Along with many other announcements today, Google dropped information about the new version of its Android operating system. We are still unsure if it will get a tablet (3.x), phone (2.x), or new (4?) version number, but we do know 1) it will be codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich and 2) it will obviously bring some new features to the platform.
The most touted feature of Ice Cream Sandwich is its potential to bring an end to Android fragmentation. At their conference, Google said the new version would allow developers to account for all device form factors when developing, both tablet and phone. The search giant also said they will be building various UIs into this version of Android to allow it to accommodate these different form factors and scale accordingly.
Unlike Honeycomb, this version of Android will also be completely open source. Google received a lot of heat for restricting the Honeycomb source code, but it appears that they have listened to the criticism and returned to their open source roots. This is a boon for manufactures and developers alike, as it will allow new devices to ship with the latest version and old devices to get ports and updates more quickly.
Unfortunately, the Android version that may be the savior of the OS is not slated for release until Q4 of this year. I know I will be eagerly waiting to see if Google's attempt to un-fragment their OS works out or not, but either way I have to give them some credit for trying.[Ars Technica]