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Android Ice Cream Sandwich: what we know so far

The big reveal of Ice Cream Sandwich and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is imminent. Scheduled for last week and then put on hold, we’ve been looking forwards to tomorrow’s event with bated breath.

Google’s ‘most ambitious release to date,’ looks set to bring order to the Android platform, occasionally criticised for its fragmentation and will hopefully integrate Google services such as Music and Google+. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus too is shaping up to be a powerful smartphone, hopefully raising the Android bar higher.

Here’s a quick look at what features we think Ice Cream Sandwich and the Galaxy Nexus will include:

The background

We know that Ice Cream Sandwich is going to bridge the gap between the mobile phone and tablets and consequently will be able to run on both. On its blog post Google stated:  ‘Our goal with Ice Cream Sandwich is to deliver one operating system that works everywhere, regardless of device. Ice Cream Sandwich will bring everything you love about Honeycomb on your tablet to your phone’

Interestingly we’re not sure what numerical system Ice Cream Sandwich will use. The latest mobile phone operating system is Gingerbread 2.3, while Honeycomb runs on 3.1. Will it be 4.0?

The phone

For the last few months there have been strong rumours from that the first mobile phone to run Ice Cream Sandwich will be the Google Nexus Prime.

Other rumours suggest that the phone will be in fact called Samsung Galaxy Nexus instead with GSM Arena getting said name from a tipster and the most recent leak, from NTT DoCoMo in Japan all but confirms the name of the phone as ‘Samsung Galaxy Nexus’.


A big screen size of around 4.5-inches is being touted, with a High Definition resolution 1280×720. This is far higher than Samsung Galaxy S2 (800×480) and Apple iPhone 4 (960×640) and would make it a fantastic choice for movies. It’s likely Samsung would include its Super AMOLED technology we liked so much in the Galaxy S2.

Again, recent spec leaks purporting to be official appear to confirm screen size and resolution at 4.65-inches and 720p.

It’s likely that the phone will feature a dual-core 1.5Ghz processor, with rumours persisting that it will be manufactured by Texas Instruments, the brand new OMAP4460, currently being used on the Blackberry Playbook.

The latest rumoured specs however suggest that the phone will feature the same TI chip, only running at the slightly slower 1.2GHz.


Google has already confirmed the phone will include a holographic user interface, more multitasking, a new launcher and richer widgets.

Since then a few screenshots have leaked proporting to show Ice Cream Sandwich running on a Samsung smartphone. Rootz Wiki managed to get some photographs of screens that showing substantial tweaks to the UI. 

Much of which brings it more inline with Honeycomb, including an Apps/Widget launcher and Google Search bar embedded in the top. It’s only a minor detail, but what’s really interesting is the new electric blue theme. It’s a tiny detail, but looks interesting. Read the full list of leaked specification detail here.

Along with these screengrabs comes word of native photo editing tools being baked into the gallery app, which will allow you to crop, rotate and apply filter effects to photos straight from your phone.

There’s talk too of a Google MP3 store to rival those of both Apple and Amazon and to compliment Google’s own existing Music cloud locker.



One rumour that persists is that the phone will be able to capture panoramas. As to the actual resolution of the camera, Slash Gear is reporting that the leaked roadmap shows an 8-megapixel primary camera – the same as the Galaxy S2. We can expect to see a front-facing camera for voice calls as well – like the Google Nexus S.

Latest camera rumours however suggest 5-megapixels, Full HD video recording at 1080p and a single LED flash.

Launch date

Android and Me reported that Google CEO Eric Schmidt revealed at the Dreamforce conference in San Fransicso that it would be arriving by the end of November: We have a new operating system, internally known as Ice Cream Sandwich for some reason, which is being released in October/November, which everyone’s really excited about.

Of course this could change at any point, one of the main complaints about Honeycomb is that it didn’t feel finished – the Motorola Xoom’s performance vastly improved with the Android 3.1 update.

What do you want to see in Ice Cream Sandwich, let us know below and on Facebook and Twitter.