Where Is Gingerbread?

After weeks of speculation, on December 6, 2010 Google released the SDK for Android 2.3, code named Gingerbread, and announced the first phone to run Gingerbread, the Nexus S. The Nexus S was released later that month, and for now it is the only phone running Android 2.3. Back on December 21 the @googlenexus account on Twitter posted that the Gingerbread OTA for Nexus One was coming in a matter of weeks. Engadget wrote at the the time, “Hey, better weeks than months, right?”

We are now only days away from one month since that tweet, and still there is no sign of Gingerbread for the Nexus One. In the time since the Nexus S started shipping Google started showing off Android 3.0, code named Honeycomb, and in what I think is a bizarre twist, news has leaked about Android 2.4, code named Ice Cream or Ice Cream sandwich being released this summer. As time continues to pass, I am starting to wonder why Google has not pushed Gingerbread to the Nexus One.

Because of the announcements that have been made, I am wondering if Android 2.3 will be released for any phones other than the Nexus S. Brighthand recently posted an article highlighting some of the problems with Android 2.3, most notable of which is the SMS bug that causes some text messages to be sent to the wrong phone. The only problem I have had with my Nexus S is a few spontaneous reboots of the phone. Is it possible that Android 2.3 is so buggy that it will be quickly replaced by Android 2.4?

And what to make of Honeycomb (Android 3.0)? So far we have only heard about Honeycomb on tablets and I have not heard much mention of it running on smartphones. I think there are a couple of possibilities, one is that Google might fork Android into a tablet version and smartphone version, which Honeycomb being the first release of the tablet version of Android. Another possibility is that Honeycomb will run on smartphones, but will have hardware requirements that prohibit it from running on older Android handsets like the EVO and Droid 2.

We might not get better clarity on the Android release schedule for several months. Mashable speculates that Android 2.4 might be formally announced at the annual Google I/O conference in May, making for a summer release of Android 2.4 in the same way that Android 2.2 (Froyo) was released last year. Unfortunately, handset manufacturers are likely working right now with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), meaning that at the time Android 2.4 is being released, new phones will appear in stores running Android 2.3.