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Next Android update: Ice Cream Sandwich in October?


Google will likely roll out its latest sweet-themed Android update, Ice Cream Sandwich, as early as October, said executive chairman Eric Schmidt, who released that detail during the recent Dreamforce conference in San Francisco.

Schmidt was the keynote speaker at the event, which focuses on cloud computing (but also featured a gala performance of Metallica! Metallica!). At the 30:20 mark of the video below, he talks about the rollout, which could also happen as late as November. Schmidt's specific — and all too brief — wording is this:

We have a new operating system internally known as 'Ice Cream Sandwich' for some reason, which is being released in October, November, which everybody is very excited about.

Ice Cream Sandwich comes after Honeycomb (3.0 to 3.2), which was tailored for tablets. This next, more ambitious, update was first introduced at Google I/O in May, with this rousing endorsement on the Official Google Blog:

Our goal with Ice Cream Sandwich is to deliver one operating system that works everywhere, regardless of device. Ice Cream Sandwich will bring everything you love about Honeycomb on your tablet to your phone, including the holographic user interface, more multitasking, the new launcher and richer widgets.

The hope with Ice Cream Sandwich (unconfirmed but likely slated as Android 4.0) is to bring some order to the chaos that fragmentation has brought to the numerous Android devices out there, now multiplying in tablets as much as smartphones, it seems. (Schmidt said half a million Android phones are activated a day. A day! "If that continues, it'll fill the planet." Now, there's some imagery for you.)

It would be the merger of Honeycomb and Gingerbread (Android 2.3), these two combined into a powerful hybrid mobile operating system that would be able to run on both kinds of devices. At last, unity.

A recent comScore report shows that Android's presence is pervasive: It's still the No. 1 smartphone platform in the U.S. with nearly 42 percent of the market share, with Apple's iOS a distant second at 27 percent. 

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