After “I”ce Cream was hinted at by Google CEO Eric Schmidt at MWC last month there’s been a lot of speculation as to exactly where this would lead—now it’s beginning to come out in the wash. Phandroid has run with a scoop, bolstered by trusted sources, that Ice Cream will be include Google TV in its debut and this will be a huge boon for all Google Android subscribers and developers,
The rapid-fire releases of Honeycomb and Gingerbread have brought a lot of commentary about fragmentation—vs. Apple; vs. themselves—in the Google source code. Especially due in part because while they’re both Android bases, Honeycomb (Android 3.0) develops for tablets and Gingerbread (Android 2.3/2.4) develops for smartphones. While it would seem that neither the twain should meet, it doesn’t seem that they’ll be remaining separate for too much longer. Google intends to merge to the two together into the ASOP (Android Open Source Project) Code Branch.
And, if that wasn’t enough to whet our appetites for desert, they’re adding Google TV.
According to Phandroid,
We reached out to one of our trusted tipsters regarding the [Icecream = Google TV + Honeycomb + Gingerbread] rumor and not only did they confirm it… they also provided some feedback of their own. According to this anonymous source, part of the reason Google is with-holding Honeycomb source code is BECAUSE of the planned integration with Google TV. If Google were to release the source code of Honeycomb now, then launch Ice Cream with Google TV integration, we’d be looking at the same problems and disparities between Gingerbread and Honeycomb all over again. Only this time the odd man out would be the newly added “TV” features.
Google TV’s inclusion is generating a great deal of much-deserved excitement because it’s been such an interesting project. Nowadays, a carriers, distributors, media outlets, and web portals are all locked at the horns with how to deliver their content to consumers across various devices and media—licensing itself fragments across technology lines between terrestrial, cable, satellite TV vs. Internet TV vs. to-mobile streaming TV. It’s probably best for Google if they manage to make all their APIs work in one place rather than following the trend for business—it’ll certainly make the developers a lot happier.
Keep in mind that happy developers also mean happier customers. As long as the three devices work from essentially the same APIs—especially when it comes to streaming—that means that releases can roll out on essentially the same dates for Android tablets and smartphones (and Chrome OS if/when that appears.) As a result, consumers who have both Android phones and tablets won’t have to skip back and forth between different versions of the same software when they switch devices.
In a sort of way this a good thing for Google: it will guide their customers to purchase more products from their lines so that they not only integrate well with each other, but so that they maintain a sense of seamless continuity. After all, why not get an Android tablet and an Android smartphone when switching from one to the other can be done with extreme ease and the UI retains extremely similar functionality and qualities between them.
People really dislike having to switch gears, about as much as they dislike having to learn new things. Fortunately for consumers, things like ASOP are entirely transparent to them except for the parts where it makes their lives a little easier. They won’t have to change their lives or lifestyles in order to take advantage of it; it’ll take advantage for them when their Google devices snuggle up to one another.