Nobody besides Google insiders know when Android Gingerbread 2.3 will drop, but it's supposed to be any day now. On November 12th, @GoogleMobile tweeted, "Our cafes are baking something sweet" with a link to a photo of gingerbread cookies. But what exactly are they cooking up for 2.3? To give Android application developers an idea of what features they will need to support in this new version, here are the top 9 most anticipated features users are hoping to see.
1. Video chat
"Perhaps the biggest addition (that we can confirm so far)," Quentyn Kennemer at Phandroid.com said, "has been support for video chat using the same protocols that powers video chat on the desktop version of Google Talk." Now if Google can only get hardware manufacturers to put a front-facing camera on handsets.
2. Streaming Music from Home Computers
With Gingerbread, rumor has it that users will be able to stream music from their home computers to their Droid devices, according Marin Perez at IntoMobile.com. Details on how this will work are sketchy, but Google bought a company called Simplify Media, and according to Perez, Google "will use this technology to let you stream all of your unprotected music to your Android." Google gave a sneak peak of this feature back in May.
3. Android Market Music Store
For users who don't have terabytes of music at home to stream, the Android Market is expected to offer music for sale with Gingerbread. "An interesting thing," Perez blogged, "is that Google said its market will be for more than just apps, as you'll soon be able to purchase music from it. That's a clear shot across the bow at Apple and its iTunes juggernaut."
4. Google TV
Google owns YouTube. "Lean Back" is a version of YouTube that opens in full-screen mode with continuous play and ads. Speculators predict that Gingerbread will take advantage of YouTube's "Lean Back" functionality for YouTube videos, as well as integrating with the Google TV service to provide a much more television-esque video watching experience.
5. New User Interface
The biggest criticsm of Android is that it's user interface (UI) is clunky. Each version of Android has attempted to tackle these UI problems and Gingerbread is likely to follow that trend. In fact, Gingerbread is expected to have a new UI with cleaner, redesigned icons and more lime green. Rather than having applications appear to be something bolted onto the Android operating system, Phandroid's Kennemer reported that unnamed sources said applications will be more seamlessly integrated into the OS. Kennemer said that the YouTube application will be one of the first to get this new treatment.