What we may see in Gingerbread, as tipped at Google IO in May

With the release of Android 2.3 Gingerbread imminent (I can almost smell it!), everyone is talking about the new phone OS, and what cool features might be coming along with.  We're looking forward to seeing how some things that needed changing were handled, and I'm itching to have a good look at the UI changes, no matter how subtle they may be. 

But if we have a look back at Google I/O in May, there are some other big, welcome changes that just might be coming.  Vic Gundotra (Google Vice President of engineering) gave us a bunch of teasers during the Day 2 keynote last spring; let's have a look after the break.

To follow along, here's the YouTube video of the keynote speech (best presentation ever).  It's long (over 45 minutes), but it's chock full 'o goodies and worth a second look.

YouTube link for mobile viewing

Much of what Vic shows us in this presentation has already come to light.  Some was built into Froyo, some came alater via the Market, and some we're still waiting for.  The whole video is worth watching, but I've taken the time to dig out the bits we're interested in.

Fast forward to about 31 minutes in.  This is where Vic starts showing us what is coming in the future.  We can't be sure that his particular future is now, but with the Marketplace shake-up in the works it's a pretty good bet.

Browse the Market from your PC

The Android Market website in its current form, well, sucks.  It appears to be just something that was thrown together to provide some sort of web presence while the "real" site gets developed.  What Vic showed us hopefully was an early version of the real website.  In this version of the Market, you'll be able to browse all the apps, select ones to install, then install them to your device.  Without any wires or tethered connection.

I'm sure Google can pull this off, being the masters of the cloud that they are.  And here's hoping we see it very soon when Gingerbread drops.

The Google Music store

Music stores are nothing new.  The Amazon store that comes standard on most with Google devices works just fine, and I've used it myself a time or two.  But Google can move things from "just fine" to "damned amazing" with their own cloud based music store, tied in with the Market.  Imagine being able to download and delete music as you wish, with the cloud keeping track of what you have purchased -- just like Android apps are done now.  None of this download to your computer, then hook your device up to a wire, and going through a lengthly sync process just because you bought a song while web surfing.  And for those of us who use Linux on the desktop, this is the only option.  Vic says it best -- "there's this thing, called the internet."

Streaming music

No, we're not talking streaming music from the cloud here.  Slacker or Pandora do a fine job at that.  Google is taking things a step further and using the Android Market cloud to stream DRM free music stored on your computer in your iTunes or Windows Media library right to your Android device.  Vic tells us that Google bought out a company called Simplified Media to do just this.  I can't be the only music buff who is drooling over having a native solution to do this built in to my phone or media player. Goodbye, music-filled SD cards!


Of course, no update would be complete without ponies.  Let's hope Google can deliver.

Will we see any of this? It's more than likely. When will we see any of this? Soon, we hope.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • I love ponies!
    All that other stuff was cool though.
    I want some gingerbread :-(
  • OMG you will give your First Born??!!?? I will one up you First Born and My Wife... hehe... Little do they know..shhhh
  • i will give google my first born if i can stream my music library w/out having to be connected to my networks wifi
  • You guys need to download mSpot from the Market! I have been streaming my music from iTunes for a while now. Does playlists too..
  • Stuff like mspot is cool for people who keep a truck load of music files on their PC. I use to use it till i realized that I rather save battery life and just put them on my SD care because the battery trade off is not worth it.
  • I suggest Audiogalaxy for pure streaming. Excellent and free service, also streams to a web portal so you can get your music pretty much anywhere with a browser.
  • I'll put in another plug for Subsonic. Feature-filled, cross-platform, and gets updated with all sorts of new goodies (widgets!) almost weekly.
  • Also access to API's from the browser
  • i can't wait to have pony power under the hood..
  • LOL...."MY LITTLE PONY" haha....most of the readers here prolly doesnt know what im talking about there.
  • What ARE they talking about with "ponies"?
  • Lets not forget Google bought that awesome keyboard company, blind type. Their demonstration videos were amazing. Hopefully Google implements their awesome keyboard into Gingerbread. Their gonna implement that keyboard sooner or later and I hope it's sooner.
  • I heard people talking gingerbread before froyo even got out so its like we are never happy with what we have now, somewhat like that... but NOW that I have had froyo awhile on my EVO I gotta say I can't wait until gingerbread shows up, froyo is frankly a mess. Its like windows vista, short lived and buggy as hell SO GET IT REPLACED ASAP. There are some new features in froyo but a lot of things don't work like they did in enclair. Google image search is broken, pics in text messages is broken, battery life took a huge hit also. So yeah, bring on the Ginger kids! Get this vista garbage off my Supersonic!
  • Buggy? Its your phone or your carrier, not Froyo. Froyo is rock solid on the the Nexus One.
  • I hadn't realized Google bought Simplify Media (not Simplified). I used their iPod touch app to stream my music from home and it was very fast and stable. I'm kooking forward to some intigration of that technology in Gingerbread.
  • I think its funny that the Google developers use macs. You would think thy run Linux or Windows (ewh).
  • A fair number of them (probably most) use a special version of Ubuntu:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goobuntu My first thought upon seeing those slides was that they had an early version of Unity.
  • Will ponies dance rhumba 3G/1X/3G?
  • Most of these things have very little to do with Android, as evidenced by the fact that everything Jerry mentioned has been done by others. Appbrain, Amazon Music (and others), 4 or 9 music streamers, etc. Even Pony apps. All done with Eclair or earlier, not even requiring Froyo. Interesting stuff, never the less, and making a movement toward taking on iTunes store head to head. But I'm still dying to know what's new in Gingerbread itself.
  • So I am new to the Android OS, I have to say I love it. coming from a Blackberry where an updated OS could take months and months to finally get to your carrier(ok an official update), how has Android been? Lets say 2.3 is released tomorrow, will everyone be able to update their phones? Or will it have to go to each carrier who will then release the update. I was lucky that Telus had HTC Desires that were already running 2.2 but eager to see what 2.3 holds.
  • After 2.3 is released on the Nexus phone(s) you'll have to wait for HTC to update the Desire and then wait for Telus to add their crapware. At least HTC is usually the quickest of the manufacturers to update. However, the developers at XDA will have both a "vanilla" 2.3 rom and a carrier unbranded HTC rom out well before that happens.
  • thanks for the info! Patience is not one of my strong points. :)
  • Lengthy synch process? Don't you just drag and drop the files you want? I use two obscure operating systems on my desktops and this is how it works for me. And works flawlessly. If I had to access my music through iTunes, I'd be doomed.
  • We're talking about buying music from your phone operating system's web store. This mean iTunes, until Google makes theirs available. And it won't require a cable or syncing according to Vic's presentation, yet still be managed through your Google account, taking desktop operating system out of the picture.
  • This still has me pumped for the Nexus S lol.
  • The Audiogalaxy app lets you stream drm music free to your phone in froyo. It's pretty nice :)
  • System wide copy/paste would be really nice...
  • its 11:20 nov 21 just got the 2.3 update downloaded just fine and is friggen awesome
  • pics or didn't happen.
  • Why be a dildo and lie? Who benefits from bullshi++ing everyone?
  • lol you will see... a simple plz show pics woulda got ya somewhere but douchebaggin will get ya nowhere....Beat it!!!
  • I'm sure it would have. As was said, no pics means it didn't happen.
  • Moto Droid on VZW 2.2.1 pushed to my phone this morning 12/9/10 haven't noticed ANY changes and can't find a changelog but hopefully this system update is an upgrade