Google likes to create themes for its different product releases. For example, their entire lineup of browser-based products focus on variations of “chromium,” and all of their Android operating systems are named after some type of food (Froyo, Honeycomb, etc.). The name of Google’s 2.3 system, Gingerbread, was especially fitting considering its holiday release. Sadly, it seems that this is one present most Android users won’t find under the tree.
Released via the Nexus S phone, Android 2.3 simply hasn’t made it to other handsets. Google, who has some say with the Nexus One, stated that users of the Nexus S’s predecessor would be getting the operating system via an over the air update sometime in the early weeks of January. However, for other phones, responsibility falls to the carriers.
That may not be such good news, since some of the handsets being released are still working off Android 2.1, despite the fact that 2.2 was released several months ago. Luckily, there is an out for both these users and those who want to try the new operating system before their carrier fine-tunes it to the phone.
This option is called “porting,” and it involves technologically experienced users manipulating the code of the released OS, moving it to a different Android device — or, basically, doing what the carriers should have already done. There are a number of ports released to upgrade to 2.2, and several 2.3 ports are available, although they are in the Alpha stage of development.
This means that users will be able to tap into the major benefits of the Gingerbread system. Although there are plenty of small features (improved copy/paste, more smooth developer back-end, etc.) which are appealing, the most prominent factor in demand for the OS is that its fully revamped process management increases both the phone’s speed and battery life.