Since the initial unveil of Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich”, plenty of details have spilled out from manufacturers, carriers, and Google itself. With every new version of Android comes a lot of questions as to whether it’ll support older devices or certain features, so we’ll try to clear up some of that confusion here.
First, let’s start with some features that Google didn’t really spotlight in their initial unveil. Native stylus support is one of these features, building hooks into the Android API to recognize between a pen and fingertip as well as respond specifically to touches with differing pressure. This software-level integration piggybacks on initial ideas from the HTC Flyer and Samsung Galaxy Note, but still places the impetus on manufacturers to provide hardware solutions. Another feature that wasn’t well explained was the barometer in the Galaxy Nexus, which Android engineer Dan Morrill explains provides altitude readings to the GPS program to more rapidly acquire the user’s location by satellite.
Manufacturer distribution of firmware updates to Android have been spotty in the past, but this version seems to have much more promise as far as widespread adoption is concerned. In fact, Director of Android User Experience Matias Duarte said that 4.0 “theoretically should work for any 2.3 [Gingerbread] device” The following devices are confirmed to either release with Android 4.0 or be updated in the future, though firm dating is universally ambiguous:
- ASUS tablets - ASUS PadFone, ASUS Transformer Prime, ASUS Transformer
- Sony Xperia 2011 Lineup – X10, X10 Mini, Arc, Play, Neo
- Motorola – Xoom, RAZR, Droid Bionic
- Samsung – Nexus S