Google announces Android Ice Cream Sandwich and Honeycomb 3.1, promises timely updates

Google announces Android Ice Cream Sandwich and Honeycomb 3.1, promises timely updates
After bragging about 100 million activations hit in 2011, and Android Market reaching 4.5 billion downloads to date, at Moscone Center in San Francisco Google announced the newest version of Android - Ice Cream Sandwich.

It's not just bringing over the good stuff like the holographic UI and richer widgets from Android Honeycomb, the tablet version, but adding a few new features of its own.

Speaking of Honeycomb, it is getting updated to 3.1 as of this moment, and users of the Motorola XOOM on Verizon can get the update right now. It adds USB host support to Android, for hooking up tens of peripherals like cameras, keyboards and game controllers directly to your Android tablet. Some of the other new features are cosmetic - the widgets can now be customized to stretch vertically or horizontally any way the developers like. Some include new apps, like Movie Studio for video editing, new Movies and Books apps, for renting said media, and a faster browser with new Quick Controls settings. Not to mention that Honeycomb is heading to Google TV as well, if that ever takes off.

Ice Cream Sandwich, in its turn, was just called Google's "most ambitious release to date", and the aim is for it to power tablets, convertible tablets, and, of course, phones. Google will be ramping up its efforts developing the application framework, to avoid fragmentation. Mike Claron from the Android Engineering Team said that Google wants one OS that runs on everything.

To demonstrate the "depth and breadth" of the new APIs, a GPU-based OpenGL demo was made of tracking a human face, and distorting the perspective in real time. And we mean distorting - the app could recognize the place of the nose and eyes, for instance, and played around with the perspective in pretty frivolous ways.

The practical approach to this API was when a camera app was shown, that automatically focuses on the face of the person that is talking at the moment, and it worked pretty neat and fluid.

The biggest news for us, however, was that Google sat down with cell phone manufacturers, carriers and other members of the Open Handset Alliance, and is coming up with strict system how soon after the release of a new Android version handsets will be updated, and for how long will they be supported with new versions. In the case of the abovementioned manufacturers their phones will be included in the timely updates project for at least 18 months after initial launch, provided that the hardware can handle the new versions. Android Ice Cream Sandwich (notice that no numbered version was mentioned), will be hitting smartphones and tablets some time in Q4 of this year.

Yes, this group includes Samsung and Sony Ericsson, to answer your most burning question, but HTC, LG, Motorola, Vodafone, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile are also onboard, hopefully putting an end to the mess that Android updates have become. At the end, each of the attendees were promised to receive the insanely thin, and yet-unreleased Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, which will be getting its Android 3.1 Honeycomb update very soon, said Google's Hugo Barra, flashing the audience with one of said tablets.



1. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010

hallelujah brothers and sisters! a new age has dawned! :D

2. phbelov

Posts: 124; Member since: Mar 25, 2011

Can't wait to see Ice Cream Sandwich!!

3. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

They are listening, I freaging new this IO was to be an important step with the OS

4. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Everything I was reading in this article is exactly what I wanted Google to do to Android & Honeycomb. Google means business & it's about time they addressed the update scandal with BOTH the carriers & phone manufactures. I can't wait until I have the HTC Evo 3D with some Ice Cream Sandwich on the side. WOW this summer is going to be sweet with an Ice Cream Sandwich flavored Android! lol

17. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

u read its not coming out to Q4 right? plus the time it takes to update

20. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Q4 could mean its going to give time to prepare the manufacturers, so updates roll out faster, why release it now when the plans for timely updates are not completely set. and its better for them to give some time

30. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

exactly... i am not arguing that... i am saying he wont have it in the summer

45. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Yes you are right, I meant to say that it's going to be sweet to have the HTC Evo 3D this summer & on Q4 hopefully upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich. I just go too excited. lol Thanks for checking up on me!

50. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

no problem

5. ralphyd unregistered

I known they said the verizon xoom would be getting the new update shortly but does anyone know if the wifi version will as well?

6. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

probably the will start rolling out really soon =)

27. deadinside unregistered

This is what a goggle rep sent me when I try to download a movie--- -Android 3.1 software update (Will be available for all Xoom devices in the next few days!)

7. Aswin unregistered

Now that was a real surpise news from Google.. Just can't wait to see Ice Cream Sandwich running on my Nexus S :)

8. Rich unregistered


9. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Google/Android: giving ifanboys less and less to brag about/poke fun at since 2008.

16. hellopeople

Posts: 16; Member since: May 10, 2011

still lovin my iphone...

18. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

funny how android is always playing catch up... never really does anything without the iphone doing it first... for example unifying the os? that shuda been done from day one... ios did so therefor android must do it...

21. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

lets count -flash is not on iOS -tether was introduced on iOS this year -multitasking was done first on android -widgets -cloud services dont exist on iOS yet -differences between tablet UI and mobile UI -non intrusive notifications -OTA -NFC -no menu hardware keys on a device but a bar that will move to a much convenient position when turned from protait to landscape yeah i guess you are right

31. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

well lets count with cydia since android is allowed whatever they want-- -has had tethering forver -flash on cydia (and anyways it is bad on all mobile devices) -ever heard of backgrounder? -widgets are pointless when u cud just press the app (and if u need them for notifications there are better options like lockinfo) -mobile me? what cloud services does android do that iphone doesnt? -oh and have u ever used an ipad? ever opened the mail app? is it just me or do they look different? -notifications are one of the downfalls, but there is this awesome cydia app that makes the -notificaitons perfect--i will show u if u want -OTA? thats what u dont want! my iphone is on the latest software! is ur android? -NFC? what has NFC? WHo uses NFC? i understand the nexus s ha it but can it use it? no? -I dont even know what u said for ur last point... and that is just a personal preference... ios is perfect with one button while android is perfect with four... so do u have anything else?

34. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Yeah. Android got out dual core processors before iPhone. As well as 4G connectivity, customization options, 8 meg+ cameras, expandable memory, music syncing without requiring a special service, bigger screens, a true focus on phone specs...yeah, Apple doesn't do everything first, and that's just in comparison to Android.

51. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

okay, so it has dual core, but the software isnt optomized for it... so it doesnt do anything... once the software actually works with dual core it will count i understand 4g, but i thats not android... none of ur stuff is actually android...

53. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Actually, yes, those are all things mainly found in Android phones, if not found first.

35. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Oh, and one more thing: protozeloz was listing things that are mostly available with Android phones out of the gate. What you have basically stated is that for iPhone to match basic features on standard Android phones you'd have to jailbreak it (a practice which Apple tried to declare a violation of copyright law-which is a felony offense, btw). Why the hell should we be convinced the iPhone is better again?

36. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Okay, I lied. When's the last time Google, Motorola, HTC, Samsung, LG, or Dell tried to make felons out of rooted users? They've done what they've can to make it impossible, or at least very hard, but hell, Motorola (yelled at for having a locked bootloader) said they'd still take rooted XOOMs in and upgrade their radios to 4G, and then, after a cry to unlock the bootloader came from a vast majority of users, they said "Okay, sure, we'll begin unlocking our bootloaders soon." I mean, DAMN, son! How much clearer do we need to spell it out for you?

39. vishu9

Posts: 252; Member since: Mar 03, 2011

@Sniggly: ya i agree....some kids are plain right matter which u spell it out for them!. Lucas is self-contradictory juvenile dumbass..on one hand he talks about iOS being the best and then talks about using all the functions that are given to him by Cydia! those aren't even usable in the iPhone out of the box...way to crap all over yourself u freakin douche.

44. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

now you said you are using cydia + iOS because iOS is not enough to match android's innovation, are you saying that you need to go to a 3RD party developer thats not even approved by your manufacturer and that may void your warranty or cause your phone to brick, just to be considered on s similar play field because iOS by itself its not enough? then I guess we are making progress here :) now to fight fire with fire. if you see my comment is regarding stock android being innovating and you compare its level of innovation with a non stock version of iOS yet: -tether has also being long on rooted android phones, but guess what? not everyone roots their phones so while you had to jailbreak your iPhone to get the service at all. -again a service you didn't have to find a hack to get and ask my bro and his newgrounds fever if having flash is all bad -guess what i needed not app or hack for that it works because its there plain simple :) -thats you opinion, to me widgets are quite useful I can turn my phone screen on to get the weather info and a tap will give me the 5 day forecast without opening an app and waiting it to load, plus I can toggle wifi Bluetooth 3G screen light and many others and how does your opinion makes it less innovative? -cloud services already exist, I already have my music on a server but wont it make it easier if by using my account and without any other subscription i could access them? less hassle for me -I have seen iPads but now... does the main screen look different or the notification system? yeah the mail app looks different, but you can tell from garbing a gingerbread phone and putting it next to the XOOM, very similar and yet completely different. -why would I hate OTA? I don't have to plug my phone to a PC in order to stay up to date and even if I wanted to I can still plug it to a PC, now updates... lets ask nexus users and let them tell you how nice 2.3.4 does. ohh other manufacturers you say? HEY ATRIX USERS! how nice was the OTA that enabled HSPA+ on your phone and fixed a couple of bugs? HEY GALAXY S USERS how is the OTA that fixed the GPS bug or the gingerbread OTA? yeah OTA's are not only used to deliver the latest versions of android but to deliver any kind of update to your phone without the need of another device. NEXT -does it makes it less innovative? when credit card was invented everyone had one? everyone could accept payments with them? no nearly no one had it, but was the credit card a not innovative feature? well look at it now. in fact NFC is no worthless that the next iPhone may ship one -well i think the honeycomb menu was innovative and yes I do, would you like me to talk about it?

52. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

haha well u said to match android... i never said what iphone does that google doesnt.... like the app store and updates and no frag

54. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Google has an app store has grown pretty nicely recently and I don't count them as a innovation from Google because app stores already existed(witch is what I've being arguing all along) , and iOS has fragmentation, the problem is that people get rid of their phones before they become obsolete, an overall for the phones lifespam, but hopefully with Google's new commitment to step on fragmentation on the most important Manufacturers. now I have repeated this here and there and I hope you get it this time, Market quality is not related with either Android OR iOS directly, its a consequence of profits earned by developers and competition to keep those profits maximized, is survival of the finest. to me android and iOS are both strong OS's they have their ups and downs and its really nice to play with both. and if you saw this IO you can see Google is not slacking off, hopefully will say the same thing when the iP5 gets released

48. TreyTreyTaylor

Posts: 728; Member since: Dec 21, 2010

Widgets pointless? Notifications a downfall? Flash bad on all devices? Hes a mad man!

56. obnoxious9162775

Posts: 32; Member since: Apr 25, 2011

Flash works great on my Moto Atrix, so what the hell are you talking about. Widgets are useful, at least to me. Notifications are useful, once again at least to me. Who is a Madman? Maybe you, just because you think something sucks or is not useful, does not make it true. Get your head out of your ass and look at the bigger picture. There is something out there for everyone. That is what it comes down to, and you must be a iFanboy.

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