The next version of Android, codenamed ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’, has been long-awaited by many Android users despite the lack of information on what the new operating system will actually include. At last, some blurry pictures of Ice Cream Sandwich have leaked, and they look promising.
The first thing users will notice about Ice Cream Sandwich, at least if the final version turns out to look anything like what’s depicted here, is the brand-new blue color scheme (CyanogenMod rip-off?), clearly an effort to clean the user interface up, as well as the first significant home screen revamp after many months of waiting, as you can see on the images below.
Focusing on the app launcher: it now features a glossy transparent look, but more importantly, it looks much more like its Honeycomb counterpart and has a more Tron-esque look. On the far left of the app drawer, there’s a button that will supposedly (and of course it will) lead to an application launcher.
The new launcher has two main sections: Apps and Widgets, which should both be self-explanatory. Perhaps more important sight in the image is the new Android Market link on the top right, which might just be a link to Google’s app marketplace the way it looks today, but instead it could point to a fully redesigned Android Market that works from within the launcher: wouldn’t that be great?
Although not that many photos are currently available, there is more to ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ than it meets the eye: according to the source that linked these pictures, the built-in Gmail client has been fully redesigned, the camera app now includes panorama support built right in, and Google Shopper and Google’s new NFC-based shopping tool, will be available as separate apps pre-installed for the first time.
There’s still a fair amount of controversy in the Android world over Ice Cream Sandwich’s version number, while the version depicted here is well, “IceCreamSandwich”, but its believed that the version number would be in the 3.x range. The answer to this mystery is simple: Google just hasn’t figured out what to call this new version of Android yet, so we’ll likely see some vague build numbers for quite some time before it goes final.
Ice Cream Sandwich will allegedly be rolled out to every supported Android smartphone under 1 year old, although the decision of rollout will ultimately be in the hands of carriers and the manufacturers. As for Google’s own phones, the new operating system will be available on both the Nexus S and the rumored “Nexus Prime”.