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Android Gingerbread: More ingredients added to the mix

Android Gingerbread, the next version of the smart phone OS, will look prettier and offer sweet face-time action with video chat.

Gingerbread, the latest version of Google's smart phone OS, will be a graphical overhaul of the Android interface and include video chat, according to Phandroid and the whispers of a trusted Google source.

It's not clear whether Gingerbread will be numbered 2.5 or 3.0 yet, but it'll be better looking and have support for video chat, using the same protocols that power Google Talk. This paves the way for Android owners to communicate with each other FaceTime-style.

Standard icons have been redesigned so they look simpler, cleaner and more uniform. Google has also embraced green as the signature Android colour, matching the robot mascot and logo. The home screen is fundamentally the same, with the same focus on widgets.

The source said one of Google's aims was to work on its apps so that they felt like an extension of Android, rather than tacked on as an afterthought. YouTube has been given a makeover -- with a reshuffling of sections, this app is now much nicer to look at. You can also view the YouTube app in a new full-screen continuous-play mode.

Gingerbread should also adopt the rubber-band bouncing effect of iOS that occurs when you reach the end of a scrolling list. There's no confirmation, but there could be hardware acceleration, which will allow for smoother navigation. It was also suggested that Gingerbread could be more similar to the HTC Sense UI, rather than the stock Android experience.

Google Voice, the service that lets you use one number across multiple landlines and mobiles, hasn't yet made it to the UK. But if the service arrives before Gingerbread hits, you'll be able to make and receive phone calls using WiFi or 3G with your Google Voice number. Of course, there are other VoIP options you can download to make these types of calls, but it'll be the first time we see it on Google's platform natively.

With devices like this monster Terminator Motorola Tegra super phone and a new Gingerbread-running LG tablet expected next year, we have a good deal to look forward to. In saying that, many of you still don't have Android 2.2, or even 2.1. Do you think Android is getting ahead of itself with development? Comments welcome.