Ina Fried

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So Just What’s in Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich?

The next major version of Android, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich, is designed to bring together the Honeycomb tablet and Gingerbread phone versions into a single software release that can power all manner of devices.

While, Google announced plans for its latest after-dinner treat at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Ice Cream Sandwich isn’t due until sometime before the end of the year.

As for what will be inside, Google is promising that many of the user interface concepts introduced in Honeycomb, such as the action bar, will come to the phone. There will be other features as well. However, Google didn’t go into a lot of detail

“Our primary job is to make the Android experience run on all devices,” a Google representative said in a press conference following Tuesday’s keynote. “But there are a lot of new features… I can’t preannounce them. We’ll be rolling that out when it is a little more mature.”

Google’s Hiroshi Lockheimer said that Ice Cream Sandwich should run on current generation hardware.

As for whether Google plans to do a Nexus device to coincide with the release of Ice Cream Sandwich, Andy Rubin said that the company tends to introduce products in the summer and around the holidays.

“There’s always going to be new ones coming into the market,” Rubin said. “We’ll make an announcement at some point in the future.”

Google released Android 2.3, aka Gingerbread last year. The company announced Android 3.0, aka Honeycomb, in February and it is shipping on the Motorola Xoom and coming soon on many other tablets.

However, Google has held back releasing Honeycomb into the open source, saying that in order to get Honeycomb to the market quickly, Google opted not to include phone features.

Google promised on Tuesday that the Ice Cream Sandwich source code will be released when the product is finalized later this year.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work