Last we'd heard, the next major release of Android -- codename Gingerbread -- was scheduled for a fourth-quarter launch, but the always-entertaining Eldar Murtazin has apparently just spilled a few details on what he knows of the release on a Russian podcast. Most notably, the dude says that we can expect an entirely revamped UI -- the first that the platform will have undergone since its introduction -- and will take cues from the fancy 3D Gallery app launched with Eclair. There's said to be a new 1280 x 760 resolution available for devices larger than 4 inches, which would dovetail nicely with Verizon's desire to bring a bunch of Android tablets to market. Like Windows Phone 7, Murtazin claims that Google will be laying down the law with some hardcore hardware specs to run 3.0, demanding a minimum of a 3.5-inch display, a 1GHz processor, and 512MB of RAM -- so what about cheaper devices? Well, those will apparently continue to run Android 2.1 or 2.2, which sounds like yet another serious recipe for platform fragmentation from the outset. We'll apparently see the first devices launch in time for the holidays following an October introduction, which lines up with what we've heard so far. Needless to say, we'll be keeping a close eye on this one.

Update: Android team's Dan Morrill (full title Open Source and Compatibility Tech Lead -- yeah, that's a bit of a mouth full) is calling out the rumor over Twitter: "I love it when people just make stuff up" (sarcasm, obviously), "rumors are not official announcements," and so on. Guess that's how the, erm, cookie crumbles.

[Thanks, John]