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Android 2.3 Gingerbread SDK and the Nexus S announced by Google

Android 2.3, GingerbreadGoogle, just moments ago, launched the next iteration of the Android and Nexus product lines: Gingerbread and the Nexus S. The Nexus S, with a 4" Contour Display, two cameras, 16GB of memory and Near Field Communication, is jaw-dropping. But let's not get distracted by shiny things; as software nerds, it is Android 2.3, Gingerbread, that really interests us.

If you're feeling brave, dive right into the Android 2.3 Platform Highlights. It's aimed at developers, but most of the main features are spelled out in plain English. Here's a taster:
  • Faster, more intuitive text input -- the default keyboard has been significantly improved, and multi-touch 'key-chording' means faster input
  • UI refinements for simplicity and speed -- the UI has been simplified, with menus and settings now easier to find. It looks like the whole thing will be quite bold and 'primary colored'
  • One-touch word selection and copy/paste -- this one's quite hard to explain, better to look at the two pictures
  • Improved power management -- apps will be automatically closed if they steal a lot of CPU time, and users can now see at a glance which phone components and apps are taking up the most power
  • More ways to communicate -- Internet calling (VoIP/SIP), Near Field Communication and video calling with the front-facing camera are now possible
There's lots of other low-level changes, but I won't bore you with them. It's safe to say that, as I write this, app developers the world over are drooling on their hairy feet. To put it another way, that Sony PlayStation phone that you've seen on Engadget -- it's only possible because of some big changes in Android 2.3's architecture.

With regards to availability, Gingerbread will be open-sourced in the next few weeks. The Nexus S will be available to buy in the US from December 16, and in the UK from the 20th.

There are videos of the phone itself, and some developers getting their nerd on, after the break.

Tags: android, android 2.3, android 2.3 sdk, android sdk, Android2.3, Android2.3Sdk, AndroidSdk, cellphones, gingerbread, google, mobile, nexus, nexus s, NexusS, sdk