Last night Google took the wraps off of the next version of Android which we have all known as Ice Cream Sandwich and now is officially christened Android 4.0. There are some exciting things under the hood with Android 4.0, at least as shown for the smartphone, specifically the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. But a big question remains in my mind. What’s this mean for the Android Tablet market?
It is probably unfair to expect Google to talk about Tablets at this launch as it was geared to focus on the Galaxy Nexus. That said, the promise of Ice Cream Sandwich was to finally meld things between the Smartphone and Tablet segments of the biz. Again, I can forgive Google for not talking much about this, but Google Exec Andy Rubin sure made some comments in his talk with Walt Mossberg that, while certainly evasive, were also bordering on the troublesome. Specifically he said that there probably shouldn’t be a distinction going forward between Tablet Apps and Apps for the phone. If nothing else that thinking, while having some logic behind it, puts doubt in my mind about a market segment (Tablets) that Google doesn’t seem to fully comprehend. This is My Next has some screenshots up of the emulator running on a Tablet but even they say that on a Tablet, Ice Cream Sandwich is a “bit of a wasteland right now.”
I’m both hoping and reasonably certain that we’ll see and hear more about Android 4.0 on Tablets in the near future. This first edition phone won’t be rolling out until next month. Given that Android 4.0 is going to be ready for manufacturers to start doing their thing with phones and Tablets, I’m hoping we’ll hear something official from Google and whichever Tablet partner it chooses (Motorola?) before the cheap knock offs get their hands on Ice Cream Sandwich.