Make no mistake about it - the Galaxy Nexus is the most important phone of 2011. It's the first device from the next generation of Android. It hits every major feature the phones of 2012 will be touting: On-screen buttons, a massive 720p OLED screen, NFC, LTE, and Ice Cream Sandwich. Together these things make this phone unlike any other Android phone. This is what Android's future looks like.
While we've already seen a leaked version of TouchWiz running on top of ICS, a new leak shows us what HTC is doing with Android 4.0. I know you're all anxious to see what it's all about, so let's just get that out of the way first:
It's worth noting that this is a very early test build, so it's subject to change before it actually sees any official light.
Update 12/21: SE published a blog post this morning vaguely detailing a timeline as to when ICS should start hitting devices. It looks like the Xperia Arc S, Neo V, and Ray will be the first to get the update sometime in late March/early April. After that, the Arc, PLAY, Neo, Mini, Mini Pro, Pro, Active, and Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman will all receive the update as well, though no ETA for that bunch was given.
Everyone knows and loves Dropbox, and with build 188.8.131.52, its Android version is about to get even better. For now it's but a preview -- a "forum build," by official Dropbox terminology -- though we'd expect that to change soon, as in my experience it seems quite stable.
The main addition here is "optimization" for Android 4.0, presumably consisting mainly of performance tweaks. Additionally, the update features:
Samsung has finally made an official statement regarding its plans to upgrade current handsets to Ice Cream Sandwich (Android version 4.0), and the short list is indeed quite short:
Galaxy S II (including AT&T LTE version)
Tab 7.0 Plus
Updates will start with the Galaxy S II and Note in Q1 2012, but that time frame likely applies to world versions of the phone, so those with American carrier-branded versions of the GSII will probably be waiting a little longer.
Looks like the incremental updates for Android 4.0 are rolling along nicely at this point - the VZW Galaxy Nexus received the update to Android 4.0.2 yesterday, and now Google has announced version 4.0.3. As you may expect, it crushes many bugs that have been found in current builds, along with throwing some optimizations into the mix.
This update will also bring some new goodies to the table for developers in the form of new APIs:
Social stream API in Contacts provider: Applications that use social stream data such as status updates and check-ins can now sync that data with each of the user’s contacts, providing items in a stream along with photos for each.
There must be something weird going on with manufacturers lately - first Huawei released an alpha build of ICS for the Honor, and now Sony Ericsson (soon to be just Sony) has released an ICS ROM for certain unlocked Xperia devices, including the Arc S, Neo V, and Ray.
Since it's an alpha ROM, it's not made for day-to-day use, as it is limited to just a few functions at the moment.
An early version of the Ice Cream Sandwich ROM built by Samsung itself and complete with TouchWiz has been leaked today to the folks at SamMobile. They've quickly put together this video to demonstrate exactly what Samsung has been cooking up for the upcoming update - and that would be a whole lot of TouchWiz on top of the beautiful ICS UI we've been admiring so far:
Ever since I got the SGS II in the U.S., I don't mind TouchWiz as much (though those click sounds make me cringe every time), but it's kind of starting to look and feel old compared to Ice Cream Sandwich itself.