Next-Gen Android OS Gingerbread Due Q4, Froyo 2.2 Today
The Linux-based Android version 2.2, dubbed Froyo (frozen yogurt), isn't even officially out yet and the blogosphere is abuzz with reports that the follow-up, Gingerbread, is due in the fourth quarter of this year. During Google's developer conference, Google I/O, the Internet giant yesterday rolled out a new royalty-free, open-source video/media format, labeled WebM, and Gingerbread is mentioned in what appears to be an inadvertent leak in the WebM FAQ. "When will other Google products support WebM and VP8? WebM support in Android is expected in the Gingerbread release (currently planned for Q4, 2010). We expect many other Google products to adopt WebM and VP8 as they prioritize it with their other product requirements. Keep an eye on the WebM blog for announcements," states the FAQ. The WebM project, an industry initiative unveiled yesterday by Google in partnership with Mozilla, Opera and 40 other entities, "is dedicated to developing a high-quality, open video format for the Web that is freely available to everyone," according to the organization's Web site. Google acquired the video codec VP8 earlier this year when it bought On2 Technologies, and is bundling it with the open source audio codec Vorbis. Meanwhile, the mobile industry is eagerly anticipating the release of the next version of Android today, with Froyo 2.2 expected to be much faster than previous versions and provide Flash support and tethering.
Perhaps even more important than faster processing and new functionality, the Froyo 2.2. release is expected to mitigate some of the problems related to fragmentation in the Android ecosystem, as currently several versions exist on a multiple of handsets. Android's development cycle news comes as the open source mobile platform makes gains in market share, according to research firm Gartner. For the first quarter of this year, Nokia's Symbian lost 4.5 percentage points in global mobile OS market share, but still dominates at 44.3 percent. RIM dipped slightly, down 1.2 percent to 19.4 percent. Apple is in third with 15.4 percent and Android soared 707 percent, from 1.6 percent market share to 9.6 in the space of a year. The blog EuroDroid appears to be the site that broke the Gingerbread news in English after a Spanish-language Androidsis blog first saw the webM FAQ. Details of Gingerbread's version number and feature set have not been disclosed.