Tesco Tech Support Blog

What’s in Ice Cream Sandwich?

Google has a naming convention whereby major revisions to its operating system are named in alphabetical order after desserts. So version 2.1 was Eclair, version 2.2 Froyo, version 2.3 Gingerbread and so on.

The forthcoming version of Android – which is expected to be released next month – is called ‘Ice Cream Sandwich‘.

Regardless of the name, though, it’s what’s in the Ice Cream Sandwich that’s important, and there’s a lot to sink your teeth into. If you’re thinking of buying an Android powered phone or tablet soon, make sure it’s one which will either come with ICS on board or be fully upgradable when it arrives.

One version of Android

One of the big complaints by app developers has been that there are lots of versions of Android out there. Initially this was because some phone manufacturers weren’t updating their firmware to new revisions of the OS.

But Android tablets make this even worse: currently, they use a separate version (3.0) to phones (2.3). ICS, however, is planned to be a single version of Android for everything – all screen sizes of tablets and all phones. Thus, there’ll be more opportunities for developers.

New features for phones

What that will mean is that Android phones will get some of the fancy features like multitasking that tablets have had for a while. They’ll also get the same sleek interface currently available on tablets only, with better navigational icons.

Better tablet apps

Android still lags behind iOS in terms of the sheer number of apps available, but ICS could change that. Cleverly, Google is introducing new behind the scenes features for developers which make it easier to build an app that will run on a large or small screen and still look and feel great.

USB peripherals

Tablet users on Android 3.2 can already plug USB keyboards and joypads into their tablets for gaming or typing on. With ICS, phones should get this feature too.

Better upgrades

So far, it’s never been clear whether or not your phone or device will be getting the latest update to Android or when. One of the aims of ICS is to make it much easier for manufacturers to send out updates, and much easier for users to install them.

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