the wild - and Engadget has landed themselves some surprisingly clear and detailed pictures of the device. Better still, it looks pretty close to the renders we saw in August - surprising, given the track record for Android rumors.
Between the PlayStation moniker and the slide-out gamepad, I think it's pretty clear that this beastie will be marketed as a gaming phone.
What do we have here? Why, it's a giant Gingerbread statue getting installed over at Googleplex, right next to Froyo and the rest of the gang. It's not exactly what we'd been expecting and hoping to see today, but it's a start. Last time the Froyo statue was installed, we got the SDK a week later. Bring it on, Google!
Two-for-one on this post: Japanese carrier KDDI revealed this morning that they'll be selling a customized version of Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Tab. On a similar tablet note, it looks like the Advent Vega will be joining the list of budget Android tablets that won't have the market. Turns out we've never covered the Vega either, so I'll provide a few extra details on it. Let's start with the Galaxy Tab: what's custom about it?
Take this with a large grain of salt as it's just a rumor at this point, but one of our sources very close to the Android core who has been testing and working with Gingerbread for quite a while recently shared a little tidbit of info. According to the source, we won't have to wonder what exactly Gingerbread, the next Android OS, is going to bring to the table for too long because the Gingerbread SDK is going to go public next week.
The latest Android platform numbers are out, and thanks to carrier support of updates (Verizon and Sprint, anyway) FroYo has made an impressive boost to capture 33.4% of Android devices. This isn't enough to upset Android 2.1, which remains on top with 40.4%, but it's a good sign of diminishing Android fragmentation nonetheless.
When Gingerbread hits this fall/winter, however, this chart is bound to get pretty ugly - while Donut and Cupcake continued their decline, together they still make up a decent portion of Android devices, at 26.1% combined.
Disclaimer: initially, I was reluctant to pass this one on, but it looks like it may be more credible and less speculative than I first thought.
During IFA today, Samsung confirmed that Gingerbread is next and will be Android 3.0, and that it will be succeeded by Honeycomb (3.5). It is possible that things will change between now and then, but this is an official, public word from Samsung in direct response to a question - fairly concrete.
If you can’t wait any longer for a quality Android tablet, this may come as a bit of bad news. Both Acer and Motorola are planning to delay the release of their respective Android tablets until the release of Android 3.0, which is expected to feature support for higher-resolution screens.
Acer’s tablet may be pushed back until the first quarter of 2011, which could put a damper on previous rumors that Gingerbread would be released some time before the end of the year.
Before Apple's iPhone and Google’s Android OS burst onto the mobile device scene in 2007, there were few significant advances in mobile technology. Frankly, "smartphones" (if we could even call them that at the time) were boring: they did little more than email, general messaging, picture taking, some basic apps and games, rudimentary internet browsing, and enterprise integration.
The biggest players at the time were Microsoft Windows Mobile, RIM's Blackberry, Palm, Symbian, and Linux.