Android 2.3 vs 2.4: Two Bites at Gingerbread

February 21, 2011
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Google's naming convention was supposed to make differentiating Android releases easier, but Gingerbread seems to have come out half-baked. Launching alongside the Nexus S, still the only phone to officially run Android 2.3, it's now confirmed that Android 2.4 will not only be arriving imminently, but also bear the name Gingerbread.

As rumored earlier in the year, that has meant a delay in non-Google Gingerbread handsets. At the time, it was suggested that Google was trying to keep the field clear for the Nexus S, maintaining the Samsung's flagship status for as long as possible until dual-core phones arrived, but it now seems that the delay has been to give Android engineers time to bring 2.4 up to speed.

Android Community spoke with HTC in a pre-MWC 2011 briefing, and the company confirmed that its new range would arrive with Android 2.4 rather than 2.3. The exact differences weren't specified - HTC described them as having "no impact on the user" and being mainly bugfixes - but we've also heard that 2.4 addresses the compatibility of apps that have been written for dual-core devices (such as Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets on chipsets like Tegra 2) running on single-core handsets like the Nexus S.

Where that leaves devices like the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc - which the company insisted would launch with 2.3, but which has been spotted running what was listed as 2.4 - is unclear. Android 2.4-based handsets have proved rare when it comes to in-the-wild sightings, with HTC's prototypes in Barcelona last week actually running 2.3.2. The company has said the first of its Gingerbread phones will arrive in early Q2, aka April 2011, at which point we'd expect the Nexus S - and perhaps the Nexus One - to get an Android 2.4 update as well.


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  • Anonymous

    I think it is more about the fragments system introduced in honeycomb then it is about single core vs dual core. With fragments, the ui can rearrange itself depending on the screen surface area available. So what is single column on the small screen of a phone becomes 2+ on a large screen in landscape. This then allows devs to write one set of code and have it adapt to the whole range of android devices.

  • G-MaN

    Ha, someone said Nexus One?

    • DrCoRrEcT

      Other than the Nexus S, I’m sure the Nexus One would put all other phones to shame. As far as quadrant and linpack scores, the N1 still is above the pack especially running CyanogenMod 6.1.1.

      Do some research first turbo.

    • dagamer34

      Despite being an official Google Android phone, it still hasn’t gotten Gingerbread, and that’s quite pathetic.

  • Ohhkenniplease

    I think that the new OS should be called “Iced Gingerbread” to keep in the spirit of the letter OS’s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1589827783 Rick Seiden

    I’m curious about upgrading from the installed version of Android to the next version. Is it a universally possible thing, or is it device by device? And do I have to root the device.

    I’m thinking about picking up a cheap 2.1 tablet that has wifi, but I don’t want to be stuck with 2.1 forever. I know there will be hardware limitations (3 needs a 1 GHz processor and at least 512megs of ram, so if I don’t get that, I know I won’t be able to go to 3, for instance).

    So, does anyone know about the upgrade path of an Android tablet in general?

    • Atkinchris

      The upgrades are entirely device specific. A cheap 2.1 tablet, such as the Chinese iPad clones may never get 2.2 without a community release. The wildfire, an htc mainstream phone, had to wait ages, well past froyo’s release to get anything more than a leaked, buggy build, and only recently got official ota builds (though community builds have been at Gingerbread for a few months). In most cases you do have to root the device, though this should not be something you fear; rooting is very useful.

      Basically; don’t assume, unless you already have a rom and instructions, that you’ll be able to update a device.

  • Anonymous

    “The company has said the first of its Gingerbread phones will arrive in early Q2, aka April 2011, at which point we’d expect the Nexus S – and perhaps the Nexus One – to get an Android 2.4 update as well.”

    Translated from Google-language to Real-language, that means it will probably come as upgrade to stock Android phones (Nexus One and Nexus S) around August. (the “in a few weeks” for the Gingebread 2.3 upgrade to the Nexus One first leaked early November has not yet arrived late February. Clearly “a few weeks” means about 4 months in Google-speak :-) )

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=545634778 Alan Paone

      Gingerbread is a buggy mess. Google doesn’t want to have to replace nexus ones that get thrown through walls when they reboot in the middle of a call, so they’re probably fixing, and leapfrogging to 2.4.
      For some reason, the only phone that gingerbread runs properly seems to be the Nexus S

      • Iseverynametakenwtf

        I downloaded the 2.3 on my nexus one two days ago. I have had not one problem running it at all. Not sure what you are talking about. Just think maybe a iPhone fanboy?

      • Iseverynametakenwtf

        I downloaded the 2.3 on my nexus one two days ago. I have had not one problem running it at all. Not sure what you are talking about. Just think maybe a iPhone fanboy?

      • Drazibaftab

        exactly man my nexus one is running gingerbread 2.3.3 perfectly… infact i am enjoying it way more the froyo… the only drawback is that it stopped running need for speed shift…

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amarjeet-Singh/100000069519318 Amarjeet Singh

        because it is not compatible with shift

  • Cer

    Completely pwned less than a day later.

  • vicky

    Would 2.4 have fixed the Arabic in 2.3

  • Alchemyoflife

    Will we be able to update to 2.4 android  from 2.3.3 on our smartphones?

    • Sello Lekgothoane

      Yeah. I updated mine yesterday.
      Sony Ericsson Xperia arc using PC companion software that came with it