Google: Developers should prepare for imminent Ice Cream Sandwich launch

As Google prepares to launch Ice Cream Sandwich over the next 2 months, it has posted a request to developers that they should also prepare. They have been prompted to get their apps ready for a new world of multiple screen sizes, be it an Android smartphone or a whopping 10-inch tablet.

"Early this year, Honeycomb (Android 3.0) launched for tablets. Although Honeycomb remains tablets-only, the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) release will support big screens, small screens and everything in between. This is the way Android will stay from now on: the same version runs on all screen sizes," explains Google’s Scott Main, lead tech writer on the Android developers blog.

What that means in reality is that developers will have to start planning and changing their apps accordingly, something that might take some time, but should benefit users in the long run.

"Some Honeycomb apps assume that they’ll run only on a large screen, and have baked that into their designs. This assumption is currently true, but will become false with the arrival of ICS, because Android apps are forward-compatible - an app developed for Honeycomb is compatible with a device running ICS, which could be a tablet, a phone or something else," says Main.

Google’s suggestion for developers is two-fold: either fix it or make sure that your app won’t work on small screen devices so users who go to run a Honeycomb app on a smartphone aren’t left with a mess.

"Ice Cream Sandwich is coming, and with it, handsets will be able to install apps built on Honeycomb. We haven’t released the ICS SDK just yet, but you can start preparing your Honeycomb apps by thinking about how they should work on smaller screens," says Main after giving a stack of tips and suggestions.