Android Ice Cream: Let's Taste some Rumors
So the Android OS rumor mill is in full swing over the latest upcoming version: Ice Cream. What to expect? Whats going to happen? Nobody really knows the full picture for sure but that is not stopping people (including us) from trying to round up everything they know or have heard.
What will this OS be Called? What number shall I say is calling?
The new OS will be called Ice Cream Sandwich, or maybe even Ice Cream. How do we know this? Thanks to Android OSs being named alphabetically and named after delicious deserts it was a given that the next iteration would begin with an I. Then thanks to Andy Rubin we heard it would called Ice Cream Sandwich, then after that a leaked Dell smartphone roadmap revealed Ice Cream would indeed be its name.
The real question at the moment seems to be over its number. Some are saying OS 2.4, others are saying OS 3.1. I think the general logic seems to be that Ice Cream will be Android OS 3.1 while Gingerbread (currently Android OS 2.3) may possibly see a 2.4 update before that, if other blogs' posts are to be believed. It makes perfect sense though, it would be stupid from many perspectives to have Ice Cream be a lower number than Honeycomb especially when it is supposed to unify all the Android code bases into one.
More On That One OS to Rule Them All Thing
If Ice Cream rumors are to be believed, then one of the biggest ones is the code base merger for the smartphone, tablet and television versions of Android. It is a fact that the smartphone and tablet code base will be combined in Ice Cream, as Eric Schmidt himself has confirmed it. That leaves Google TV with a quesiton mark next to it (although rumors of this are growing).
Combining all three versions would make sense, as it would streamline creating apps for the different devices as they would all use the same code and APIs. A good example would that that a single Netflix app, if done right, could work across all three with minimal effort. It would also mean that Google TV should get access to the Android Market. It's safe to say at the moment that Google TV is not living up to its potential and that other alternatives such as the Boxee Box, Roku, and Apple TV are still gaining more followers.
Look, Feel, UI, and Design
Another advantage is that it would streamline the look and feel of Android as a whole, something that is not happening at the moment. Android OS 3.0 (Honeycomb) has definitely shown improvements thanks to the hiring of Matias Duarte and this can only be a good thing if his improvements were spread further afield. UI is an important part of the package. Creating the unified experience will mean users who pick up an Android phone will also feel right at home with a tablet or set top box helping to build the eco system and take it to new heights. This would attract more developers who would see the benefits of reaching as wide an audience as possible. Plus imagine custom ROMs for the aforementioned set top box!
Whether or not Google TV joins the family completelym smartphone users should expect some very interesting developments. One of the main ones is hardware acceleration bringing even more smoothness to the OS. Another plus is a better version of Google Talk for better video chats, and of course we have already seen some of the new apps.
What About Chrome?
Smaller rumors are also abound that Chrome, Google's desktop browser and attempted OS, itself may be merged into the code base. On some levels it makes sense, better Chrome integration would mean better access to web apps and the ability to use extensions would be pretty aweosme as well. On the other hand, Chrome and the Chrome OS is its own thing, Larry Page in his recent restructure even gave the Chrome team more power and freedom and made Sundar Pichai the senior vice president of Chrome. Why essentially fold Chrome into the Android team after doing this?
Google Music Service?
This is so far beyond rumor that it is just getting tedious waiting for its arrival. Sanjay Jha let it slip that Google Music was coming soon and that was in February. Even more convincing is the fact that in the newly leaked music app, there is the option to add a "Streamed Music Account" with options to "Stream via wifi only," "'Cache streamed music," and check your downloads in the "Download queue."
Even before all this though we knew such a service was coming. At Google I/O last year, while showcasing Froyo, they also showed us a peak into the future which included music syncing. The only holdup at the moment seems to be the deals with the music industry, and unlike Amazon and Apple who already sell music and can push out a service and ask questions later (like Amazon is doing), Google has little to work with here so has to play ball with the music industry.
I think because of Amazon's surprise push into the space, though, that we should see Google redoubling its efforts to get their own service out as soon as possible.
When Could We Expect that Ice Cream?
Why at Google I/O of course. Froyo was announced there and it only makes sense that Google announce their latest and greatest update at their developers conference, especially when anyone with a computer and internet connection will be able to watch it. Even if by some unexpected surprise Google doesn't showcase Ice Cream at the event, you can bet money on the fact that they will give us at least a little peak of what's to come.
Who Gets Ice Cream First?
The real question is when will your phone be receiving it. If you're a Samsung Nexus S user then you can expect to be first in line. Some new devices will also receive it at launch (unless they want to skin over the top of it). Rooted users loading custom ROMs should also expect to get a taste as soon as the source code hits the internet. Then after that, the upgrade rumor mill will start with a flurry of will they, wont they.
So this is a lot to process if a lot of this information is new to you. Do hit the comments below if you have any thoughts to add or if you are excited by the potential of Android Ice Cream.