Google's Ice Cream Sandwich OS to debut before December

Eric Schmidt says the next version of the Android operating system will be released in October or November.

Android fans should expect to see Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of Google's mobile operating system, in October or November, according to Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt. "We have a new [Android] operating system, internally known as Ice Cream Sandwich...which is being released in October/November," Schmidt said during a talk at Salesforce's Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. Schmidt's comments were first reported by Android and Me.

Google has already said that Ice Cream Sandwich would debut during the fourth quarter of 2011, but Schmidt's comments suggest the release might come earlier than later during the last three months of the year.

Then again, it's not as if Schmidt gave a specific date or time frame for the release such as the last week of October or mid-November. So Schmidt's vague "October/November" statement may have simply been a general reference to the fourth quarter.

Waiting for Ice Cream Sandwich

Ice Cream Sandwich is an anticipated Android release largely because it will unify the Android OS from Gingerbread for phones and Honeycomb for tablets into one OS for all devices. That basically means smartphones will get some of the features first released for tablets in Honeycomb such as sliding widgets, the new task launcher and multitasking interface.

In August, leaked screenshots purportedly showed Ice Cream Sandwich running on a Nexus S device. The reports said the Android update had some previously undisclosed features such as a revamped Gmail interface, panorama mode for device cameras, and a new notification bar.

One of the first phones expected to run Ice Cream Sandwich could be the rumored Nexus Prime handset manufactured by Samsung. Like previous Nexus devices such as HTC's Nexus One and Samsung's Nexus S, the Prime will reportedly be a pure Android experience with no manufacturer overlays or carrier bloatware. The device is expected to have a large, Super AMOLED display with 1280-by-768 resolution, a dual-core processor, and a 5 megapixel camera.

Google has yet to officially announce when Ice Cream Sandwich will debut, but if you're thinking of buying a new Android phone, you might want to hold off for a few months to see what the initial Ice Cream Sandwich lineup will have to offer.

Check out the video below to see Schmidt's comments at Dreamforce starting around the 30:25 mark.

Connect with Ian Paul (@ianpaul ) and Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.

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Ian Paul

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