Android 4.0: What Was Missing from the Announcement

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Last night’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich announcement was nothing short of amazing. However, after taking some time to process all the cool new features of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and the new hardware that the OS will launch on (the Samsung Galaxy Nexus), some questions were left unanswered.

What carriers will get the Galaxy Nexus?

Other than Japan’s NTT DoCoMo, no other carriers were mentioned at the launch event. Since then we’ve heard rumors that the UK’s “Three” will also carry the flagship phone.

We were told that there will be LTE and HSPA+ varieties of the phone, but we haven’t been told which US carriers these will be.

Verizon and AT&T have LTE networks. AT&T and T-Mobile have HSPA+ networks. Will the phone come to both? Neither?

We don’t know for sure, but given the fact that the first official Galaxy Nexus promotional video features the Verizon logo in some shots, it’s probably safe to assume it’s their LTE network that will get the phone.

The HSPA+ partner is still up in the air, but given what they’ve done in the past, there will likely be two HSPA+ models, one for each of the major carriers in the US — unless they’re skipping T-Mobile due to the merger plan between the two companies (we hope they don’t do that!).

When will the Galaxy Nexus be released?

November 2011. When in November? They didn’t say, and we haven’t heard — but it can’t be soon enough in our opinion.

What accessories will be available for the Galaxy Nexus?

No accessories were mentioned or shown at the launch event, which was somewhat unusual.

Since the side of the phone has the “three gold dots” that previous Nexii (Nexuses?) have had, we assume a desktop dock and car dock are in order. Since the dots are on the side, not the bottom, we think the docks will probably hold the phone horizontally, in landscape orientation, which makes sense given it’s 9:16 portrait screen (which is a more standard 16:9 when in landscape).

What about tablets and Google TV?

Other than a brief “Samsung makes phones and tablets” bit from the head of Samsung’s mobility division, no mention was made about tablets, nor any hint whether or not ICS will come to them.

Google TV wasn’t mentioned at all.

In short, we have no idea whether or not ICS will come to tablets and TV’s — but we sure hope it will!

Will ICS be the unifying OS after all?

This question follows up with the previous one: will ICS bring the “three screens” together under one operating system, rather than the three different branches of Android that they run now?

In the past it was hinted that ICS would be the unifying OS between tablets and smartphones (and we assumed TV would get the same treatment), but nothing was mentioned about this at the event.

We are still hoping that this is the case and ICS will be consistent across all Android-powered devices, regardless of screen size or resolution.

When will ICS be released to other handset makers and the AOSP?

Unlike previous launch events, no mention was made about ICS coming to the AOSP. We could read into this that Google isn’t going to do that anymore (Honeycomb still hasn’t been released to the opensource community). Instead, we choose to assume that, like has happened in the past with smartphone variants of the OS, an AOSP release will be only a matter of time — and will probably arrive before the end of the year.

Other handset makers (HTC, Motorola, LG, etc.) will probably get their hands on the code before it’s released to the AOSP — and may already have it.

HTC has already commented that they’re “evaluating” ICS to determine their upgrade plans.

Motorola has gone on the record stating that ICS will come to the RAZR in “early 2012”.

Will the Nexus S and Nexus One get ICS?

Unlike previous launch events, no mention was made about ICS coming to the previous Nexus smartphone either.

According to Google’s Gabe Cohen, the latest version of Android “theoretically should work for any 2.3 device”, and Ice Cream Sandwich will probably come to the Nexus S before too long.

Conclusion

As far as launch events go, this one was unusual compared to the previous announcements. It seemed to leave a lot of questions unanswered. Hopefully we’ll get some answers to these questions over the coming few weeks.

Did we miss a question that you’ve got? Let us know in the comments!

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy".By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video.Read more about Joe Levi here.