Google's Schmidt: Android Ice Cream Sandwich Coming in Oct. or Nov.

Google (NAS: GOOG) will release the next major upgrade of its Android mobile operating system in October or November according to comments made by the company's executive chairman Eric Schmidt. Speaking at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, Schmidt said, "We have a new operating system, internally known as Ice Cream Sandwich for some reason, which is being released in October/November, which everyone's really excited about."

Google first confirmed Ice Cream Sandwich's launch during its annual I/O developer conference in May, stating it would unveil the update sometime during the fourth quarter. Google promises Ice Cream Sandwich will deliver the tablet-optimized innovations introduced in its Android 3.0 Honeycomb update to all devices running Android in an effort to reduce platform fragmentation: "We want one OS that runs everywhere," Android engineer Mike Claren told the I/O audience. "We're going to take all the good stuff in Honeycomb and make it available everywhere."

Although additional details on Ice Cream Sandwich remain scarce, Claren said Google will invest "heavily" in the platform's API framework, "adding new APIs and intelligence" as well as development tools. Google also stated Ice Cream Sandwich Source will be completely open-source -- the company courted controversy earlier this year when it restricted access to Honeycomb's source code because the update was not designed for implementation across smartphones.

"We did an internal trick to make the Honeycomb schedule -- we took a shortcut, and didn't release it for smartphones," Google SVP of mobile Andy Rubin said during a media Q&A at the I/O event. "We didn't make it open-source because we didn't want people to wedge it onto phones."

Android dominates 41.8 percent of the U.S. smartphone market as of July 2011 according to data issued last month by research firm comScore. Apple's (NAS: AAPL) iOS is next at 27.0 percent, followed by Research In Motion's (NAS: RIMM) fading BlackBerry at 21.7 percent.

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