With Android 2.3 ‘Gingerbread’ and Android 3.0 ‘Honeycomb’ out in the open, its time we start looking forward to the next Android version, dubbed ‘Ice Cream’. There is news that Google would be announcing Android 2.4 during its I/O conference, this year in May and would than be released the coming June or July. If this happens, it would be history repeating itself as Google launched Android 2.2 during its conference last year and released it to the nexus one the next June. One thing that is clear from the name ‘Ice Cream’, is that Google simply loves sequences. All previous versions and now ‘Ice Cream’ together form a clear alphabetical sequence, ‘Donut’, ‘Eclair’, ‘Froyo’, ‘Gingerbread’, ‘Honeycomb’ and now ‘Ice cream’.

What to expect and what not to expect from Android 2.4?

Is it really 2.4?

We aren’t sure yet. Google jumped directly from version 2.3 to version 3.0. We can suppose that this is because Gingerbread and Honeycomb were both meant for different platforms (Gingerbread is for cellphones while Honeycomb is for tablets). While it’s our assumption that the next version of Android would be version 2.4, nothing is sure until Google officially unveils the next version. There are also rumors that the next version would be known as ‘Ice Cream sandwich’ and not ‘Ice Cream’. Android Chief Andy Rubin also cleared the air a couple of weeks back that the next version may be called ‘Android 2.4 Ice Cream’ or something else. He also said that users eagerly waiting for the next version would probably see it during the Google I/O conference that is going to be held in just another month.

Is it ‘Ice Cream’, ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ or something else?

On April 3, 2011, Google chose to post a doodle of an ice cream sundae on their official search page.  A click on the syrupy image takes users to a search results page for the term “Ice Cream Sundae.”  The search has sparked speculation in many tech users that Google is soon to announce their newest version of Android, as the newest planned version as ‘Ice Cream sundae’ and not ‘Ice Cream’ or ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’

Merger with Google TV?

Google TV hasn’t been the great a success that many users had anticipated. There are multiple reasons responsible for it that include the expansion of services like Netflix and the high price of hardware. However, one of the reasons most experts agree on is the poor implementation Google’s  TV software itself. There has been news from multiple sources that Google may be merging the Google TV project with the upcoming Android OS.

If Google TV is wrapped into the Android OS project, then it would certainly get more developer attention and would receive a powerful and dedicated team of developers. However, any additional details or advantages – such as how readily Google TV might be made available on smartphones and Google tablets, or how Google TV hardware may gain access to Android Market applications – is still unknown. Additionally, the exact fate of current Google TV hardware is uncertain. Still, we will speculate that a merger between Google TV and Android OS can certainly be expected.

Will Chrome be merged too?

Many are anticipating that Google TV will be merged with the Android OS itself, and many Android fans expect Chrome to be merged with it too, but we don’t think that this is coming too soon. Google, obviously, will keep a few surprises in store for the future. Considering the potential that Chrome and Android have, a merger can not be written off. Actually, a merger would produce a beast, that would make it better than all other Operating systems, but it certainly isn’t going to be unleashed so soon.

Is Google music coming?

It is certainly on the cards. Google has a habit of keeping a low profile when it is testing something new. There have been reports that Google has been secretly testing the Google Music app with Cloud server sync facilities. Google wants to create a sort of music locker service that will let users store their “existing” music libraries on to their cloud servers. That means in case you update your smartphone, lose it, or it needs to be formatted, the music on the phone is safely tucked away on the cloud servers. There are also rumors that Google plans of bringing the service along with four top recording labels. Whatever Google Music is, it is certainly coming, and we can surely expect it in the next version of the Android OS.

Revamped Music player

This is something that everyone is sure about. The next version of Android will feature a media player that has been significantly revamped from previous additions and would feature a better UI  among other improved features.

Is it really coming?

There is also the possibility that Android 2.4 may be released as Android 2.3.3 with just a few minor changes from Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The outing of Android 2.4 appears to have been due to manufacturers jumping the gun about the name of Android’s next iteration, when announcing their new smart phones and tablets in advance of Mobile World Congress last February. When HTC unmasked its new smart phones and tablet, it also said they would have the latest version of Android for smartphones, called Android 2.4. It’s still possible that the newest version of Android may just feature very small changes like a few bug fixes.

The next Android is coming at about the same time as the iPhone 5. One thing is sure – there is going to be a heated battle for OS supremacy between Google and Apple when both launch their new operating systems. Everyone is expecting a lot of improvements in the next version, and all we can do is keep our fingers crossed and wait until May, when Google hold its I/O conference and see what surprises it has in store for Android fans.

Don’t forget – we will be their live-blogging to give you breaking coverage of the latest improvements to your favorite mobile OS!

Do you have any news, any views or any updates for the next android version?

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