Android 3.2 Honeycomb to Follow Gingerbread 3?

The next iteration of Google's mobile operating system Android, following Gingerbread 3.0 due out later this year, is expected to be an incremental update to version 3.1 or 3.2 and dubbed "Honeycomb," according to reports.

Android 2.2, or Froyo, is just now rolling out to smartphones including the Droid 2 and HTC Evo 4G, but the blog TechRadar today is citing "multiple sources" as confirming that the next version of Android will be called Honeycomb, following the dessert-themed monikers of the mobile OS. Prior versions of Android were codenamed Cupcake, Donut, Eclair and Froyo.

"It's likely that it will be more of an incremental upgrade, in the same manner as Android 2.2 (Froyo) was to Android 2.1 (Éclair) as Google seeks to perfect the new platform on tablets and high-end smartphones. That means Android Honeycomb will probably be Android 3.1 or Android 3.2, rather than a leap to the unimaginable magic of Android 4.0," writes Gareth Beavis at TechCrunch.

Meanwhile, details are still sketchy on Gingerbread 3.0, which is widely expected to be out in time for the holiday shopping season. For now, there's speculation that Android 3.0 will include a significant UI overhaul, based on some recent hirings at Google, but the Internet company has yet to disclose any details.

Industry watchers and early adopters are anticipating Froyo as it includes significant enhancements to the Google-backed mobile Linux OS.

Android 2.2 includes more mobile security features, such as support for complex passwords and policies, remote wipe and the ability to remotely lock the device to secure data if the smartphone is lost or stolen. It also includes support for Exchange calendars, Adobe Flash as well as tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot functionality, and, overall, performs much faster. The mobile OS also now allows for application storage on external devices and a more fluid mobile app market experience.

News of Honeycomb comes at a time when smartphone sales continue to surge, with Android-based handsets recently surpassing Apple's OS in sales for the first time.

In the second quarter, more than 61.6 million smartphones were sold, a 50.5 percent increase from the year-ago quarter. The top four smartphone operating system vendors accounted for 91 percent of all smartphone sales, with Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android-based devices enjoying the biggest jump, exploding from just under 756,000 units sold last year to more than 10.6 million this time around.

Thanks to the popularity of Android-based smartphones such as Motorola's Droid X and Sprint's HTC Evo 4 units, Android eclipsed the Apple iPhone OS for the No. 3 ranking worldwide -- behind Nokia's Symbian and Research in Motion's BlackBerry -- and No. 1 in the U.S.

TAGS:

Linux, Google, Android, Froyo, Gingerbread

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