The Android world is abuzz about Gingerbread, AKA Android 2.3, Google’s latest release of its mobile phone OS. Unfortunately, the Gingerbread hasn’t been released on many devices yet–as of now it’s only stable on the Nexus One and the yet-to-be-released Nexus S. Just because you can’t install the OS on your device doesn’t mean you can’t fool your friends into thinking you have it with some quick and easy interface tweaks.
Two of the biggest changes in Gingerbread are the Launcher app and the stock keyboard, and both of these have been stripped out of the OS and made available for most who are interested, aside from some minimum requirements.

The Gingerbread keyboard has a new look and functionality improvements

1. 2.3 Gingerbread Keyboard
The Gingerbread keyboard has been given a total overhaul, from a new look to a much more spacious button layout. Droid Life has a quick run-though of the keyboard’s features on YouTube,¬†and if you’re interested in installing it, follow along:
Thanks to Peter Alfonso of Bugless Beast fame, the best ROM for the Original Droid, we have a port of the Android 2.3 keyboard that can be installed on any Android 2.2 device with root access. This process requires root and the ability to flash ZIP files to your phone, so you’ll also need ClockworkMod or SPRecovery on your device to load up this file.
Again: This process requires both Android 2.2 and root access

  1. Download the ZIP with the 2.3 keyboard HERE.
  2. Mount your phone’s SDCard on a PC, copy the ZIP file you downloaded to the root directory.
  3. Reboot your phone into recovery mode
  4. Install the ZIP file you just copied to your SDCard.
  5. When it’s done flashing, reboot your phone, long press on any text field, and select “Android Keyboard.”
  6. After that, you should be good to go! Enjoy showing off your fancy new keyboard to your friends.

2. 2.3 Gingerbread Launcher

Gingerbread also includes a new launcher with snappier animations, refined graphics and a few other new features. This launcher also been ported to 2.1/2.2 Android phones, and is available on the Market for free.
Simply download an app called “Gingerbread Launcher” from the market, and the next time you return to your home screens, Android will ask you what homescreen app you’d like to use. Select “Launcher” and check the box to remember. You’re now up and running with the Gingerbread launcher!
If you’re using a custom launcher like LauncherPro and would rather stick with that, you can get the Gingerbread icons for your device as well. Just follow Droid Life’s excellent instructions.
In the event that you’ve loaded up Gingerbread Launcher and set it as your default but you want to go back to your old launcher, here’s how to do that.

  1. Click the menu button on your phone and select settings
  2. Select “Manage Applications”
  3. Find the “Gingerbread Launcher” app in the list
  4. Click the “Clear Defaults” button
  5. The next time you go to your homescreen, Android will let you choose which homescreen app you’d like to use again.

After you’ve completed these steps, your phone should be a close to Gingerbread-looking as it can get right now! All we need to complete the process is a new notification bar, or, you know, the OS itself. Let the waiting game begin!