Device operating systems

Google Preps for an Ice Cream Social

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)’s latest and greatest Android operating system is nearly ready for prime time in the U.S., as Google employees report getting their hands on Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). (See Scoop! It's the Ice Cream Sandwich.)

Google is internally testing the 4.0 version of Android on the Samsung Corp. Nexus S, recently launched in the U.K. An AdSense employee posted on Google+, “Just got Ice-cream Sandwich update on my Nexus S & it's looking great.” The post was later removed, although not before being reposted by several others.

They say
Google wouldn't confirm the internal tests, but Samsung may have done that for it. Droid Life found a version of the phone running on Verizon Wireless ’s Long Term Evolution (LTE) network on display at the Samsung Experience store in New York City. The blog suggests the phone will officially go on sale on Thursday, but pricing has yet to be announced. (See Verizon Gets the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on LTE.)

While Google's busy reading the OS for prime time, support for it is growing amongst hardware makers. Acer Inc. is promising its latest family-friendly Android tablet, the Iconia Tab A200, will include ICS when it launches in early 2012.

Mobile app startup Xamarin also announced it would make its run-time development platform available for Android 4.0, so that devs can take advantage of the OS's new features.

Not all devices will receive a helping of Ice Cream Sandwich, however. LR Mobile sister publication InformationWeek provides a list of phones and tablets expected to get the update here.

“Considering how vast and deep the changes between Android 2.3 Gingerbread and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich are, you do not want to get stuck on a device that can't or won't be updated,” InformationWeek reporter Eric Zeman warns.

We say
Google’s past OS updates haven’t always been smooth, leaving some devices stranded or, as was (and still is) the case with Gingerbread, taking months to complete. The more internal testing and external support it can get for Ice Cream Sandwich, the better. (See AT&T Bakes Gingerbread for All.)

That's especially true because the 4.0 update is expected to be Google’s best OS yet. Read up on the features and the industry’s plans for ICS below.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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