All you Android fans probably know that Google's latest version of their mobile platform was supposed to be announced today at Samsung's 'Google Episode' of Unpacked at CTIA in Berlin. The new build of the operating system is expected to bring a new UI much like Android Honeycomb for tablets. Because the event was postponed, I decided to write this and share my theories so as not to leave you empty handed today.
Here we go! First, let's get on to the leaks.
The leaked screenshots below clearly show the new Honeycomb-like UI of Ice Cream Sandwich - identified in the settings as Android 4.0. They show the holographic design and blue glow that make Honeycomb what it is. Also, the task manager seen in the fourth screenshot is much like Honeycomb. Support for such a feature suggests to me that the new software may allow for hardware acceleration as seen in Android 3.1 and above.
Also leaked were images and videos of the Nexus 'Prime' - the launch device of Ice Cream Sandwich - and its humongous screen. The leak estimated that the screen was 5.2 inches across, but rumours have supported the idea that two different Nexus Primes (or Galaxy Nexus) will be released; one with a 5.2 inch screen, the other with a 4.X inch screen.
The Nexus Prime is reported to have the following specifications (both versions would have the same internal hardware, just different sized displays):
- 1.5Ghz dual core processor
- Dual core GPU, probably the same one from the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S
- 8-megapixel camera with full 1080p HD recording
- Huge 2050mAh battery
- 720p, true HD screen
These specifications make it the ultimate device on the market today - if they are correct.
Even without these leaks, we would know a great deal about Android Ice Cream Sandwich. Much can be dissected from the initial announcement at Google IO11 which took place in the summer. Here is what I managed to get from it.
I'd like to start explaining my theory by addressing the first official mention of Ice Cream Sandwich. This was at Google IO in the summer of 2011. At the event, Mike Cleron of the Android Engineering Team said that the theme behind the Ice Cream Sandwich release is choice. Google always aims to make it possible for Android to be run on any device, no matter what its specifications are. At IO11, Cleron stated that Android is already available on many devices, from the Xoom to the Wildfire, of many shapes and sizes. He then expanded on this by explaining that high quality applications are the life blood of Android. Later, he announced that the Android SDK would be made universal for all devices - smartphones, tablets and even Google TVs. When these two statements are put together, it's possible to understand that not only is Google going to make applications universally usable across all devices, but they may also use the same software on all devices.
At the Google event in the summer, Mike Cleron told the audience the following about Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS); "In many ways, this will be our most ambitious release to date." This alone supports the theory that ICS will run on all devices. For Google's most ambitious release, it has not taken them any longer to create the software than the previous version Gingerbread (2.3). Gingerbread was first announced at Google IO in 2010 and was released in Q4 of that year - this is the same time period between ICS' announcement and expected release which makes me think Google were working on this a long time before the announcement, perhaps when they were making Honeycomb, which would mean they could design Honeycomb tablets to fit the requirements of their then-planned new software, ICS. At IO, Cleron had a demonstrator show APIs he said would be available in ICS working on what appeared to be a Honeycomb tablet which further supports my theory.
Here is a quick summary of what I think you should expect in Ice Cream Sandwich:
- New Honeycomb-like UI
- Hardware acceleration
- Support for all device types
- Support for all hardware (less than 18 months old)
- True Chrome browser
- True HD display support
- Further animation
Basically anything you could possibly want from a mobile platform!
A final quote from Mr Cleron at Google IO 11; Google has some "cutting edge stuff in the works." From Google, I'd expect nothing less!