Ginger up your phone

Once upon a time there were some Cupcakes, and people enjoyed them very much. Then they were replaced with a Donut, and people liked that even better. Then there was an Eclair and then, because things were getting a bit heavy on the sugar, some Frozen Yoghurt.

Soon, there's going to be some Gingerbread, followed at some point by some Honeycomb. That one's getting people particularly excited. Then, at some point in the future, there'll be some Ice Cream.

Confused? Welcome, dear reader, to the weird world of Android versions. Android, as regular readers will know, is Google's smartphone operating system, which powers phones from the likes of HTC, Samsung and LG. Android is updated several times a year, and Google has an adorable habit of naming the versions for sweets. The first commercial release, Android 1.5, was Cupcakes; then came Donut and Eclair; the current version, Android 2.2, is known as 'FroYo'.

Android fanboys - of which there are many - get very excited about new versions of the software, believing each version will be the one to let Android really challenge Apple's iPhone. But the next update, Gingerbread, is believed to be particularly important, as it'll improve Android support for tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab. LG went as far as to delay their plans for an Android tablet until the new version was ready.

Well, the wait is almost over. A tweet by Alvaro Fuentes Vasquez, a member of the 'Open Handset Alliance' that helps govern Android (which, though Google-powered, is sort-of open-source), has revealed that Gingerbread will be released to developers in the next few days. That means customer editions are only weeks away.

There is some bad news, though. Androidheads had been speculating that Gingerbread might be such a major upgrade it would earn the official title Android 3.0. We now know that's not the case, as the same tweet also revealed that Gingerbread is to be known properly as Android 2.3, marking it as a fairly minor upgrade.

Will those tablet improvements have to wait till Android 3.0 (presumably what Google were referring to when they talked about 'Honeycomb', or even Android 4.0 (Ice Cream)? We'll find out when developers start nibbling on Gingerbread in a few days.

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