As far as versions of mobile operating systems go, Google has been rather up front with the names for Android, each of them sticking to a kind of delicious food - this week in Hong Kong we've confirmed that no longer will the treats Honeycomb and Gingerbread rule the separate worlds of Tablets and Smartphones - there will be one, Ice Cream Sandwich. This version of Android is numbered 4.0 and the name, Ice Cream Sandwich, has two meanings when it comes down to it - As you may recall from all the way back at Mobile World Congress 2011, there was an event we were at where Google's Eric Schmidt first told us of a future with one Android OS.
Schmidt first foretold of this future at MWC 2011 directly after outlining the idea that Google Chrome OS was for keyboard machines while Google Android OS was for touchscreens. As you know, Android was split some time ago with the creation of Android 3.0 Honeycomb for tablets while Android 2.3 Gingerbread remained the most advanced version of the mobile OS for smartphone-sized devices. What Schmidt told us all those months ago was the following:
“We have OS called gingerbread for phones, we have an OS being previewed now for tablets called Honeycomb. The two of them… you can imagine the follow up will start with an I, be named after dessert, and will combine these two.” - Schmidt, February 15th, 2011.
Today while speaking with some Google and Samsung executives at the Samsung / Google event for the Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich in Hong Kong, we've confirmed two facts: one, that this version of Android will immediately be able to work on Android smartphones and tablets alike. Two, that this is the end of Honeycomb. What we're seeing here is the marriage of Gingerbread and Honeycomb, but it should be clear to you now that, as this OS is being launched on a handset, that it's no longer about differentiating a tablet from the rest of the touchscreen display family. All sizes created equal.