Google and Samsung are set to unveil Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of Android, at an event Wednesday in Hong Kong. The next operating system — likely to be Android 4.0 — will be a combination of Android’s smartphone system Gingerbread and its tablet-based Honeycomb. The new system is expected to launch alongside a handset that bloggers are calling the Nexus Prime or the Galaxy Nexus. Speculation from tech bloggers indicates that the phone will have a 4.65-inch screen, will be LTE-enabled and will sport on-screen software buttons instead of the physical buttons that grace the bottoms of all Android phones right now.
The new system is expected to build off of the feel that Google has already achieved with Honeycomb, the tablet version of its operating system, and cut down on the fragmentation. The update will bring some features of Honeycomb, such as the user interface and multitasking features, to smartphones.
Google, which postponed the announcement of the new system out of respect for Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs, has already put a statue commemorating the new operating system on its lawn in Mountain View, Calif. The company will live-stream the event on its Android YouTube channel on Tuesday at 10 p.m. Eastern time.