Google has started rolling out Android 2.3.3 in an over the air update for the Google Nexus One and Samsung Nexus S phones. The Nexus S already shipped with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but the update brings the latest version of the OS. This is the first official version of Gingerbread for the Nexus One.

For the most part, Gingerbread looks a lot like Android 2.2 Froyo, but the operating system includes a new keyboard layout, some user interface tweaks, better power management, and improved copy and paste functionality.

This update also brings support for Google’s WebM video format and Nexus S phones will receive advanced Near Field Communication functionality including the ability to modify rewritable NFC tags. The Nexus One doesn’t have the hardware to support NFC. There’s also API support for Bluetooth connections with nonsecure sockets.

On the other hand, the update also removes one key feature from the Nexus S: the ability to synchronize your contacts with Facebook. That’s because Facebook doesn’t actually allow the data to be downloaded to your phone. Instead, Android phones grabbed Facebook data from the cloud to display side by side with your local data. But since this doesn’t give users (or Google) complete control over your data including the ability to transfer it easily between devices, Google has decided to disable Facebook sync.

If you have a Google Nexus One which came with Facebook preloaded, you won’t be affected by this change. Google says it only affects the Nexus S and some future devices (probably the ones that fall under the Google Nexus brand).

Right now the update is only available as an over-the-air download which Google is slowly rolling out. In other words, you may not be prompted to update your device for a few days or weeks. But I suspect that it won’t be too long before someone at the xda-developers forum finds the download link and posts a file which you can use to manually update your phone.

It’s also worth noting that if you have a rooted phone, you’ll probably have to re-root it after applying the update. And if you’re running a custom ROM such as CyanogenMod-7, this update isn’t for you.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...

2 replies on “Google rolls out Android 2.3.3 to Nexus One, Nexus S smartphones”

  1. Can someone please explain how the OTA updates work?

    Google obviously releases the file, but how does it make it’s way from Google to my phone?

    I’d love to understand the process.

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