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.

New Features/Enhancements


The new OS features and enhancements include:

  • enhancements for game development, including a new concurrent garbage collector, more native APIs, faster event distribution, updated video drivers, and new sensors (gyroscope) - this is amazing for developers; expect gaming to get a lot more responsive and versatile
  • lots and lots of attention in the above bullet point has been given to the NDK - the Native Development Kit. This is simply excellent. Look in the 2.3 highlights for more details
  • NFC (Near Field Communications) support
  • UI updates for speed and simplicity
  • better, faster, more intuitive text input, selection, and copy/pasting
  • support for WebM, VP8, AAC, and AMR-wideband encodings
  • new native audio effects, such as reverb, equalization, headphones visualization, and bass boost
  • front-facing camera and SIP/VOIP support
  • improved power management
  • better control over applications
  • downloads management via a new Downloads app
  • 2.6.35 Linux kernel
  • improvements to core libraries:
    • HTTP responses are gzipped by default. XML and JSON API response sizes may be reduced by 60% or more
    • faster Formatter and number formatting. For example, float formatting is 2.5x faster
    • and more

Eclipse ADT/SDK Tools

As an Android developer, I'm also just as excited about the Eclipse ADT/SDK tools side of things. We have:

  • simplified debug builds - no more switching between debug and release versions? Yes, please!
  • integrated ProGuard support
  • HierarchyViewer enhancements - this is a very useful tool for the app layout analysis
  • an early release of the new UI Builder (the old one is pretty bad)

More info about the Gingerbread 2.3 highlights can be found here.

Gingerbread Intro Video

To introduce Android 2.3, Google created the following video:

The Official Announcement

Today we're announcing a new version of the Android platform — Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). It includes many new platform technologies and APIs to help developers create great apps. Some of the highlights include:

Enhancements for game development: To improve overall responsiveness, we’ve added a new concurrent garbage collector and optimized the platform’s overall event handling. We’ve also given developers native access to more parts of the system by exposing a broad set of native APIs. From native code, applications can now access input and sensor events, EGL/OpenGL ES, OpenSL ES, and assets, as well a new framework for managing lifecycle and windows. For precise motion processing, developers can use several new sensor types, including gyroscope.

Rich multimedia: To provide a great multimedia environment for games and other applications, we’ve added support for the new video formats VP8 and WebM, as well as support for AAC and AMR-wideband encoding. The platform also provides new audio effects such as reverb, equalization, headphone virtualization, and bass boost.

New forms of communication: The platform now includes support for front-facing camera, SIP/VOIP, and Near Field Communications (NFC), to let developers include new capabilities in their applications.

For a complete overview of what’s new in the platform, see the Android 2.3 Platform Highlights.

Alongside the new platform, we are releasing updates to the SDK Tools (r8), NDK, and ADT Plugin for Eclipse (8.0.0). New features include:

Simplified debug builds: Developers can easily generate debug packages without having to manually configure the application’s manifest, making workflow more efficient.

Integrated ProGuard support: ProGuard is now packaged with the SDK Tools. Developers can now obfuscate their code as an integrated part of a release build.

HierarchyViewer improvements: The HierarchyViewer tool includes an updated UI and is now accessible directly from the ADT Plugin.

Preview of new UI Builder: An early release of a new visual layout editor lets developers create layouts in ADT by dragging and dropping UI elements from contextual menus. It’s a work in progress and we intend to iterate quickly on it.

To get started developing or testing applications on Android 2.3, visit the Android Developers site for information about the Android 2.3 platform, the SDK Tools, the ADT Plugin and the new NDK.

Source: Android Developers Blog