Google has not made any official announcements yet regarding its official partners for the upcoming “fusion” version of Android codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). But, lately there have been strong hints that the Texas Instruments (TI) OMAP4 platform may take the lead role when ICS comes out some time during this year’s last quarter.

This would mean that the first devices–including and especially the rumored upcoming Google Nexus Prime (also referred to as the Nexus 3)–will be carrying Texas Instruments OMAP4 processors when Google launches the next major release of the Android platform (in this case, Android 2.4/4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich). The same thing happened to NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 platform when Android 3.0 Honeycomb was released–most Honeycomb tablets carried Tegra 2.

One fairly strong hint of a TI-Google partnership for ICS is a promotional graphic that CNET News received from TI’s public relations representative who told CNET News that TI will be using the image for promotional events occurring “in the fall.” TI, however, refused to publicly confirm or deny involvement with ICS.

Source: CNET News

Two OMAP4 dual-core processors are likely candidates: the OMAP 4460 and OMAP 4470, with the latter having greater likelihood of being made the base processor owing to faster speed (at 1.8 GHz, said to be 20% faster) than the OMAP 4460.

Another strong hint came after a little snooping around the Android Open Source Project site. Android and Me‘s Taylor Wimbley dug up a few more strong hints that seem to corroborate yet-unconfirmed rumors of the TI-Google partnership.

Source: Android and Me

Wimberly noticed numerous daily updates and commits to the OMAP git repository for the Linux 3.0 kernel, which ICS will reportedly be based on. Wimberly is suggesting high activity in the updates and contributions to the kernel code, which Wimberly notes to be coming from “employees of TI, Google, Imagination Technologies, and Broadcom.”

A similar high level of activity was observed for Android 3.0 Honeycomb on the Tegra 2 platform.

Moreover, Wimberly rules out the likelihood of an NVIDIA Tegra 3 (Kal-El) for ICS, since Tegra 3’s release has been deferred to 2012. Neither is Qualcomm a likely candidate, says Wimberly, since Qualcomm appears to have no access to ICS. These observations further strengthen the likelihood of ICS’s running on an OMAP4, providing Google will stick to its word about releasing ICS in the last quarter.

Although no word has been given about which manufacturer will produce the reference device for ICS, speculations narrow the choices down to three: HTC, Samsung, and LG. Which of these three would you want to produce the first ICS-powered device?

Image credit: CNET News, Android and Me

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