Google will release the next version of its mobile phone operating system, Android 2.4, in the summer, Pocket-lint has learnt.

According to multiple sources familiar with the matter, Android 2.4, otherwise known as Ice Cream, is set for a June/July timeframe this year with an announcement expected at the company’s IO conference at the beginning of May in San Francisco.

The news comes as a Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, supposedly running the yet-to-be-announced mobile OS, was found on the show floor at CES.

"It was actually a mistake. We had different prototype versions in different units and somewhere the software labelling got corrupted with 2.4. It isn’t 2.4 it’s 2.3. It’s a labelling error in the software," Steve Walker, acting head of global marketing at Sony Ericsson told Pocket-lint in a one-to-one interview. "Of course we are always prototyping new features in the products, and somehow we’ve managed to label the android version as apposed to our own version of software." 

Although Sony Ericsson has told Pocket-lint that this was owing to a software corruption issue on the device rather than it actually running Android 2.4, our sources have confirmed that the new OS is coming, and coming in the not-too-distant future.

Ice Cream follows on the back of the launch of Donut (D), Eclair (E), Froyo (F), Gingerbread (G) and Honeycomb (H) with the next iteration in the list of releases Ice Cream (I).

Google has previously said that it was slowing down the timeline for Android, focusing on two major updates a year. With Gingerbread announced in December and Honeycomb in January, a June timeframe fits that ethos.

While those good at maths will realise that it does bring up the tally to three in the last 6 months, many experts we’ve talked to at CES in Las Vegas believe that Honeycomb, although not officially the company’s tablet OS, is unlikely to make it onto mobile phones, instead staying on devices like the Motorola Xoom, again giving us more pieces of the jigsaw to place.

Unfortunately, when we asked our sources to go on the record, there was more seat shifting than on the Underground at rush hour.

We will keep you posted.