It will likely be a few months before Samsung, HTC, Motorola and other handset makers release official software updates with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for existing phones. But independent developers have been grabbing the Android 4.0 source code and modifying it to run on older phones — even phones that Google had said were “too old” to run Android 4.0.
The Google Nexus One was released a little under two years ago, and for a while it was Google’s flagship phone for developers and customers alike. It was first in line to get Android 2.3 Gingerbread and most minor software updates — but Google has decided not to release Android 4.0 for the phone at all, instead focusing on the newer Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S smartphones.
But xda-developers forum member has already started working on a custom ROM for the Nexus One which brings Ice Cream Sandwich to the phone. The software is still rough around the edges, with 3G, GPS, and even the home button not working properly yet. But it’s a start.
We’ve also already started to see builds of Android 4.0 for phones including the Samsung Galaxy S II, LG Optimus 3D, and more phones such as the HTC Desire, HTC Droid Eris, and HTC Hero.
These builds are all based on the Android Open Source Project code which was released earlier this week. They include all of Android 4.0’s new features including a redesigned user interface, improved voice input, a new People app, and system-wide spell-checking. They’re pretty much all still works in progress, but at this rate I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw stable third party builds of Android 4.0 for these phones before we see official releases.
Of course, installing a custom ROM on your phone is taking your warranty into your own hands. If something goes horribly wrong, don’t expect to get sympathy from your phone company or device manufacturer.