Maybe you're hearing a lot about ice cream sandwiches this morning in the news, and are wondering why. Well, unfortunately, it's not because we're all getting ice cream today. Google updated its operating system for the Android phones again, in a new operating system which is included in the Android 4.0 phones. In case you haven't been keeping up, the Android updates have been called Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo (frozen yogurt), Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and now Ice Cream Sandwich. Maybe the next one will be Lemon Meringue Pie? Who knows.
Let's ignore the classless way they did this on the day there is a world-wide memorial service for it's competitor's founder, Apple's Steve Jobs. Oh, and let's ignore the fact that this American-based company decided to pa aremier its biggest update ever in China (where most of the phones will undoubtedly be made). Perhaps both were coincidences? Besides they did this on Wednesday Hong-Kong time, which technically made it happen on Tuesday U.S. time, which is TOTALLY a different matter, right? Besides, this is the type of behavior expected from the "me" generation.
All of the snarkiness aside, this is a pretty exciting update. Basically, the operating system for the phones now is almost indistinguishable from the larger tablets, which is a huge step forward. The next update will probably eliminate the distinction between the "mobile" devices and laptop PCs, making my post from Monday obsolete (see "Why You Can No Longer Ignore Mobile").
For the last week or so, network support personnel have been frantically been updating their systems to accommodate Apple's new iOS system, which has turned out to be such a hassle on the user end, that that no one has yet been able to enjoy the new features, which had more to do with app integration and (ironically) make the iPhones operate more like the (now) old Androids. PC World compares the two updates HERE. TechCrunch has a pretty concise rundown of the new Android features HERE.
Bottom line? If you're getting a new phone in the next few months, It's likely your new phone will be a 4th generation Android. Just remember that there are always problems with the first release of anyting has a lot of problems, so you might want to wait around for version 4.1
My only other complaint so far is that I got up this morning very excited, hoping I was finally going to get an update on my Droid, but as it turns out this update is not available for my now-antiquated original Android phone purchase circa late 2009. Sigh. (I wonder how you say "sigh" in Chinese?)