Android alert: Is this Ice Cream Sandwich?

By JR Raphael (@jr_raphael)

Ice Cream Sandwich

Grab a spoon, Android fans: We're getting our first look at what appears to be Google's upcoming Android Ice Cream Sandwich release.

Android forum site RootzWiki.com has obtained two photos that supposedly show Ice Cream Sandwich running on a Nexus S phone. We don't know for sure that they're legit, but given the fact that many Googlers use the Nexus S as their primary device, it's entirely possible that development builds could be floating around on some of those handsets. Bear in mind, of course, that even if the images are real, they likely show an early and unfinished build of the software that could end up being quite different from the final and completed version.

The images show an updated notification bar with blue-themed icons -- a definite change from the green-centric color scheme that was introduced with Gingerbread. You can also see a customization control panel similar to what exists on Honeycomb-powered tablets.

Ice Cream Sandwich

Images courtesy RootzWiki.com

Android blog AndroidPolice.com has published two additional images, apparently from the same unnamed source. One image shows the phone's "About" screen, which has "IceCreamSandwich" listed as a version number. (Google has said in the past that it doesn't usually decide on an actual number for an Android release until the very last minute.) The other image shows what appears to be the pulled-down notification panel, with dark-colored bars informing the user of app-related activity.

Ice Cream Sandwich

Images courtesy AndroidPolice.com

The two sites discuss a handful of other alleged Ice Cream Sandwich details, though neither elaborates on who provided the information. According to the sites, ICS will launch initially on the hotly rumored new Nexus Prime phone, with rollouts to the Nexus S and then other devices following soon thereafter. The software supposedly has a Google search bar embedded at the top of the screen and an icon that loads an app tray at the bottom. The launcher and app drawer are said to be completely redone, as suggested by the first set of images. Gmail is described as being "rethemed" and the stock camera app is said to have a new "built-in panorama mode."

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Google has long promised Ice Cream Sandwich for the fourth quarter of the year, with recent rumors suggesting the software could launch as early as October. Provided that these images and details are real -- which, given everything we know about the platform and its planned similarity to Honeycomb, could certainly be within the realm of reason -- it looks like we should be in for quite the tasty treat. Either way, the next few months promise to hold plenty of interesting surprises.

JR Raphael writes about smartphones and other tasty technology. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Article copyright 2011 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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