The next version of Google’s Android operating system, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich, will converge the formerly disparate phone and tablet versions of the OS, Google announced at its I/O keynote today. Ice Cream Sandwich will maintain a single UI across all form factors and will allow developers to create applications for both kinds of devices in one motion. It will follow the rollout of Android 3.1 to the Motorola Xoom tablet and Google TV.
Google says the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android will “all be open source,” including APIs for face-tracking and other new features. Developers will be able to account for all form factors within this same version of the OS, and Google will be adding a lot of UIs to accommodate Android devices of all shapes and sizes.
The announcement of Ice Cream Sandwich followed news of Android 3.1, which carries desirable features like resizable widgets in the application launcher. Android 3.1’s trip over to Google TV will also carry with it the Android Marketplace and the usability of USB devices. At the keynote, Hugo Barra, director of Android product management, demoed the use of an XBox 360 controller with an Android game.
No official launch date has yet been announced for Ice Cream Sandwich, but Android 3.1 will be available to compatible devices as of today.
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Google announces Android Ice Cream Sandwich will merge phone and tablet OSes