The next Android release is code-named “Ice Cream Sandwich” announced Google at the Google I/O today.
Available by the fourth quarter of this year, its main goal is to bring a unified set of features to all devices in an attempt to solve the OS fragmentation issue. The company did note that the software will support standard USB peripherals, enabling any Ice Cream Sandwich-compliant device to work out-of-the-box with the stuff like keyboards, mice, trackpads, joysticks, game controllers and more.
Android Icecream Sandwich users will also enjoy all Honeycomb 3.1 enhancements, like holographics UI, multitasking UI, richer widgets and more. The new code will be available on an open-source basis, Google said.
Another cool feature is virtual camera operator that can determine who is speaking to automatically zoom in on the right person in video chats. Ice Cream Sandwich will also ship with the new movies app designed for downloading and watching movie rentals from Android Market.
You can either stream or download movies to the device, with standard 24-hour viewing window and 30-day rental period. The Movies app will be part of the next Honeycomb Android 3.1 software update, available now to Motorola Xoom 3G users via Verizon Wireless and on other tablets soon. The app will also roll out to Anroid 2.2 devices in the next couple of weeks, Google said.