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Android Cellphones Google Handhelds Upgrades

Google Employees Are Receiving Ice Cream Sandwich Upgrade 71

Posted by timothy
from the this-sure-is-some-good-dog-food dept.
Android Police reports that Google employees have begun receiving the newest version of Android for their Nexus S phones in the form of over-the-air updates. CNET adds a note for the impatient that "the CyanogenMod project to build unofficial versions of Android is working on CM9, the version based on the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich source code. Early CM9 builds are available in alpha for the Samsung Nexus S and beta for the Samsung Galaxy S."
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Google Employees Are Receiving Ice Cream Sandwich Upgrade

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  • by ynp7 (1786468) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:58AM (#38263576)

    I'm allergic to dairy, you insensitive clods!

    • by mjwx (966435)
      Great, I'm going to have to buy another box of Ice Cream Sandwiches on the way home.

      Typical that Google names this release after something I like.
    • by zevans (101778)

      Yeah they haven't thought this through at all... you can't eat the dairy, I can't eat the sandwich (coeliac.) I bet it has a nut topping too!

    • by drb226 (1938360)
      I'm allergic to Apples.
  • obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, 2011 @04:04AM (#38263602)

    Don't forget to load Carrier IQ folks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CodeReign (2426810)

      This comment is less funny when you realize that Nexus phones are packaged by Google and not the carrier. Google has not ever included CarrierIQ. Though I'm sure they have more than enough tracking in there.

  • by slackware 3.6 (2524328) on Monday December 05, 2011 @04:04AM (#38263604)
    Bet it tastes better than warty warthog.
  • ICS on galaxy S (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arkhan_jg (618674) on Monday December 05, 2011 @04:25AM (#38263674)

    I've been running ICS on my galaxy S for the last week or so; the onecosmic build rather than cyanogen mod. It all works remarkably well given how fresh it is and lack of official drivers. Video recording doesn't work and the front camera is distorted ;both should get fixed once the nexus source is released.

    The launcher is much improved, so much I've felt no need for launcher pro at all. The stock keyboard is a direct competitor to SwiftKey now, and even better in some ways. The back camera is faster, but nowhere near as fast as the galaxy nexus alas - its hardware, not just ICS. The gmail apply and browser are both very fast and nicer to use; bookmark sync with chrome via your google account works well.

    Unlike gingerbread, I've had no problems with application launches struggling due to lack of ram, it handles ram much better for inactive apps. The swipe to remove function on both notifications and the task manager is nice. I do miss having the wifi etc buttons on the notification bar though, the widget isn't as useful when you're in an app.

    So far, I've only found two apps that don't work yet; copilot live doesn't work, and Astrid crashes when editing tasks. Both will get fixed no doubt. I do like the new TTS engine, it sounds a hell of a lot better than pico.

    Overall its all very slick and google have clearly been working on usability a lot for ICS. I have no desire to go back to gingerbread at all. Be good to get the remaining issues ironed out, but it's very usable as is. Oh and no CarrierIQ of course :)

    • Re:ICS on galaxy S (Score:5, Informative)

      by alendit (1454311) on Monday December 05, 2011 @05:26AM (#38263860)

      Using Cyanogenmod 9 (personal preference, onecosmic's is awesome too :) Alphas for 5 days and can largely share the experience. The hardware accelerated UI is awesome. Some issues, primarily with cameras and battery life isn't as great as with the stock firmware, but nothing you wouldn't expect from a early custom rom.

      And if you are already using some custom rom with clockworkmod, installing CM9 is as imbarassingly easy as copying the newest build on the internal sd and flashing it via recovery or the Rom Manager.

      Can't wait, till the new build will be available directly in the Rom Manager.

      • Re:ICS on galaxy S (Score:4, Informative)

        by Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) on Monday December 05, 2011 @09:42AM (#38264774) Homepage
        And if you are already using some custom rom with clockworkmod, installing CM9 is as imbarassingly easy as copying the newest build on the internal sd and flashing it via recovery or the Rom Manager.
        Assuming you aren't using a Nexus One or other phone w/ small system partitions, otherwise you need to repartition your phone to install the current alphas.
    • Re:ICS on galaxy S (Score:5, Informative)

      by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday December 05, 2011 @05:32AM (#38263876) Journal

      do miss having the wifi etc buttons on the notification bar though, the widget isn't as useful when you're in an app.

      The toggles in notification shelf were never in stock builds, it's a Samsung thing. And yes, it's quite convenient. That said, since Honeycomb, apps can put pretty much arbitrary widgets into the notification area, and it's also there in ICS. So writing an app that looks exactly the same way is now possible without modding the phone - just install from the Market. So it's only a matter of time before someone writes this, and I expect it to take a few days at most.

      There's one other crucial thing, when comparing this to Honeycomb (on tablets, obviously): the insane lag when typing anything in a textarea in the browser is gone - something that had always prevented me from surfing Slashdot from my Transformer tablet. Since it was always clearly a software issue, I expect that the fix is going to apply to all devices when they update to ICS - including tablets. Which means that I can finally ditch my iPad.

      Also, at the moment, there's no Flash on ICS, though Adobe has promised to update it till the end of the year.

      One more thing of note: it is the first (at least among those I know of) smartphone OS that has a special-purpose button to switch between apps, down there alongside "Back" and "Home". Android was always a true multitasking OS, unlike some others *cough* but now they're really in-your-face about it. About time.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You did add the disclaimer "at least among those I know of", so I'm only saying this as an FYI, not to rag on you.
        At the very least, Maemo had a dedicated task-switcher button before Android. With a simple app-install you even got a dedicated hardware button for it, giving a very alt+tab-esque feeling. Pure awesome.

        Of course, I'd say Maemo (including its newer derivatives, like MeeGo etc) was the first and possibly only mobile OS to handle multi-tasking properly. Well, that's my opinion at least.

        • by Simon80 (874052)

          Actually, on Maemo devices before the N900 (I'm assuming that's what you're talking about), there was a hardware button by default, which is probably why someone felt the need to write software to replicate this on the N900.

          I really liked Maemo, but as far as I can tell, it has a glaring weakness compared to other mobile OSes, in that it doesn't seem to have a sandboxing mechanism to run untrusted applications in. If it ever achieved the sort of mainstream success that Android has, it would have been hard t

        • WebOS handled it properly, better than Maemo IMO.

      • One more thing of note: it is the first (at least among those I know of) smartphone OS that has a special-purpose button to switch between apps, down there alongside "Back" and "Home".

        This one is already in Honeycomb.

      • by arkhan_jg (618674)

        The toggles in notification shelf were never in stock builds, it's a Samsung thing. And yes, it's quite convenient.

        Hah, never realised that. So samsung managed to improve something on android instead of make it worse? That's a first! Testing Notification Toggle now, and seems to do what it says on the tin, so thanks for that!

        Couldn't agree more about the stock browser on the transformer; it's utter pants. On mine, it lets you do bookmarks, and they show up when typing in urls, but there's none listed under

      • You could surf the web while talking on the phone or listening to music.

        • Yes, and Win95 had multitasking, so long as you didn't try to format a floppy.

          Hell, even DOS had it: you could type a command and read the output of the previous one at the same time!

    • Re:ICS on galaxy S (Score:4, Informative)

      by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday December 05, 2011 @05:39AM (#38263896) Journal

      I do miss having the wifi etc buttons on the notification bar though, the widget isn't as useful when you're in an app.

      Actually, it seems that I was too pessimistic in my estimates. Try this [android.com]. Works here on Galaxy Nexus.

    • Would you mind posting the links to the build you installed? Thanks

      • Re:ICS on galaxy S (Score:5, Informative)

        by arkhan_jg (618674) on Monday December 05, 2011 @08:24AM (#38264360)

        Not at all. I'm using this build [multiupload.com] (the one including google talk) from this post [xda-developers.com]. It's a small variant of the beta2 build of ICS by onecosmic with working TTS and fixed DPI, along with a compatible phone firmware for ICS included.

        That's in the main thread [xda-developers.com] about this ICS build, which has the vanilla beta2, as well as instructions on how to flash. Note, it does require rooting and installing a custom kernel, and you will need to back up your apps and data (i.e. phone call records, sms etc) using titanium or my backup pro if you want to put them back after flashing ICS. There are also a couple of scripts you need to run to make the external microSD writable, and enable USB mounting after flashing; sorry, don't have them bookmarked, will try and find them later. They're not essential though. You may also need the right kernel from the first post if you have a variant of the i9000, i.e. the i9000b or the like.

        The other option, especially if you're not already a veteran rom flasher on the galaxy S, is to go with the cyanogenmod9 version from here [xda-developers.com]; it's caught up with onecosmic's build in terms of what's working, and is a bit easier to get working.

        In both cases, you'll need to copy the rom (and maybe the kernel) zip to the internal SD, via USB mount for example, then install a gingerbread custom kernel via odin to give you clockwork mod, that then lets you go in and flash ICS from the internal SD from recovery mode.

        If you've not done that before, best to flash this kernel [xda-developers.com] (cf-root) using odin - instructions and links for it are in the post, just follow the guide on flashing via odin/download manager. That roots your phone, along with giving you clockwork mod in recovery while still keeping the rest of your stock rom intact. You don't need to faff about with ext4 or flashing a custom gingerbread rom, as you'll be going straight to ICS. Once you have clockwork mod though (which is included in the ICS builds), you don't need odin again, you can always flash new updates via recovery mode which makes life simpler.

        Finally, make sure you're already on gingerbread (2.3) official or custom rom first; going from froyo to gingerbread updated the bootloaders, and I don't think a gingerbread kernel will work on a froyo stock.

        • Thanks a bunch ... Now all I have to do is decide whether I want to void my warranty or wait and pray that Samsung will eventually release ICS for the Galaxy S :)

  • by Thantik (1207112) on Monday December 05, 2011 @04:26AM (#38263680)

    The build I found here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1338636 [xda-developers.com] with the kernel for the SGS Vibrant works 99%. Only thing that doesn't work is the camcorder, but I never use that anyways. It's well past alpha quality, and is usable as a daily driver. I've been using it for easily a week now. Keep a 301kOHM jig around though, can't get into download mode otherwise.

  • by tycoex (1832784) on Monday December 05, 2011 @04:28AM (#38263694)

    I bought a Nexus S for the sole intention that I didn't want to bother with rooting my phone and whatnot, but I still wanted to get the Android updates right away.

    I'm somewhat disappointed that CM9 will beat Google to updating my phone. I wouldn't mind rooting my phone to put ICS on it, but I'd rather not have to re-install everything. It seems you have to be rooted to make a full backup, and I need to make a backup before I root, so I'm pretty much stuck on stock.

    If CM has the update before the Nexus phones do, then what is the point of buying a nexus phone? I might as well get whatever phone has the nicest hardware and just put CM on it if I can't rely on the updates being quicker from Google than CM.

    • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Monday December 05, 2011 @05:03AM (#38263804)

      The nexus s will still be the first phone to get an official update; everyone else will be months away yet. While cyanogen have usable builds, you do have to be somewhat savvy to root and flash the rom - official roms are much easier, and it will all work, not just most of it.

      Given it's going out to employees, the final public release can't be far off now. Cyanogen mod is great and all, but the gingerbread version on my galaxy S always had a few minor issues, so I stuck to modified stock Samsung roms.

      Personally I'd rather have the nexus s than my galaxy S, very similar hardware (nexus s wasn't out when I upgraded) but no touchwiz or other crap. Even though I do have ICS now, for the longer run not having to deal with oem modifications would be worth it.

    • by mhesd (698429)

      CM9 for the Nexus S is still alpha so you can't complain or compare until a stable release is available for either CM or Google.

      • by Fri13 (963421)

        And no one expect developers should go complain to developers forums where they discuss about development process (why they dont use postlist?) as it just slows down them.
        When they release a beta or RC, then they might ask about testing something.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So.. basically what you're saying is that Google should have held the source release until they had released ICS on Nexus S. They could have easily done that but in reality the only person to actually benefit would have been you getting some weird satisfaction from the fact that a CM9 alpha release appears later than the official release.

    • Also a Nexus S owner here. Don't mistake the people claiming that the CM9 alpha/beta is running smooth for a 'Gingerbread smooth'. It's smooth for an alpha build missing official drivers and kernel but nothing more.
    • and I need to make a backup before I root

      Yes, that's the standard disclaimer, but who does that really?! The very reason we root our phones is so we can make a complete backup in the first place. Ignore the disclaimer, everything we do in life involves a little bit of risk.

      Just do a partial backup of your own personal stuff, the stuff that can be gotten too at least, and not just on the SD card, but on your PC as well (since SD cards have been known to fail). And then look for the standard image that was originally used to flash your Nexus S by th

    • by drb226 (1938360)
      It's not really fair to be disappointed that a grassroots hacking community can beat out a beaurocracy-laden megacorp at releasing bleeding-edge software.
  • by Nick Fel (1320709) on Monday December 05, 2011 @04:28AM (#38263696)
    In my feed reader this read as "Google Employees are Receiving Ice Cream". No wonder everyone wants to work for them.
    • by vencs (1937504) on Monday December 05, 2011 @05:16AM (#38263836)
      In other words, the 1% get ICS while the 99% have to get a colorless, flammable, highly poisonous gas made by oxidizing hydrogen cyanide!
      This is not fair, occupy Google!!!

      --
      Three edits to get the sig right. Thats' how smart I am.
    • Well, um, I have to admit that we are indeed given ice cream too. Ben & Jerry's "Fairly Nuts" is my current favorite, though their Chocolate Fudge Brownie is a close second. Luckily the freezer is on the floor above mine so I always walk up the stairs to work off the calories in advance. That works, right??
      • by swillden (191260)

        Well, um, I have to admit that we are indeed given ice cream too. Ben & Jerry's "Fairly Nuts" is my current favorite, though their Chocolate Fudge Brownie is a close second. Luckily the freezer is on the floor above mine so I always walk up the stairs to work off the calories in advance. That works, right??

        Slacker.

        I have to walk across the street to the ice cream freezer. The beer keg is right next to my desk, though.

  • ... if Google employees received their ICS updates in form of a shiny new Galaxy Nexus.

  • by bug1 (96678)

    Two scoops ?

  • Early alpha ROM's are available for ZTE Blade as well. Possible slowest and cheapest Android phone what is still available on market.
    Here you can find the process from 4 days ago (1st December) http://android.modaco.com/topic/348898-ics-compiled-for-zte-blade/page__p__1850381#entry1850381 [modaco.com] and as you can see, few things ain't working (like camera). OpenGL acceleration has been sayd to work at later thread but I dont know does it work.

    What Modaco and CM teams are possible to do, why cant manufacturers really

    • by thsths (31372)

      Awesome. Cheap it may be, but where else do you get a 800x480 AMOLED display (first revision only, mine has it)? And name another phone that is as easy to unlock and root. For me it was the phone I had been waiting for. A half decent camera and ARMv7 would make it perfect, but unfortunately there is precious little perfection in the world.

      • by Fri13 (963421)

        I would make few changes to phone to be a "perfectly happy".
        - 1-1.2Ghz CPU
        - a (dual/)LED flash for camera
        - better speaker (and microphone for speaker function on calls)
        - A non-buggy touch screen (some screens are buggy that they convert the dual touchpoints to around http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhuMhBb4FOY [youtube.com])

        Of course the AMOLED as some models sold in UK had could be nice.

  • Pretty sure this isn't news.

    I hear they get all kinds of free food.

  • I mean, isn't that the whole point? It's a Google phone and supposed to get all the latest Android versions out there?

    I understand the Galaxy Nexus was the launch phone, but I'd expect the year-old Nexus S to also get it. And the two-year-old Nexus One at that, too. They're the phones Google codes for and thus have the best support for. Which is the main reason to get those phones over the million that Samsung/HTC/LG/etc release every year with iffy support...

    • by AmbushBug (71207)

      You should read the summary again... Nexus S is definitely getting ICS, that's what this article is about - its rolling out to google employees first. After they have dogfooded it for a while it will go out to everyone.

      Nexus One will probably not get it though. A bunch of manufacturers pledged to keep phones updated for 18 months after release. The Nexus One didn't make that cut off.

  • Menu button (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Daetrin (576516) on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:32PM (#38268014)
    I'm waiting for the update to add the menu button back to the bottom row (does that set of buttons have an official name?)

    I admit that i haven't actually had the chance to try ICS yet, but since hearing that the menu button was going to be removed i've been keeping track of how often i use it, and it's a lot. I'm not looking forward to figuring out where each app keeps its own menu button when they get updated to the "proper" method for ICS. And from the reviews i've read some people have indeed had issues with that. And certainly the lack of a menu button has been rather aggravating on my Nook Tablet.

    I can't even figure out why it got removed. They obviously had enough room for four buttons. I guess i can understand wanting to make the task switch function it's own button rather than holding down on the home button, if you assume that most users are uninformed at least. But they didn't need to ditch two buttons, and of the two that they got rid of i use Menu a lot more than Search.
    • by AmbushBug (71207)

      The button layout is the same as for Honeycomb. Honeycomb apps put their menu button in the top right corner (I believe this is called the application bar). I believe this is carried over to ICS. For legacy apps, a menu button shows up in the usual place. So you shouldn't need to worry...

    • by arkhan_jg (618674)

      The removal of the menu button only applies to the virtual buttons on the galaxy nexus, and honeycomb tablets that were already missing it. If you have physical buttons on your phone (including capacitive 'soft' pre-printed buttons) they're not going anywhere in ICS. The galaxy S has menu, home and back buttons that work just fine in ICS (and no virtual buttons like the galaxy nexus), and seeing that the nexus S has soft buttons, they're staying too (just confirmed that here [zdnet.com]). So until you upgra

      • by arkhan_jg (618674)

        Oops. copy-n-paste screwed up the link - the article showing the Nexus S uses the existing buttons in ICS is here [zdnet.com].

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