Gingerbread Update: Android 2.3.4 with Video Chat Coming

Android OS 2.3.4 Update Going to Nexus S within a few Weeks, Provides Video & Voice Chat

Google introduced voice and video chat for GMail way back in November 2008.  Today, Google announces that they're going to start rolling Google Talk with video and voice chat out to Android devices.  First to get it?  Of course, the Google-branded Samsung Nexus S, with an OTA update to Android OS 2.3.4 (Gingerbread).

The service should work over Wi-Fi connections, or, if your carrier supports it, 3G or 4G.  We'll let you know when we hear what carriers' plans for this feature are.  But since the Nexus S gets this new feature first, and that phone only works on T-Mobile, expect Magenta to support this when the update moves to their other smartphones.  And please don't get me started on Verizon's LTE woes (Samsung Droid Dis-Charge today, anyone?) or AT&T's nonexistent HSPA+.

GMail vs Google Talk for Mobile

So how will Video and Voice Chat for Mobile work differently than for the browser version? You'll be able to read text chats while using video/voice, the text will be "overlaid on the screen," just as you see above.  So there's an accomodation for the smaller screen real estate on a mobile device.  If you need to perform another action on the phone, such as look up a contact's phone number, the video will pause while audio continues.

And if you don't have a front-facing camera on your phone when you get the update, don't plan on doing any video chatting.  You should be able to use the voice feature, though.

Video: Google Talk with video and voice chat for Android

Here's a very brief video Google put together to show video and voice chat on a Nexus S.

Take a look at the Help information for Google Talk for Mobile.  It's all been updated to include the new Video and Voice Chat features.  Just look for the microphone or videocam icons when your device gets the OTA upgrade.  Do you think the Nexus S will see this update in time for Google I/O in two weeks?

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