Eric Schmidt teases new Gingerbread phone, says release just weeks away

Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt has shown off an "unannounced Google Android" phone by an "unannounced manufacturer" at the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco, saying that Gingerbread, the next iteration of the Android Operating System, will have NFC (Near Field Communication) support - allowing the device to read RFID tags, communicate with other phones, as well as act as a payment system.

Doing what only CEOs do best, Schmidt also confirmed that the new NFC technology “will be in the new operating system, called Gingerbread, which will come out in the next few weeks”.

Schmidt also said that the company was looking at face recognition in phones and the Android OS:

"Live face recognition is possible, it is acceptable, people need to decide if acceptable before Google implements it”, the CEO said at the conference.

The phone looks a dead ringer for the rumoured Google Nexus S (Samsung i9020) as it sports a large AMOLED screen and runs on the T-Mobile USA network.

The comments from Schmidt come just days after Google Mobile tweeted, "our cafes are baking something sweet http://twitpic.com/3682u2", with a link to a picture of some Gingerbread men.

However, the technology isn't new, Near Field Communication phones have already been available from companies like Nokia and Sagem for some time.

Even Apple has been tipped to be thinking about NFC technology in its next iPhone, iPhone 5. In November 2009, a video turned up showcasing what was possible with the phone.

Additional reporting and photos live from Web 2.0 summit for Pocket-lint by @DigitalAndy

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