Now that Android Ice Cream Sandwich is official, when are we going to get the new smartphone that launches it? After Froyo first landed on the Nexus One, and the Nexus S arrived with Gingerbread, won’t we need a new Google phone to serve as the template all other Ice Cream Sandwich devices look to for inspiration, running clean Android with no extra UI enhancements? Well, Google isn’t ready to announce the Nexus 3 quite yet, not confirm that it would be an ICS launch phone, but the company is thinking long and hard about it, with Andy Rubin commenting at Google I/O that “Google is definitely looking at introducing another phone that should blow the socks off of everyone and that should be able to handle Ice Cream Sandwich with ease.”
That statement was in response to a line of questioning regarding ICS hardware requirements (or, at least, recommendations). While the operating system may be able to run just fine on existing hardware, especially considering all the high-end dual-core Androids we’re expecting to see over the next few months, Google may once again choose a hardware partner to release a Google-branded phone that hits the hardware sweet-spot for what we should expect an ICS phone to be.
Assuming Google goes ahead with a new Nexus to launch ICS, what kind of hardware could we expect? ICS is due to arrive in Q4 2011, so dual-core will likely be old-hat by then. We should see the first quad-core Android tablets arrive this summer, making it possible that hardware manufacturers will be ready to put the chips in smartphones by the time the ICS release rolls around; a quad-core Nexus would certainly fulfill Rubin’s predictions. For now, we can just guess, but Rubin promises we’ll be able to look forward to Google making “an announcement at some point in the future.”