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What happened to Android 2.4 Gingerbread? It's 2.3.3 instead

Don't hold your breath for Android 2.4 Gingerbread. The update advertised by some phone makers as 2.4 arrives as version 2.3.3. Confused? Let us elucidate.

There's no such thing as Android 2.4 Gingerbread -- yet, says Google. The latest version of Android, which has already appeared on the Google Nexus S and HTC Desire S, is Android 2.3.3. Stick with us as we explain what happened.

The outing of Android 2.4 appears to have been due to manufacturers jumping the gun about the name of Android's next iteration, when announcing their new smart phones and tablets in advance of Mobile World Congress last February. 

When HTC, for example, unmasked its new smart phones and tablet -- the Wildfire S, Desire S and Flyer -- it also said they would have the latest version of Android for smart phones, called Android 2.4. 

This minor upgrade to Android 2.3 would have the same nickname -- Gingerbread -- and include a handful of bug fixes. ViewSonic also said version 2.4 would include one new feature -- the ability for single-core phones to run apps designed for dual-core processors.

Since then, the Desire S has arrived in our hands -- without 2.4 on board. It turns out the update was officially released by Google with a number that more accurately reflected its incremental status -- version 2.3.3.

So will there ever be an Android 2.4? Google's Andy Rubin let slip that the next version of Android for smart phones will be nicknamed Ice Cream Sandwich. Google isn't saying how the numbers fit the name, however.

Version 3.0 is already taken -- it's Honeycomb, the release of the operating system for tablets such as the Motorola Xoom. Google says it's currently working on bringing the smart phone and tablet streams of Android together. But it's not saying what version number that combined OS will have, if that happens -- or if there will be more iterations between now and then.

We think Google should've straightened out the 2.4 naming confusion right off the bat. It's hard enough to sort out the messages from the networks and manufacturers about what Android updates are coming, and when, without having to guess at the latest version. At least we know ice cream is involved.

Are you as sick as we are of Android updates, or is variety the spice of life? Let us know in the comments.