We, as technology junkies, have an underlying need to have the latest and greatest hardware and software products available at the time of purchase. Normally, newer is better and improvements in technology are what keep us all coming back for more and more new toys. However, sometimes we need to understand that not all software improvements reflect well with the hardware we are using. No one will doubt that all of those Windows XP users hung onto their systems beyond their expected service life, basically, for one reason. The newest of the new operating systems, Vista and Windows 7, were unsupported since XP boxes couldn’t handle the load requirements — like slow CPUs and tiny amounts of RAM.
I believe that the one major flaw in the Android operating system is that, because it is open source, any cellphone manufacturer that uses it can modify the operating system to their liking. This is where the problem starts for us users. One only needs to look at the Amazon Kindle Fire to see how Amazon modified Google’s Android to make it its own. When I say that Amazon made the OS its own, what I mean is that Amazon modified the look of the OS so that it no longer resembled the original Android. In addition, Amazon added features to Android that directed us to its website to make purchases of music, videos, applications, and other goodies and also attempted to prohibit the user from installing Google-supported applications from the Google Play website.
Amazon is not the only company that has revamped Google’s Android OS to meet its own needs. On my Samsung Android smartphone with Gingerbread preinstalled on the system, my phone carrier T-Mobile has added its own variations of mail, mobile, tethering to a laptop, and other features specific to T-Mobile. T-Mobile and Samsung have also made sure that these unwanted and unneeded applications cannot be uninstalled. In my personal opinion, these applications offer little value and are more of an annoyance then a help. Unfortunately, unless we root our phone and install a clean copy of any flavor of Google’s Android, we are all stuck with junk and gunk we don’t want nor need.
In some recent articles on the Internet, it has been stated that only 7% of Android users are enjoying the benefits of Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich. The most popular Android system remains to be Gingerbread with an audience of some 65% of users. The majority of Android applications also still support Gingerbread or above as do the majority of smartphones that are still being sold. Only the newest of the new smartphones come with Ice Cream Sandwich preinstalled or the few companies that have opted to allow older phones to be upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich.
So how can you get Ice Cream Sandwich?
- You can be one of the lucky few who have a model of Android phone that received the upgrade.
- Buy a new smartphone.
- Root your phone and manually install Ice Cream Sandwich yourself.
What will I be missing if I don’t get Ice Cream Sandwich?
Ice Cream Sandwich offers a smoother experience for most users. Those of us who use Gingerbread may have noticed some jerkiness when using the older operating system. Ice Cream Sandwich is an improvement for both hardware and software, but is not an overwhelming difference like going from XP to Windows 7 was. In addition, some cellphone manufacturers have opted to even change the Ice Cream Sandwich theme (think Samsung) and, in my opinion, have ruined the overall Ice Cream Sandwich experience.
Are all updates to Ice Cream Sandwich the same?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Some companies, like Samsung, have chosen to revamp Ice Cream Sandwich to something that doesn’t resemble the real Ice Cream Sandwich. Below are two screen shots: One shows the Google edition of Ice Cream Sandwich (left), and one is called Touchwiz (right) from Samsung:
You will notice that the two versions have no resemblance to each other.
You can use the Ice Cream Sandwich theme on your Android phone.
I have installed the Android Ice Sandwich theme from Kovdev and have transformed my Gingerbread operating system into an Ice Cream Sandwich look-alike. This theme works very well and gives me the new, slicker interface that Ice Cream Sandwich has to offer. You can get this theme on Google Play linked below.
Another Ice Cream Sandwich theme from Holo (which I haven’t tried) is also available from Google Play linked below. The Holo Launcher offers the Ice Cream Sandwich theme for Android systems from version 2.2 and above.
Do you really need Ice Cream Sandwich?
My personal opinion is that you don’t need Ice Cream Sandwich, and most likely your carrier or smartphone company is not going to offer it to you unless you have a fairly new phone. With that being said, those of us who are using older versions of Android can take advantage of the two themes above and get the Ice Cream Sandwich feel and workings of the newer Android OS. Also, it is disappointing that some companies have tampered with the Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS and have made changes to the interface that I believe are unattractive.
Just my thoughts. What do you think?
Source: Google Play — Holo Launcher
CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by abulhussain