Ice Cream Sandwich likely announced at Google I/O, but is it Android 2.4?

Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich. Yes, the next release of Android is going to be called Ice Cream Sandwich rather than Ice Cream, as the oversized statue of a bowl of ice cream would be indistinguishable from frozen yogurt on the Googleplex front lawn. Jason Kincaid from TechCrunch got it straight from the horse’s mouth (the horse being Google VP Engineer Andy Rubin) during a discussion about the Samsung’s NFC-equipped Nexus S. That’s it? Nothing too exciting about a new release moniker, but the story surrounding Ice Cream Sandwich gets more interesting when we start talking about version numbers.

Though not as easily traceable as the Ice Cream Sandwich info in terms of source, it’s being widely reported that Ice Cream Sandwich will be version 2.4 of Android. (Pocket Lint appears to be the primary source.) So perhaps that image of Sony Ericsson’s Arc with 2.4 listed in the system information wasn’t depicting a mere glitch or misconfiguration as the OEM claimed after the leak. Perhaps they were simply mopping up after spilling some news that Google doesn’t want out there just yet. If that’s the case, I don’t can’t blame Google for wanting to keep this under wraps (a paper wrapper?).

If 2.4 is launched at Google I/O in May, as many are now expecting, it will be released after version 3.0. The chronology of the numerical releases could get pretty confusing. Not to mention that the Android alphabetical release system would be out of whack as well. Is Android 3.0 a fork designed exclusively for tablets? Will it merge with the phone flavor of Android at some point? Are we about to witness a cluster$*&$ of fragmentation at the hands of the company that, just seven months ago, announced a yearly update cycle, in part to address fragmentation issues?

I’m hoping that the forking part of this equation is incorrect, as throwing one more OS into the mix (Chrome OS for devices with keyboards, Android 3.x for tablets, and Android 2.x for phones) seems like a willy-nilly approach to addressing consumer needs. A unified approach, a la iOS, goes a long way in establishing a polished image to the public. Not to mention the ways a fork could exponentially branch once in the hands of OEMs, many with their own customized user interface. The only positive aspect I can think of regarding a forking of Android is that it would provide an ocean of material for posts at DroidDog. But again, while the name Ice Cream Sandwich is all but confirmed and was slipped by Andy Rubin, the version number it applies to has not–to my knowledge–been verified.

Via Tech Crunch

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