niche Android blogs have surfaced what they claim to be pictures and features belonging to the release of Ice Cream Sandwich, Android's latest iteration of its operating system. For the most part, Ice Cream Sandwich appears to have general user interfaces updates and tweaks. That could be beneficial to Android as it will allow older devices to run the new version and help aim Google towards the ultimate goal for the platform and Ice Cream Sandwich specifically, putting an end to Android fragmentation.A couple of
New features coming to Ice Cream Sandwich include a new app drawer, a new theme for the Gmail app, the Google Shopper app that will work with NFC-capable devices, an embeddable Google search bar (a la Honeycomb) and a revamped notifications tray. One of the biggest questions, through, is: When will Ice Cream Sandwich to be ready and can it beat the iPhone 5 to market?
The iPhone 5 is coming any time between September 1 and October 31, if rumors are true. A late-September or early October release might be ideal considering it would give Apple some time to deal with any malfunctions the phone might have (see: Antenna Gate) before holiday season. A source familiar with Google's Ice Cream Sandwich plans told Boy Genius report that Google does not want consumers on their original Droid contracts (which was released almost two years ago now) "drooling over the iPhone 5." Hence, the first Ice Cream Sandwich phones, such as the Nexus Prime (and an update to the Nexus S) might actually make it to market by October.
Globally, Android has 43.4% of the market to Apple's 18.2%. Both operating systems are going to look for a big holiday push to the point where it may be a stalemate between Google and Apple. Android's numbers might come down a point or two and Apple's will certainly rise a point or two come the market reports in January.
It looks like Ice Cream Sandwich will not be the bridge between smartphone and Android tablet systems, as many thought. The kernel number for Ice Cream Sandwich appears to be 2.6, if Android and Police is indeed correct and the "leak" is not just some type of hoax. Expect within the next year or so for Google to start bringing the two branches of Android back together the way Apple has with iOS. It just probably will not be with this version of the OS.