When Gingerbread was launched back in December of last year, we learned that one of its main selling points was Near Field Communication (NFC) support, which allowed for NFC-enabled devices to communicate when placed near each other.

Using your Android phone as a credit card or sharing information by bringing 2 devices close to each other seemed like a dream come true until we found that NFC support in Gingerbread was actually quite limited - writing/transmitting was not possible and only a limited subset of reading APIs was available.

Today, Google announced a new Gingerbread update bearing version number 2.3.3. The update is concentrated mostly around NFC, introducing writing/transmitting APIs and support for a wider range of NFC standards. NFC is not the only thing Google worked on in this release - improvements were also made to Bluetooth, Graphics, Speech Recognition, and Media APIs.

Developers should know that unlike 2.3.1 and 2.3.2, the new 2.3.3 update actually increments the API level from 9 to 10 (Honeycomb will now be at least 11, I suppose).

For the full list of 2.3.3 changes, head over to these SDK docs.

Considering the only device running Gingerbread officially is the Nexus S, which is powered by stock Android, the new update should not have too much trouble getting spread. In fact, I suspect Google warned manufacturers that it would be coming (as well as 2.4), which is the primary reason we are not seeing any Gingerbread devices on the market, besides the Nexus S and the unreleased Sony arc.

Source: Android Developers