Android 2.3 Gingerbread: Best features

Things you need to know about Android 2.3 Gingerbread

Serving up the tasty new Android 2.3 features to look forward to for the HTC Desire, Samsung Galaxy S2 and fellow Android phone compatriots

Like we did with Froyo and dessert named Android updates before that, Android 2.3, is beginning to be rolled out with a Samsung Galaxy S2 Android 2.3.4 update set to land 'soon' and a HTC Desire Gingerbread update set for launch this month.

But how will Gingerbread change the way we use Android phones in the future? We take a look what lies in store for Android fans.

See below for our snapshot view of the Android 2.3 Gingerbread: Best features.

1/ Gaming

The presence of Android games in the Android Market continues to grow steadily, but in terms of quality it still lags behind the App Store. In the words of Google, Android 2.3 focuses "On optimizing performance and tools for games development".

So what does that mean for users? Well crucially, there is now support for gyroscope, rotation vector, linear acceleration, gravity, and barometer sensors, which means app developers can create games which you have more responsive control. This is nothing new to iPhone games, but for Android it's a step closer to delivering equally as impressive games.

2/ New-look UI

According the Google Developer page, devices like the Nexus S will benefit from a UI that is "a simplified visual theme of colours against black brings vividness and contrast to the notification bar, menus, and other parts of the UI". The hope is that user experience will be much quicker and learning to use the UI will be whole lot easier.

3/ New keyboard

The on-screen keyboard has been refined to help deliver speedier typing and editing while some keys have been redesigned and reshaped all together. Multi-touch support is also a notable new addition.

4/ Near-field communications

NFC (Near-Field Communications) has been one of the key features discussed when talk of Android 2.3 first began to surface, and a NFC-reader application has officially arrived. The idea is turn devices into bio wallets by placing a NFC chip into your phone means you will be able to scan information from items and then buy them through your handset without the use of a credit card.

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5/ Front-facing camera support

Extremely beneficial for app developers, the new OS helps to identify whether the front-facing camera or the rear-facing camera is best suited to the particular app they are developing. With all the talk about FaceTime, that should benefit video calling apps and camera apps that require higher resolution images.

6/ Internet telephone over SIP

Developers can now create apps with internet calling integrated into the app. A SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) account will be required to access internet phoning however.

7/ App Manager

Helping you keep an eye on what apps are running on your device, you can now manage your applications from the Options Menu and Launcher. This should come in handy when you are trying to conserve battery life and the identifying the biggest memory-munching apps.

8/ Copy and paste

Hoping to deliver an iPhone-like copy and paste experience, 2.3 has made the browsing tool easier to use by letting users drag markers over areas and then copying it to the clipboard.

9/ Better audio for apps

Developers will now be able to integrate audio effects such as bass boost, headphone virtualization and reverb into applications so users can benefit from a richer audio experience from their Android devices.

10/ Extra large screen support

Crucially, the Gingerbread OS brings support for larger screen devices which could see the OS appearing on one or two tablets in the very near future.