Ice Cream Sandwich should begin appearing on existing Android smartphones "a matter of weeks" after the Samsung Galaxy Nexus goes on sale in November, Google's Andy Rubin has confirmed. Rubin didn't specify which Android OEMs were expected to push out v4.0 first, while speaking at AllThingsD this morning, but did suggest that the delay between the first official Ice Cream Sandwich Googlephone and others getting to enjoy the new platform would be minimal.
If the OEMs play ball, that's a marked improvement over previous releases of Android upgrades which have, in some cases, taken months to filter through to consumers. Part of the delay has always been down to modification and testing; manufacturers introduce their own customizations to differentiate the OS, and then they need to be tested, before the ROMs are handed to carriers for them to do their own testing.
That checking process is unlikely to be any quicker this time around, but it seems Google is more on the ball with releasing the Ice Cream Sandwich tools and source code. The Android 4.0 SDK was released alongside the Galaxy Nexus, earlier today, allowing developers to immediately jump into creating apps to run on the new platform.
Meanwhile, Google has confirmed that the Nexus S will indeed get an Ice Cream Sandwich update too, though it is yet to date the release of the upgrade. Since v4.0 is also intended for tablets, it's likely we'll see Honeycomb-based slates also getting speedy updates.