MWC 2011 | MWC: Android OS for tablets and smartphones may soon merge

The next version of Android may start combing OS features from phones and tablets

Google intends to blur the line between smartphone and tablet by announcing at the Mobile World Conference an eventual merge between its Android OS built for smartphones and the Android OS built for tablets. The details of the process were not mentioned, but PCmag reports that the next smartphone Android release, likely to be called “Ice Cream”, will share some of Honeycomb’s fundamental designs, including its visual cues and app switcher. This suggests that new iterations of Android may slowly incorporate features from Android tablets to Android smartphones and vice versa, starting with the next Android release. The current latest version for smartphones is Gingerbread, which was released in December of last year.

For those confused about the Android naming scheme, Google codenames each major Android release after dessert items and in alphabetical order. For example, Android 2.0 was codenamed Éclair, 2.2 Froyo, 2.3 Gingerbread, and 3.0 Honeycomb.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt gave no specific dates for the release of the next Android version, which may be unsurprising as the company just showed off Honeycomb a couple of weeks ago. He did, however, point out that the company “tries to follow a rough six-month cycle with Android OS releases,” and so it could be entirely possible for tablets later this year to support the next Android release.

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Allen Ngo, 2011-02-23 (Update: 2016-02-11)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.