Gingerbread UI Changes Technically Detailed



A recent video stealthily revealed the most clear vision of Gingerbread to date, and while we haven’t been graced with more details of exactly how the new stuff will look, a Google presentation on interface tips and tricks for the San Francisco Android User Group revealed some of the technical details going on behind the scenes that should translate to a much more appealing look for Android.

For starters, windows in Gingerbread will feature 32-bit color and individual transparency channels to handle smooth shading and gradients. The move to 32 bit will cut back on color banding and dithering, while additional tweaks will help with drawing, rendering, and animation. Now we just need the Google event where they actually unveil the new version of Android. That would be something.

[via AndroidCentral]

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  1. What is banding and dithering?

  2. Hell yea! Send it to G2 owners first!

  3. I really want to see what we are getting. I want to see it in action. Just show it and ship it out to N1’s. Who cares about having it on the Nexus S or whatever it will be called. That can come out later. I don’t even have a N1 and I’m saying this.

  4. Where you try to smooth out color transitions with only limited colors to do so, if you go from red to pink but only have 5 shadesto work with you will see a grainy image and what look like bars of color instead of a steady flow of transition

  5. Hardware Acceleration and integrated VoIP is all I need from Gingerbread.

  6. i never noticed any color banding. But I did notice dithering on my LG GW620 (aka Eve or Etna). i like dithering. reminds me of the dithering on PSX games :D

  7. @phoenix: banding is when a smooth gradient have obvious “steps”. Usually happens when a picture with 32 or 24 bit colors reduced to 16 or 8 bits. Dithering is when there’s dots all over the place to get rid of banding.

    i believe wikipedia has more on this.

  8. Windows on my Android?!? Nooooo!

    Oh, wait. Not that kind of windows. :P

    I like dithering too. Just the other day I was watching this video of this woman dithering….

    Oh, wait. Not that kind of dithering? Ooops! :P

  9. why does everyone get so pissy when you ask a question now days? really erks me when peoples first reply is “google is.” maybe id rather hear it from another human being.

  10. “google it”

  11. No big issue for me. My Galaxy S already has unmatched screen color/quality with super amoled. Dithering schmithering!

  12. LOL @ Chimphappyhour. You beat me to it.

  13. @ Terran…. don’t you know common courtesy goes out the window within internet forums.

  14. @Alex because sometimes those explanations are too complicated and it’s easier to ask people.

    @everyone who answered me: thank you. :)

  15. @Alex: you are a real shitdick. Google it.

  16. @ Terran – I’m with you. “learn to google stuff before asking others” reminds me of that Bruce Willis movie “Surrogates”. Sadly technology is bringing us farther and farther apart.

  17. This seems to imply that there won’t be hardware acceleration then for the UI, since all windows are now 32-bit but OpenGL surfaces are only 16-bit.

  18. Great news about making all 2D surfaces 32-bit color. But why are OpenGL surfaces 16-bit? Isn’t that a bit short-sighted, considering the new phones coming out now have powerful graphics processors?

    And @ToastnJam: Your phone’s hardware display quality means nothing if the operating system doesn’t use it. These changes affect EVERYONE running Android.

  19. ravi….I was being facetious.

  20. Awesome. It’s taking google years to make Android like iOS.

  21. *rant* The reason people are told to look something up instead of just being provided an answer – because, others of us are tired of the “entitled, I deserve to have everything given to me” mentally of most people nowadays! It takes so little effort to actually learn something on ones own. But, instead people just want to be spoon fed. *rant over!*

  22. @Shame, it actually takes less work to look it up than to post about it and wait for a response. I feel your pain. That said, I normally just ignore the people that refuse to seek their own answers.

  23. @Alex: Isn’t googling it a form of asking someone?

  24. @Patrick: No googling it is going out and finding information that someone has ALREADY provided. Asking someone to explain it again.

  25. @ Patrick :) touche, nice one.

  26. Translation: “No UI acceleration for you. You will continue to deal with lag and choppy scrolling, but now it will be more colorful.”

  27. For all the people that keep insisting that Gingerbread/Honeycomb will have a GPU accelerated UI, you may want to read this quote from Romain Guy’s website:
    “It is very naive to think that using the GPU to render text and bitmaps is suddenly going to fix every issue you may see. There are *many* things that can be done to improve performance of the UI without using the GPU. Notably improving touch events dispatching, reducing garbage collection pauses, asynchronous operations to avoid blocking the UI thread, etc. A one year old NexusOne (and other devices before) is perfectly capable of scrolling a list at close to 60fps (limited by the display’s refresh rate.) Using GPUs to do 2D rendering can introduce other types of inefficiencies (fillrate can be an issue, some primitives like arbitrary shapes are complicated to render with antialiasing, textures need to be uploaded, shaders compiled, etc.) I am not saying we won’t do GPU rendering for the UI (I have worked on it myself a couple of times to test it) but please stop assuming that this is what has to be done *right now*.”
    What is “naive” in my opinion, is believing that a laggy UI isn’t the single biggest issue with Android compared to iOS or WP7.

  28. So wait….
    we can fix the color banding issues with a firmware update,
    BUT on a nexus one NOTHING can be done to fix the multi-touch problems so I can play 3d games better? Wtf

  29. i do hope regular moto droid gets the update!!

  30. @Hendrix

    but you see that IS essentially going out asking some to explain it again.

  31. @all you smarties being so mean
    If a lazy and uninformed person inquires (enquires?? could one of you visit dictionary.com for me, I’m much too important to do this for myself) in a public forum, expressing ignorance about the very basis of the forum’s subject matter, why then you must suppress your frustration (shut up with the attitude, a**hole) and hold they widdle hands so they can catch up to the informed with as little exerted effort as possible. Be extra-special nice in your reply, lest they whine and cry, cuz u so meen!

  32. This 32 bits change in Gingerbread is nothing that couldn’t be done before by applications developers. Actually, transparent windows were already in 32 bits. We just made this the default to improve apps quality by default. The reason why OpenGL remain 16 bits is for compatibility reasons. We have encountered many OpeNGL games that rely on the window being 16 bits by default and changing it would break them. However, games can request 32 bits if they wish.

  33. Its called common courtesy. Something some of you wouldnt know anything about. The amount of time you spent complaining because someone asked a question it would’ve been quicker to just give them the answer, or better yet, ignore the question altogether and post a comment that actually contributes to the original post! What a concept.

  34. @idiots and their valiant defenders

    When the thread turns into 40 people asking the same lazy question over and over, while the rest inform with the benefits of google.com (also intellectual curiosity paired with personal initiative and the worthiness of the effort expended), I vote that you personally spend your time cleaning up the mess of a thread (kind of like this thread) these cretins create in their wake.

    Maybe some of you are just not aware of this thing called google.com? Are we off-topic enough for you now?

  35. Shaneaus: nice rant. But are you human? I don’t think someone asking a simple question, as opposed to looking it up on Google, is a person claiming to be “entitled” or even feeling that way. Asking aa question may be the easy way out, but as children we are taught no question is stupid. Now as adults, were told to Google everything, or we are entitled jerks if we don’t. I digress. Humanity has lost its way, at least in this forum.

  36. I’m glad they are fixing the didgeridoo band that keeps playing when my phone rings.

  37. @ToastnJam
    The reason some people have no common courtesy is that they are just elitist pricks that think they are soooooo much smarter and better informed than everyone else that they can belittle someone for asking a simple question.

    @Master of Dorks
    Not everyone lives on forum boards or tech web pages every minute of every day to have all this information. Now, take your hands at of the Doritos bag, put down the mountain dew, stop play World of warcraft, and maybe….. just maybe….. you can have a life away from your computer desk.

  38. Hoping that the release of 2.3 will be to everyone all at once…now THAT would be a lovely and welcome Christmas present to we Android owners!

    Happy Holidays to all!!

  39. @ToastnJam: Oops sorry, I guess I missed the tone of that message you posted. No offense intended. :)

    @mudrock: The color banding issues are fixed with a software update because color banding is a software issue, not a hardware one. The Nexus One’s multitouch issues are hardware related; the capacitive screen only measures a certain number of touches with a certain accuracy, which can’t be changed unless you get a new screen. Unless of course you were being facetious too! I seem to be having trouble picking up on that these days. :D

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