Google has been met with the question time and time again: will Honeycomb ever make it to phones? You had to guess that their answer has either always been “no” or “we don’t know” by now – that version of Android is just too fleshed out for phones. That doesn’t mean tastes of Honeycomb won’t affect future phone versions of Android though.
Phandroid just got word from a trusted source that Google has begun building a new branch of code – being called GRI17 (Gingerbread post-Honeycomb, aka “Ice Cream”) – that aims to bring some of the new elements found in Honeycomb over to phones.
What features they’d be bringing over and to what extent isn’t known yet, but I can’t imagine optional hardware buttons and the new notification system would be left out. I’d also count on hardware acceleration and RenderScript making it in, but all of this is just speculation and guesstimation on my part.
Earlier today, we heard the Google team had just begun thinking about bringing the phone and tablet version of Android closer together, which gives legs to this rumor.
We probably won’t see the fruits of their labor until later in the year – especially considering their aim is to widen the gap between Android versions to make it easier on developers, OEMs, and users alike. All we can do is wait and try to dig for more details for the time being, but one thing’s for sure: Android on phones is only going to get better from here on out, full Honeycomb or not.