Google has plans to begin distribution of their latest iteration of the Android operating system, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich, within the next couple of weeks. Google chose to branch Android to support tablet systems in their Android 3.x, keeping their Android 2.3.x versions for phones. Ice Cream Sandwich promises to unify the two together, and bring a free and easy to use operating system that supports a wide-range of devices.
I am excited for two reasons: the potential for functional low-cost computers, and also the potential for computing devices to be used to their fullest extent as a result of their user-friendliness.
Android has come a long way since launching with version Android 1.5 on the T-Mobile G1. The G1 was had a single-core 528 MHz ARM CPU, 100 MB of usable memory, and 256MB of onboard ROM storage space. It only seems like yesterday that I was still using my HTC Dream (international version of the G1), struggling to squeeze out more speed and battery life out of the device. Android has been steadily increasing in market share since then, being included with more powerful devices a few times more powerful than the original platform.
Over the past year, Android has increased their support for different screen sizes and added USB peripheral support. As the hardware running Android becomes closer to their x86 peers (what you see in your day-to-day PCs), the operating system is also about to support more features that blur the line between personal computers and so-called ‘smart’ devices.
It has long appeared to me that it is inevitable for Android to gain wider adoption around the world, not only in tablets and smartphones, but also in all sorts of devices, especially with the unified platform. All eyes on Google…