Samsung ships Gingerbread

Samsung is about to upgrade its Galaxy S smartphones and Galaxy Tab to Android 2.3 Gingerbread “soon”.

We do not recommend holding your breath for this. The word “soon” could mean anything from today to any temporal event in the next million years. After all a hundred years is practically immediate if you are a glacier and a million years is the time it takes to sneeze if you are a star.

Android 2.2 “Froyo” took a jolly long time for an upgrade which was expected “soon” and we expect the same messing around when it comes to Gingerbread.

Samsung confirmed yesterday it will begin rolling out Google’s Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” operating system for its Galaxy S smartphones and 7-inch Galaxy Tab tablet computer this month, which would be soon enough for even the most hardened sceptics, if it delivers.

Gingerbread will give users a better virtual keyboard, 3D graphics, a gyroscope and near field communications which will allow for the phone to become a credit card.

Unfortunately to have near field communications, smartphones need an NFC chips with none of the Galaxy S devices have although the Nexus S and Nexus S 4G handsets do. These only exist in the United States, so unless Samsung plans new releases, this is one upgrade that will pass most people by.

Samsung tells us that Gingerbread will begin rolling out via the phone maker’s Kies device management software for Galaxy S handsets and the Tab in the UK and Nordic countries beginning in mid-May.

Other European markets, North America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East Asia, Africa and rest of the world will get it soon after.

We know we are being mean, but soon after Samsung rolled out the Android 2.1-based Galaxy S lineup, the outfit said it would push all of the phones to Android 2.2 “Froyo” in the coming months. However, Samsung didn’t say it would take until this year to happen. T-Mobile’s Vibrant received Froyo in late January, while Sprint’s Epic 4G did not get the update until March. Verizon Wireless’ Samsung Fascinate still has not been up-graded.

Many of us are expecting a similar stunt this time. Samsung hinted to Eweek hat this would be the case. A spinner said that there were problems with the complexity and functionality of each Galaxy S device and this required extra testing.