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Gingerbread is here. We update our Nexus One to Android 2.3.3

Android 2.3 Gingerbread was announced a while ago, and we’ve been hearing that its coming to the Nexus One as recent as last week and as late as last November.

But it’s finally here. Google has been busy pushing out the latest available edition – Android 2.3.3 – to Nexus S’s and Nexus Ones this week, and we’ve updated our trusty old Nexus One.

The install itself is pretty simple – a single stage update, with no need to back anything up.

We thought you’d like to have a little look to see what Gingerbread on a Nexus One looks like, in case you’re still waiting for the update yourself.

HTC Desire, Desire HD and Desire Z owners will also want to have a gander at this, as HTC has announced that Android 2.3 will be winging its way to these phones this summer.

Click on through to get a taste of what Gingerbread will look like on your Android phone.

A lot of the changes that Android 2.3 Gingerbread brings are cosmetic ones; the old Windows-style grey notification bar at the top of the screen has been replaced with an HTC Sense style black one with green accents.

This predominantly black with coloured bits scheme extends throughout the menus of Android 2.3 – the settings shortcuts here that appear with a tap of the Menu key are done over in black where they were light grey before.

Icons, such as these five in the standard settings widget have also been redrawn, and look a lot sharper and neater for it.

Did you notice the ‘Manage Apps’ button on the previous page? A tap of this will bring you to the all-new Applications menu. Better app management was something we saw with the 2.2 Froyo upgrade, and it’s been given another overhaul this time round too.

It’s now easier to see at a glance which of your apps can be moved over to your SD card. Always useful when you’re juggling for storage space.

Ones which are already installed on your card will have a green tick next them; those which don’t wont. From there its a simple case of tapping on an app an moving it to and from your phone’s internal storage as you like.

You also get a visualisation of how much space on your SD card you’ve got at the bottom of the screen.

Since Android 2.3 was announced, we knew that the default Android keypad was going to get a respray, and get a nifty new cut and paste tool.

What we didn’t know is that the new cut and paste function would also work on custom Android keypads like SwiftKey as well. Double plus bonus!

To recap, it’s now easier to select specific words in texts and emails, and to then drag the two orange selection arrows left and right as needed.

Simply long press on the text entry field, tap ‘Select Word’ and then simply move the arrows around as you like.

Ever wonder where that thing you downloaded on your Android phone went and you can’t find the right app to find it and you know it’s in there somewhere…?

Well wonder no longer – Google has included a handy new app called Downloads with the Android 2.3 update.

Amazingly enough, this allows you to keep track of everything you’ve downloaded from the interwebs to your phone.

You can find Downloads in the app launcher once the update has finished – it’s a little green square with a white downward-pointing arrow on it.

As well as better app and download management, you’ll also be able to keep track of what’s eating your battery with greater ease.

The new Battery Use menu allows you to change things like the screen brightness, and force stop any apps and games that are excessively leeching your battery life.

It’s also handy to get an at-a-glance view of what’s doing what in your phone when you think its just good for playing Angry Birds and checking Twitter.

You can access the Battery Use menu by going to either Settings > Applications, or Settings > About Phone.

While you’re here, you might want to check out our feature on how to best preserve your phone’s battery life. Go on, you know you want to.

Last but not least, we were pleased to see this; the cathode ray tube-style shutdown screen that we first saw on the Nexus S a few months back. It looks like this will be a standard perk of all phones and devices running Android 2.3.

Not much more we can say really, other than it looks cool. Check out the video below for a better idea of how this looks.

That’s pretty much we were able to glean from the Android 2.3.3 Nexus One update at a glance. No glimpse of that rumoured ‘Music Sync’ setting (that was the first thing we looked for) or any other hidden goodies.

Things we didn’t get to try out or couldn’t try out were SIP internet calling, mainly because we don’t know anyone who has a SIP account.

Obviously, we couldn’t test out the NFC capabilities on our Nexus One, seeing as it doesn’t come with an NFC chip.

We will keep prodding and poking around until we find a magical hidden setting that turns our phone into a unicorn or something.


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