Google aims for Android clarity

Google's outgoing CEO Eric Schmidt and VP of Engineering Andy Rubin took to the stage in Barcelona for the company's MWC keynote on Tuesday, where they spoke about all things Android - and clarified a few rumours that had been floating around.

Firstly, Schmidt kind of confirmed that the next instalment of Android would indeed be called Ice-Cream (+/- Sandwich) when he said: "We've got an OS for phones called 'Gingerbread' and one for tablets called 'Honeycomb'. G and H. You can imagine that the next will begin with I and will be named after a dessert."

He then stated that this next instalment, which will follow the "roughly six-month" Android cycle, will bring Honeycomb and Gingerbread together - so it looks as if we're in store for a tablet and smartphone compatible Android version around July time.

What was clear from the keynote was that Google wants an end to the 2.3/2.4 type confusion and instead wants manufacturers to simply refer to "the latest version of Gingerbread" and so on.

Earlier this month on Pocket-lint we told you how ViewSonic is planning on releasing a 2.4 Gingerbread device in April - which caused confusion as Gingerbread initially landed as Android 2.3. However, although Froyo only had the 2.2 label, Éclair spread across two labels - 2.0 and 2.1.

Rubin also said that each new version of Android would be launched with new kit. He stated that it was important that new versions were not “just a thought experiment”, and that “each software release be accompanied by a hardware component".

Froyo launched with the Nexus One, of course; Gingerbread with the Nexus S and Honeycomb with the Xoom. So when Ice-Cream does finally hit, expect it to be accompanied by a brand new device.

Or, going by the "unite" quote from Schmidt about the next version, perhaps even two devices; a tablet and a smartphone.