Schmidt: Gingerbread Sooner, Chrome OS Later

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, talking at the Web 2.0 conference today, made a couple announcements regarding devices that you, reader, may be interested in hearing. After all, with Android poised to become the most populous mobile OS in the world, any major update is worth discussing.

Gingerbread, as they are calling Android version 2.3 (apparently not 3.0, said to be Honeycomb), was shown off on what appeared to be a Nexus S, which would make sense as the first phone to roll out with the update. New features include near-field communication and potentially face recognition, in addition to the resolution compatibility improvements and other under-the-hood changes.

Schmidt outed Gingerbread and the Nexus S as being forthcoming within the next few weeks, which suggests we’ll have a solid date soon. I’m guessing a joint press conference with Samsung, who will trumpet, as usual, the super AMOLED and impressive specs of the Galaxy series of handsets. If nothing else, the Nexus S will likely be rid of Samsung’s troublesome Android skin, which will alone put it ahead of its carrier-branded brethren.

As for Chrome OS, well, it’s not the news we wanted to hear. November was supposed to be the big debut, but that’s looking mighty unlikely, as Schmidt put the release at sometime in “the next few months.” No holiday release then, I suppose.

He also noted that the OS was orientated towards netbooks rather than devices that “involve touch.” That’s a big disappointment for me, since I don’t particularly enjoy Android as a tablet platform, and have been looking forward to Chrome OS as a replacement for some time. That said, Google products have a habit of metamorphosing after release, usually for the better and broader, so I’ll hold onto my hopes for now.