Google’s Android OS ‘Gingerbread’ Promises Native Video Chat

The current version of Google’s Android operating system for smartphones is codenamed ‘Froyo’—the next will be called ‘Gingerbread’. Gingerbread will be bringing plenty of new features, including native video chatting. Think something like Google’s answer to Apple’s FaceTime. According to Phandroid, Gingerbread (it is unknown if this will be released as Android version 2.5 or 3.0) will use the same technology currently powering Gmail’s video chat and have VoIP abilities from Google Voice. It will presumably allow you to talk to people on computers, which is currently something FaceTime is lacking.

Besides just the video chat features (Google might need to start pushing its hardware makers towards putting a front facing camera into more of their smartphones in the future), the entire operating system is looking to be getting a user interface overhaul. Google is apparently tired of people calling it an unpolished version of iOS. I’ve used plenty of Androids and several versions of iOS and have to admit that Google really needs to do this. Right now, Android still looks a little hacked together. Scrolling isn’t as smooth as it could be and where’s the nice little visual effects? Google is working on fixing this as we speak. Let’s hope they get it right.

Also, the Google apps running on the platform are getting redone. Why? So they don’t look like a random collection of Google apps but instead look like they were written for the operating system. Google is pretty bad at making sure things match up and sometimes I wonder if they understand the concept of aesthetics. BlackBerry OS 6 looks more visually appealing sometimes and that’s not a compliment to BlackBerry.

Your appetite been properly whetted for Gingerbread and its late 2010 or early 2011 launch? Good. If all goes as planned, Android will start looking like it deserves its title as the fastest selling smartphone OS in the country.

One more thing though. The name of the version of Android after Gingerbread is rumored to be ‘Ice Cream’. Anyone want some Android Ice Cream? I’m not sure where Google gets the names for these things. I get the idea of codenaming things with a constant theme, but Ice Cream? That’s exactly what you don’t want on your brand new touchscreen smartphone. Oh well, let me know what you think. Ready for a little Google Chat on your Android?

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