Google is awfully fond of naming Android OS updates after various confectioneries, and with the upcoming update on the horizon, these naming conventions haven't changed. In fact, they are expanding. The current version, Honeycomb, is about to pushed aside for a frozen treat. In fact, considering the authority of the update's name, it sounds like a complete reworking instead of a simple update.
Consider, during the life of Android, it has been called Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread and Honeycomb; but now, Google is pulling out the big guns, at least in relation to naming its mobile OS after a dessert item. No longer are doughnut-style treats the preferred choice for Android names. These, apparently, don't capture the scope of the update, and so, the new Android OS update will be called "Ice Cream Sandwich," which immediately brings thoughts of wanting one, because, let's face it, a real ice cream sandwich is just so damn tasty.
While it's doubtful the Ice Cream Sandwich update will make Android devices any more edible, it could make them even more appealing than they already are. Of course, playful naming conventions is not the only reason the Ice Cream Sandwich update was announced. It won't be long before Apple's iOS 5 is ready for primetime, and when that happens, Google/Android will be there, trying to capture some of that buzz.
The Android update was confirmed by Eric Schmidt at the Dreamforce conference:
We have a new operating system, internally known as Ice Cream Sandwich for some reason, which is being released in October/November, which everyone's really excited about.
Considering the fact that iOS 5 has been promised by Fall of 2011--which, oddly enough, looks like the same time period the Android update will hit--is this a coincidence on Google's part?
Of course it's not.
Google and Apple are locked in a battle for mobile device supremacy, and these "same time" update releases is just another move in the one-upmanship battle. In fact, if either company could sue the other to delay the mobile operating system update, you can almost guarantee they would.
One of the major benefits of the ICS update for Android is the unification of the interface for both Android tablets and the smartphones. Beyond that, anything else is just a guess. When making the announcement, it's obvious Schmidt was more interested in letting folks know that Android is not going sit and idle while the 5 version of Apple's mobile devices hits the shelves.
The features? That's another story for another time, apparently.