At today’s big Android keynote, we got a lot of news about the future of Google’s mobile OS.Aside from Google Music, the most important announcement was Android Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of Android that will be compatible with both phones and tablets.
Google’s making a smart move with Ice Cream Sandwich. Right now there are multiple versions of Android floating out there. Version 2.2 (Froyo) and 2.3 (Gingerbread) are shipping with new handsets, while version 3.0 (Honeycomb) runs on tablets.
Ice Cream Sandwich will bring these divergent operating systems together under one banner. And thanks to collaboration between carriers and manufacturers, there will be a lot less fragmentation.
That being said, we still have a bunch of questions about Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s not supposed to go out until the end of the year (most likely with a new Nexus phone and tablet.) Click below to check out our biggest questions about the new OS.
Ginger bread is version 2.3. Honeycomb is version 3.0. What does that make Ice Cream Sandwich? We're guessing 4.0.
Gingerbread launched on the Nexus S last December. Since Google is making us wait until Q4 for Ice Cream Sandwich, it's likely the new OS will launch with the next Nexus phone.
Since Ice Cream Sandwich is supposed to unify Android phones and tablets (just like iOS for iPhone and iPad), will we get a Google-branded Nexus tablet this winter?
Ice Cream Sandwich will be designed to work on everything. Even laptops. Does that mean we'll see a cheap, lightweight netbook running Android this year?
Google is doing a good job at making sure new handsets will get the latest Android updates for up to 18 months after each phone's release. But what about current Android phones? Will your brand-new DROID Incredible 2 be able to run Ice Cream Sandwich right away? What about even older phones...will they be stuck with Froyo forever?
Nexus One and Nexus S owners have a great deal. As soon as a new version of Android is ready, they're the first to get it. Unfortunately, everyone else is left in the dust. Will Ice Cream Sandwich updates be available to all Android users right away, or will we have to wait for approval from each phone manufacturer and carrier?
Even though Google is making an attempt to unify Android, that doesn't take away from the fact that manufacturers still like to alter the OS with their own skins. Developers like HTC and Samsung continue to tweak Android with proprietary widgets, lock screens, and other apps. How will this work with Ice Cream Sandwich?
We already know Ice Cream Sandwich devices will be able to connect to accessories via USB or Bluetooth. Does that mean you'll no longer have to sync music, contacts, calendars, etc. with your computer again?
We already know Google Music will store all your tunes in the cloud, so it's really up to the Android team to fully divorce our tablets from our PCs.
Right now, Android phones and tablets have different button configurations. Phones usually have four function buttons at the bottom, while Honeycomb tablets are controlled from a task bar on the screen.
Right now the Android Market is pretty messy. It's difficult to navigate and find the app you're looking for. Will Ice Cream Sandwich solve this problem? What about apps that are only made for specific phones. Will Google's anti-fragmentation pledge keep those out of the Market?
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