The first phone to ship with Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will be the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. But Engadget reports that Google is already working on releasing a software update that will bring Ice Cream Sandwich to the Samsung Galaxy S phone that’s already in the wild. Currently that phone runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
While Google hasn’t spelled out the minimum system requirements for Android 4.0, the Nexus S has a lower resolution display and slower processor than the upcoming Galaxy Nexus — so it looks like you don’t necessarily need the latest hardware to run Ice Cream Sandwich.
In fact, Google reps tell Engadget that most devices can handle Android 2.3 Gingerbread should be able to run Android 4.0 as well.
Of course, that doesn’t mean device makers will offer software updates. Google hasn’t yet announced any plans to offer Ice Cream Sandwich for the Google Nexus One. Motorola says ICS will be available for the new Motorola RAZR phone in early 2012.
HTC, on the other hand, hasn’t committed to any upgrades yet. The company also hasn’t ruled out offering software upgrades — but most HTC devices ship with HTC Sense software which is a highly modified version of Google Android. It could take a while before HTC is able to update Sense to work with Ice Cream Sandwich.
But even if device makers drag their feet on offering Android 4.0 for existing devices, I suspect we’ll start seeing custom ROMs pop up for users that are willing to root their devices and unlock their bootloaders pretty soon.