Ina Fried

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Google’s Rubin Says Ice Cream Sandwich Is Filled With “Butter”

It turns out that ice cream isn’t the only dairy product the Android team has been working on.

The big focus with the new version of Android was on improving the user interface, Google’s mobile chief Andy Rubin said in an interview on Wednesday. That interface, which builds on the holographic look that debuted with Honeycomb, was designed to be like butter.

“We want everything to be smooth as butter,” Rubin said. In addition to the new look, Rubin said the software includes all kinds of other features, from being able to control music from the lock screen to allowing developers to tap the phone’s graphic processor for image-intensive tasks.

The other big goal of Android 4.0, of course, was to unify the tablet and phone versions of the operating system. Google offered the first look at Ice Cream Sandwich on Wednesday at an event with Samsung, where the two companies announced the Galaxy Nexus, which will be the first device running the new software. Other devices will follow within weeks after that one, Rubin said.

While Andy Rubin is most focused on getting Android running on as many phones, TVs and tablets as possible, he sees opportunities well beyond that.

Already, he notes, the operating system has spread to watches from Motorola and car dashboards from Mercedes.

“Tell me what screen Android shouldn’t be on,” Rubin said, speaking to AllThingsD just after he finished his onstage appearance at AsiaD in Hong Kong.

Virtually any screen can be better if it is running Android, he insists. There are actually only two screens where Rubin says he doesn’t want to see Android: Nuclear reactors and weapons systems. (And the licensing terms already prohibit those, he notes.)

I’ll have more from my interview with Rubin, including his thoughts on Apple’s Siri, in a follow-up post shortly.

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