Oct 12 AT 12:54 PM Taylor Wimberly 37 Comments

Video calling will be a major feature in Gingerbread phones

Not much is known about the future Android update codenamded Gingerbread (which could end up as Android 2.3, 2.5, or who knows), but as we approach the release early next year more details are starting to trickle out. We think it will feature a new user interface, be optimized for gaming, and according to a recent interview with Andy Rubin we should also expect video chat.

The HTC EVO 4G was the first Android phone with a front-facing camera, but the Android SDK didn’t support that feature at the time of its release and Sprint worked with Qik to provide the first video chat application. Fring also jumped on board with their app, but many of us have been waiting for Google to officially support it with their own service.

In a move that is surely a response to Apple’s FaceTime video chat on the iPhone 4, Android engineers are working to bring Google Talk Video to the mobile platform.

When asked about video chat coming to Android, Andy Rubin responded, “We support video chat today, with Google Talk Video. It works on the desktop. Whether that can be repurposed and made appropriate for sipping bandwidth for mobile, it’s an exercise that’s underway.” If Andy is willing to admit that its underway, that tells me the project could be nearing completion and already in the testing phases.

Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha already said back in June that his company would produce several Android phones this year that featured front-facing cameras. None of those phones have materialized, but we hear the Droid Terminator will be one of Moto’s first devices to receive dual cameras.

HTC and Samsung have already produced Android phones with front-facing cameras so it appears there are finally enough devices out there that Google is ready to put them to use.

I have done a lot of traveling over the last couple of months and I was lucky enough to speak with several hardware parters who are working on Tegra 2 devices. I tried my best to squeeze some Gingerbread details out of them, but most were pretty tight lipped. However, the one thing I heard from several sources was that Gingerbread is going to “change the way we use our phones.”

I’m still not really sure what they meant by that comment, but adding video chat is a good start. What do you think Google has in store for Gingerbread? Would an official video chat application change the way you use your phone?

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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