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Android Convergence with Ice Cream Sandwich

by Tim Attwood on September 28, 2011

mmm... Ice Cream!Due to be released in fall 2011 is Google’s new Android operating system, called Ice Cream Sandwich. It is being touted as a combination of the current mobile phone OS, Gingerbread, and their tablet OS, Honeycomb. According to Mike Claren of Google, the company wants “one OS that runs everywhere”. The idea is to ensure that all Android devices, regardless of type, will be able to run the same OS, making it easier to develop new features and push out updates.

Tasty Rumors About Ice Cream Sandwich

There are bits and pieces of information about Ice Cream Sandwich floating around on the Web, along with rumors about what devices it will launch on and how it will be numbered. The current version of Gingerbread is 2.3, while Honeycomb is running 3.1, leading many to believe that the new OS will start with 4.0 as its number, “melting” together the other two operating systems.

Right now, the front-runner for the first device to come with Ice Cream Sandwich is a mobile phone made by Google or Samsung, possibly the Google Nexus Prime or the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Specs are thought to include a 1.5 GHz processor, a panoramic camera, holographic user interface, and an expectation of launch in November, just after the release of the new OS itself.

New Features in Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Along with familiar standbys like Android Email and the Android Calendar, the new OS will come with a number of new features including a new interface with a new app drawer, a re-done notification bar, re-themed G-mail, and the ability to multitask. Having parts of Honeycomb in it, Ice Cream Sandwich will give mobile phone users USB support, and they’ll be able to plug in any USB device they’d like including keyboards, mice, and gaming controllers. Google has also improved the camera app in Ice Cream Sandwich by adding Face Recognition and 3D Head Tracking, which is able to find who is speaking in a crowd of people and focus on them, and the front-mounted camera on mobile devices will theoretically have the ability to distinguish between and focus on two distinct speakers.

In addition, Ice Cream Sandwich will also feature Open Accessory API, intended to make the development of apps more streamlined and scalable across both tablets and mobile phones, and Cloud Music, which will allow for an upload of 20,000 songs that can be played from any Web browser or the music app on an Android device.

Google is hoping that together, Honeycomb and Gingerbread will provide the best of a tablet in a phone, and the best of a phone in a tablet, giving both users and developers a simple OS to work with. Android is already known for its ability to adapt to new devices, and by creating a unified Ice Cream Sandwich, the company may just have the recipe to melt the hearts of non-Android users and bring them in for a bite.


sam45 September 28, 2011 at 9:10 AM

holographic interface? now that’s tantalizing! maybe we’ll be holograph chatting soon instead of video chatting.

FieldODreams September 28, 2011 at 1:20 PM

I’m not sure about the name “Ice Cream Sandwich.” It sounds a little campy to me, like something from a parody.

HC5 September 28, 2011 at 1:24 PM

With Cloud Music, a lot of Android users are going to be listening to their favorite songs virtually as long as they’re awake each day.

BigTimeHockeyMom September 29, 2011 at 10:57 AM

I like Gmail just the way it is now, but hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised by the changes.

Tom October 4, 2011 at 6:17 PM

“Ice Cream Sandwich” sounds really bad :/

KevinAFD October 31, 2011 at 4:48 PM

The Android OS panoramic camera sounds really exciting — almost as exciting as the holographic interface!

CocoaB October 31, 2011 at 4:53 PM

I do think that creating a unified OS, one that includes the best of both Gingerbread and Honeycomb, will help Android win over people who don’t feel comfortable with the idea of separate operating systems. There are many users who want consistency throughout the smartphone/tablet experience.

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