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Android Gingerbread to launch in Q4 2010, according to WebM FAQ

News by Michael Oryl on Thursday May 20, 2010.

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Yesterday in a FAQ for its newly launched WebM video format, Google indicated that the upcoming "Gingerbread" version of its Android OS is currently planned to be released in Q4 of 2010. Gingerbread is the follow-up to Android 2.2 FroYo, which is widely expected to make its debut today at Google's I/O conference.

Google's WebM is a new open source video codec that is targeted at the brewing HTML5 video format wars. The HTML5 specification, which allows for native video embedding in web pages without the need for plug-ins like Adobe Flash, does not specify which video format is to be used. Apple and Microsoft are pushing the the expensive to license H.264 format, while others like Opera and Mozilla have been lobbying for open source standards.

WebM is Google's proposed answer. It is based on the VP8 video codec developed by On2, a company it recently purchased, and uses the open source Ogg Vorbis system for audio.

Update: It is worth noting that Microsoft has just changed its tune, and says that IE9's HTML5 support will include WebM.

HTML5 support with video for mobile devices is not likely to be in widespread use for quite some time to come. [via EngadgetMobile]


Kelly @ 10:15:03AM EDT on Thursday May 20, 2010

You need to do some research, Google is not 'brewing HTML5 video format wars.' They are solving the current format war. The VP8 codec already has commitments from all the major browsers including IE, except safari. If apple chooses to support it, then the video format problem is solved thanks to google.

Michael Oryl @ 10:56:21AM EDT on Thursday May 20, 2010

@Kelly - and you need to actually read the post. I didn't say Google was "brewing" a video format war, I said that its WebM was targeted at the brewing format wars. Those battles are already taking place, and this is Google's proposed solution.

davidjt52 @ 11:26:02AM EDT on Thursday May 20, 2010

I've seen other posts on this subject and they indicate that the H.264 format which you reference as expensive is free / open source - at least for the next few years. After that, it's cost is not currently known or if there'll be any license cost. Clarification?

Michael Oryl @ 11:35:56AM EDT on Thursday May 20, 2010

@davidjt52 - It is far from open source, H.264 is covered by many patents that will not expire for many years to come. The license managing group for H.264 said it would be royalty free to end users of free streaming internet video until 2015, at least. But people of my generation will possibly remember how Unisys came after the web for royalties to use the GIF image format many years after it had been in widespread use. The same is possible for H.264 when it re-evaluates licensing in 2015. The issue is that the fee structure is uncertain, and that H.264 is covered by many patents. Google has effectively made a gift of VP8 by buying On2 and making it royalty free.

About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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