January 11, 2011 | by Michael Heller
Google may have said that they were going to slow down the Android OS updates, but it looks like they may want to bring some parity between the phone OS and tablet OS before pulling back the reigns. According to “multiple sources familiar with the matter”, Android Ice Cream will be announced at Google I/O and released in June/July. Sony Ericsson has debunked the idea that it was an early build of Ice Cream on their Xperia Arc phone at CES, claiming that was just a software corruption issue, which is far easier to believe from Sony Ericsson than that they had an early OS build.
There are a couple reasons why I’m apt to believe this rumor. First, as I said a second ago, Google needs to bring parity between Honeycomb and the phone OS. So, I would expect Ice Cream to start introducing some of the UI design elements that Matias Duarte has been bringing to Android, plus fully functioning video calling via Google Talk, and of course the “fragments” system that Andy Rubin talked about at D: Dive into Mobile, which would more easily allow some apps to work across tablets and phones.
Second, coincidentally or not, recently Google has had some link between the timing of the OS releases and the codename associated with said update. Donut and Eclair (both pastries) were released in the fall, Froyo was released in the spring, and Gingerbread (a holiday treat) was released just in time for Christmas. So, in that really-stretching-for-a-second-reason way, Ice Cream in the summer makes sense.
Really it’s the bringing parity and UI enhancements that is the real reason. At this time, we have no idea if the version number will be 2.4, or 3.1, or 3.5, or 4.0. But, to anyone who actually cares about what version number is attached to Ice Cream let me say: Stop your noise. It’s just a version number. Judge the update on the quality of change, not by what version number is attached to it. The version number is completely irrelevant.