This latest Android release seems a bit like a true point release, but it does bring a number of interface refinements and other welcome new features. The keyboard has received a major overhaul, delivering many refinements that Google says make typing on Android easier.
"The keys themselves are reshaped and repositioned for improved targeting, making them easier to see and press accurately, even at high speeds," the release notes detail, "The keyboard also displays the current character and dictionary suggestions in a larger, more vivid style that is easier to read. The keyboard adds the capability to correct entered words from suggestions in the dictionary." Text selection has also been improved.
Another very welcome feature is improved power management - I don't have an Android device but improved power management is always welcome, no matter the operating system. "The Android system takes a more active role in managing apps that are keeping the device awake for too long or that are consuming CPU while running in the background," Google states, "By managing such apps - closing them if appropriate - the system helps ensure best possible performance and maximum battery life."
Of course, there's also a number of low-level improvements, like a new concurrent garbage collector in the Dalvik VM, faster event distribution, and improved video drivers. In addition, applications that use native code can now receive sensor information in native code, which should deliver some speed-ups. This isn't all, of course - there's more in the release notes.
The release of Android 2.3 Gingerbread is accompanied by the unveiling of the Google Nexus S, a Samsung-made smartphone that will serve as Gingerbread's flagship device, a successor to HTC's Nexus One. We're basically looking at yet another variant of Samsung's Galaxy S, but with the added benefits of being unlocked, and free from crapware. It's vanilla Gingerbread, like the Nexus One was vanilla Eclair (and later vanilla Froyo).
Are there any Nexus One owners playing with Gingerbread already? Anything to report?