updated 07:05 pm EDT, Wed September 28, 2011
Ice Cream Sandwich spotted on auctioned off phone
A Nexus S reportedly bought off of eBay may have given far more insight into Google's Ice Cream Sandwich update for Android. The OS appears to be further along than first shown and is a mix between features from Honeycomb (Android 3) and a few minor but telltale iPhone cues. Similar to iOS 5, owners can launch straight into the camera app from the home screen through the unlock 'ring;' the iOS-style, four-icon app tray is also on show.
Moving deeper into the OS shows more influence of Google's own work and that of its partners. Folders bring it up to par with iOS 4 but use a pop-up implementation closer to that in Samsung's TouchWiz or Sony Ericsson's Timescape. Both the app list and the notification bar are also more reminiscent of the Honeycomb interface.
Multitasking now invokes a distinctly Honeycomb-like thumbnail view of every running app instead of the pure icons it shown before.
While it could be a fake, the changes appear too elaborate to be a simple fake and are consistent with Google's goals of merging Honeycomb features with its phone OS for the first time. Google has said it plans to ship ICS, likely as Android 4.0, sometime in October or November. Engineers at the company regularly field test pre-release versions of Android on reference phones like the Nexus S before they go live.
Apple may not be happy with borrowed features but might not complain given its drawing on Android as inspiration for the iOS 5 notification bar, an emphasis on cloud syncing, and other elements that have been in Android for some time. [via Engadget]