At Google I/O the next version of Android was officially announced. The next version of Google’s mobile OS will be called Ice Cream Sandwich, and it will bring together Google’s Android tablets and smartphones later this year.
The goal wit Ice Cream Sandwich is to bring some fo the Honeycomb features over to smartphones to keep both phones and tablets up to date. This means bringing the Honeycomb “holographic” UI, framework widgets, and launcher to smartphones. So the update will bring parity between phones and tablets using Android, much like iOS has always had. What could be interesting is if this means we’ll no longer need physical buttons (or even touch-sensitive buttons) on Android smartphones. It should hopefully mean that there are more apps for Android tablets by the time the update comes out.
With Ice Cream Sandwich, Google was quick to point out that it will be open sourced. So, it seems Honeycomb won’t be open sourced any time soon. That should mean we have another long period of time with cheap Android tablets from lower grade manufacturers running Android 2.X instead of a real tablet OS. It also means that those in the rooting community will have to wait a while longer for customize Android tablet experiences.