[Exclusive] Android Ice Cream Details – Bits of Honey, But Not the Full Comb [Build GRI17]

Google has been met with the question time and time again: will Honeycomb ever make it to phones? You had to guess that their answer has either always been “no” or “we don’t know” by now – that version of Android is just too fleshed out for phones. That doesn’t mean tastes of Honeycomb won’t affect future phone versions of Android though.

We’ve just gotten word from a trusted source that Google has begun building a new branch of code – being called GRI17 (Gingerbread post-Honeycomb, aka “Ice Cream”) – that aims to bring some of the new elements found in Honeycomb over to phones.

What features they’d be bringing over and to what extent isn’t known yet, but I can’t imagine optional hardware buttons and the new notification system would be left out. I’d also count on hardware acceleration and RenderScript making it in, but all of this is just speculation and guesstimation on my part.

Earlier today, we heard the Google team had just begun thinking about bringing the phone and tablet version of Android closer together, which gives legs to this rumor.

We probably won’t see the fruits of their labor until later in the year – especially considering their aim is to widen the gap between Android versions to make it easier on developers, OEMs, and users alike. All we can do is wait and try to dig for more details for the time being, but one thing’s for sure: Android on phones is only going to get better from here on out, full Honeycomb or not.

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  • Tony

    Cool… Even tho I’m very satisfied with 2.2 on the EVO, what feats does Gingerbread bring exactly? besides the obvious performance enhancements

  • Zack

    Epic.

  • Mitchell

    They are confusing me with all these android versions. They should have android for phones and android for tablets. Each with a different version system.

  • fabio

    I’m starting to hate android…main problem is manufacturers not updating their phones, or doing it too late

  • TitusThorngate

    My guess would be that they flesh out this “GRI” version at I/O, but that’s only if Google follows its established pattern – which is probably why I’m wrong.

  • LiquidColors

    I agree with Mitchell, maybe it’s my lack of tech experience but how does making honeycomb 3.0 make sense if they’re going to create more 2.x’s for the phone OS? They should have left the deserts for the phone and created an entirely new branch of Android for tablets, which is essentially what they did without changing the name or numbers.

    I don’t know, maybe it’s similar to what Microsoft did with the Xbox (Naming it the 360 instead of the Xbox 2 to make it seem equal to the Playstation 3). Whatever it is this is going to confuse a lot of people later down the lone.

  • Nexus Eddie

    That’s why I love my Nexus S! Ill be waiting for my ice cream!

  • Garrett 77

    If your manufacturer isn’t keeping up, then ROOT your phone! I have the original Nexus One and I’ve been using CyanogenMod nightlies since a week after Gingerbread was released – can’t ask for anything more!

  • jdog25

    I doubt only one part of this rumor, it is the build number. If Ice cream is going to be for phones then it would start with the letter I. My Nexus on Froyo 2.2.2 build number FRG83G and my Nexus S is on Gingerbread 2.3.2 build number GRH78C. The versions of Android get their names from the first letter in their build number.

  • Quentyn Kennemer

    @JDog the version number isn’t consistent because it’s not an official build. Right now, it’s being treated as a Gingerbread build.

  • scotto

    @Nexus Eddie: I hear that! Love my NS and looking forward to getting some Ice Cream!

    Gingerbread was nice but not a huge change from Froyo. Ice Cream is looking to be a nice big step up. I’m excited.

    I agree with some of the other comments. It’s getting kinda confusing. I think that we need a definitive fork in the hardware. Many a new name and everything (Android and…Cyborg?)

  • jdog25

    @Quentyn I see. Now that I look at this again I have a feeling that this might be 2.4 because it is only one letter away from my build GRH to GRI. When the Nexus One got Froyo in May it had about 4 more smaller updates that looked something like this: FRBxx then FRDxx then FRGXX.

  • DS

    “…can’t imagine optional hardware buttons a… would be left out ..” .

    I can most definitely imagine leaving that out of phones. Who would want to take up more of a 4 inch phone with on screen buttons. This is actually the 1 honeycomb function definitely not needed for phones. Small screens need buttons for better functionality. Using valuable screen space on a small screen would be silly and a waste IMO .

  • http://sythe.me Xavier Sythe

    “If Ice Cream is going to be for phones then the build number would start with the letter I. ”
    Cupcake
    Donut
    Eclair
    Froyo
    Gingerbread
    Honeycomb
    Ice Cream
    Jello?
    The versions of Android get their names from the first letter in their build number.

  • LAVA

    Its actually going to be called Ice Cream Sandwich, but why sweat the details…. sloppy reporting.

  • lancaster09

    All I really gathered was knowledge that we already know:

    - the next version will contain new stuff (likely similar to Honeycomb)

    - the next version is called Ice Cream

  • JR

    FUCK ICE CREAM THEY SHOULD FIGUER OUT HOW TO DO UPDATES TO ALL THE PHONES!!! TAKE OVER GOOGLE…

  • http://androidized.com Lucian Armasu

    DS, the point would be that they’ll be able to make phones with 4.5″ screens, but with about the same overall size as a 4.3″ phone now. Since the buttons will be removed, you’ll either get smaller phones with same screen sizes, or same size phones, but with bigger screens.

  • http://www.chainfire.eu/ Chainfire

    What I have personally heard from Google engineers – and well known ones, not to mention it actually makes sense – is that there’s no “proper forking” of Android for tablets and phones.

    While 3.0 is aimed and optimized primarily at tablets, because it just had to be done right now and not later, the main features (not necessarily layout) will make their way back to the phones ASAP.

    While we probably will not see 3.0 itself on “normal” phones (though ultimately it depends on the OEM), we will probably see 3.1 or 3.2 or 3.3 (or …) on phones.

    Just repeating what I heard from Google folk.

  • Quentyn Kennemer

    @LAVA our tipster just said “ice cream”. You can take it up with him. ;)

  • espada-primera

    hopefully gingerbread will open the world of playstation to our android of choice

  • moii

    The official name is ice cream sandwich I would rather believe andy rubin than a “trusted source”

    http://phandroid.com/2011/01/11/next-version-of-android-actually-called-ice-cream-sandwich/

  • Jawman

    Just give me FULL hardware acceleration so that a 2011 android phone is on finally par with a freaking 3 year old iphone 3g

  • David

    Don’t blame Android or Google for not pushing out updates in time–blame your manufacturer. They have to take the new source code and work it into their custom UI–Sense, TouchWiz, Blur, etc. If you’re that pissed about not getting updates, stop whining and go root your phone.

    As for the screen/button debate, I’m fine with having buttons. Your claim that you could take away buttons and add more screen real estate wouldn’t make sense because a larger screen is much more expensive than putting a few buttons. Thus, from a manufacturing standpoint, it’s either take away the buttons and just have a smaller device, or keep the buttons and have a slightly larger device. We’ll see what they choose.

  • lbaxter

    Manufacturers don’t want to update their devices’ software to keep up with Android for one simple reason: to make you BUY a new one that WILL get the next update.

    I’ve been running 2.3.2 for weeks now on my Droid 1 (technically CDMA Milestone). As long as the rooted world keeps getting source android to pass along to the underprivileged masses, I’m good. :)

  • Daniel

    If they don’t plan on releasing Honeycomb to phones then why not call it Android Tablet Edition or something? Having Android 3.0 as a tablet version and Android 2.x as a phone version seems like it’s going to cause more problems in the future… especially with everyone crying fragmentation.

  • sandypants

    Why can’t people be happy with what they have. Eclair and Froyo is more than most people need. If you want more than that, buy a freakn laptop or tablet. It already irritates the shit out of me walking down the street bumping into every other person because they’re too busy to look up from their phones long enough to look where their going. Its only going to get worse I fear.

  • Gone

    Wouldn’t build GRI17 still be gingerbread not icecream?

  • Din

    This is stupid…
    Just in few minutes we will started to hear the trolls…

  • Hetal Patel

    Useless, make the update like Windows 7, Install it Instal drivers, install OEM and Operator APK, and done

    Android Update are toooooo much broken for old devices to implements

  • scotter

    In writing software there is abstraction, which allows efficiency & elegance.
    For example, if you abstract the display functions, your app merely needs to say: “write such and such to screen” and the display function figures out display resolution and does what it needs to do.
    Abstraction makes it easy to write one app or even one OS that can easily run on multiple devices. This saves you from having to write 2 or 20 different versions of the same app or OS.
    So my bet is honeycomb will hit phones, too. And parts of it, like gmail, will look different when seen on tablets.
    The advantages of all buttons being software are to me obvious. Same reasoning as having the virtual kb vs. Having physical kb.

  • Nick

    The next version after Ice Cream will be named Jelly Bean. They wouldnt use a brand name like Jello.

  • 1337klatz

    Android 4.0 jellybean is coming out Q4 2011

  • QuantumRand

    Primarily multicore optimizations I’d expect?

  • Wilco

    Rooting a phone is pretty cool. But I won’t do it again, or at least for now. It takes way too much effort to maintain the phone, and if I lapse in reading the forums even for a couple of weeks, it takes hours for me to catch up. Yeah, I’m sure I’m the exception here, but the personal effort required for a rooted phone is hardly worth the effort.

    I’m pretty happy with 2.2 on my Vibrant, without rooting.

  • Joshua

    @Xavier:

    Jello is actually a trademarked name. Jello is a brand name for the atcual food “gelatin”. So Jello is definitely not going to be the next name unless Bill Cosby, Jello, and Android are going to do some weird product promotion thingy. As 1337klatz said, jellybean may not be a bad guess.

  • sputnick

    I think versions of Android should just be anti-iPhone. So after Honeycomb we have versions:

    iTunes sucks
    Jobs loves control *But we do wish Steve good health
    Keep your hands off the antenna
    Lack of customization
    Multitasking…..well sorta
    No Flash
    OTA someday

  • Russ

    Re: Post 22

    I have a Nexus One, so Google are to blame in some cases.

  • http://androidized.com Lucian Armasu

    I still don’t know why they can’t update all the phones themselves, if they will be able to do it fr Chrome OS. All Chrome OS laptops, made by multiple manufactures, will be updated by Google. How is that possible for Chrome OS but for Android it isn’t? It’s not something they built into Android? Well, I think I’m willing to live with a “major” new version that will break away from the last (kind f like from 1.6 to 2.1) if that means all future phones will be updated by Google. They should do this early, before there are 1 billion Android phones out there.

  • Irish Dave

    If anyone is going to the Google conf, can someone ask:

    When will we have Bluetooth DUN/PAN access

  • jerbear

    @Lucian: That’s not how it’s ever worked. Google makes Android. The base OS. It is made free of charge to anyone. Then HTC or Moto or Samsung or whoever makes a phone and ports the free open OS to their device with any modifications that the manufacturer or the carrier wants.

    Anyone else is free to port Android to a device and since it’s open for the most part, many people do this. This is where you see things like Cyanogen offering new versions before the manufacturers put theirs out.

    Google isn’t going to mess with porting every to every single hardware configuration, third party skin, app, carrier restriction, etc. That is up to the manufacturer/carrier.

    The nice thing is that you can port it yourself or wait for a community dev to do it. You aren’t stuck waiting for the official carrier version to be spoon fed to you. You are free to modify and flash whatever ROM you feel like and it’s one of the best things about running an open source OS.

  • Kevin

    I thought it was Ice Cream Sandwich not Ice Cream

  • Dave

    “What features they’d be bringing over and to what extent isn’t known yet…”
    .
    Obviously fragments are number 1. Did you even look at the screen capture here?
    http://phandroid.com/2011/02/03/android-3-0-fragment-api-makes-scaling-for-screen-size-easy/

  • Richard Y

    Another reason that Jellybean might not be a bad guess is that it would quite easy to turn a Jellybean into one of those little android robot logos.

  • jamie

    lets worry about getting 2.3 on all the phones first…

  • NeverAgain

    …and then the samsung epic will be three versions behind. Long live 2.1!

  • Robot

    Its actually going to be called ice cream paint job.

  • shekar rajamani

    I scream
    you scream
    we all scream for ICE CREAM

    Long live ICE CREAM, get them on before it melts!! After all it is OPEN OS. Thanks to Google android team.

  • Philip

    companies like htc or samsung should just keep sense or touchwiz or any other custom ui separate from android and focus on making drivers so they can deliver updates faster

  • No_Nickname90

    What happens after Android 2.9 Wedding Cake? Are they just going to skip 3.0 or call it Android 3.0 Caramel? The sweets are for the phones and the cereal is for the tablets? Ok.
    It’s not confusing to me, I just hope they have a plan seeing how fast that come out with the next Android software so fast.

  • CraigH

    I’m running the latest Cyanogen mod on my old, rooted HTC G1 with T-mobile. Works fine 4 me, but I use it as a phone not a toy or fashion accessory. I usually buy used, at pennies on the dollar. Most of these newer phones and OS versions seem to be targeted to early adopters and kids. Similar to the latest laptops/desktops/pads and Windows OS’s. Fact is most computers are still using WIN XP. Smartphones only account for less than 20% of all handsets in use today, although that is changing. I thought Android 3.0 was optimized for dual processors like in Pad devices. 2.4 is a small change to 2.3 to allow the running of some 3.0 apps on smartphones.

    I may upgrade when/if I switch to Verizon, but will probably buy used again.