Android This Week: Gingerbread; Kindle; EVO 4G Video

Details about Android 3.0 — aka Gingerbread — are already appearing on the web, and it sounds like Google is trying to stem the fragmentation caused by having so many versions of its platform in the market. One reason for this image of fragmentation is the special interface enhancements some vendors are putting on their Android phones, and a major change to appear in Gingerbread is a locked-down user interface that will give Android a more uniform look. This will certainly help the platform’s image with consumers, but it does raise concerns as to whether or not these limitations will restrict handset makers from creating brands through interface enhancements, such as HTC’s Sense and Samsung’s TouchWiz.

Amazon created a platform around the Kindle reader by producing apps for smartphones that can use content in the Kindle book store without requiring the electronic reader. The Kindle app for the iPhone has been well received, which in turn caused Android phone owners to wonder if Amazon was ever going to release a reader app for that platform. It finally appeared this week, bringing Android into parity with the iPhone and BlackBerry. Kindle for Android incorporates the Whispersync technology that keeps consumer’s purchases and bookmarks synchronized across multiple reading devices. This makes it possible to read a Kindle book on the iPad, and then switch to an Android phone and pick up automatically where you left off.

The HTC EVO 4G on the Sprint network has been very popular since its release last month. Sprint sold out of existing stock at least twice, due to the high sales volume. I shot a video of the EVO 4G in action that gives a good overview of the superphone and demonstrates why it is so popular. Its large 4.3-inch display, as well as its front-facing camera that competes with that of the iPhone 4, makes the EVO 4G is the hottest Android phone currently available. The video also gives a bonus look at the AMOLED screen technology used in the Droid Incredible phone alongside the conventional LCD display of the EVO 4G.

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