Where in the world is Ice Cream Sandwich? (aka Hurry Up and Wait)

ICS was supposed to be the Android for the mainstream. For those that would otherwise run to a white iPhone 4S (with pink, jewel encrusted sleeve). But, then something happened: nothing.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review
Ice Cream Sandwich on Galaxy Nexus. The rest of us are locked out.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review
Ice Cream Sandwich on Galaxy Nexus. The rest of us are locked out.

It’s not on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Not on my S II. It’s certainly not on my trusty OG Droid (achingly due for an upgrade… HTC One X?). And Ice Cream Sandwich is not on just about any other Android tablet or smartphone you can find at any store – Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T… you name it.

So, where in the world is ICS?

I’ve written before about how slowwwwwly Google is rolling out its new OS. It reminds me of the time I ran N.A. Marketing out of Silicon Valley for a Japanese company. Reporting in to Tokyo often meant, “Hurry up, and wait.”

When you make a splash – as the Galaxy Nexus did late last year – you have a chance to grab the tech spotlight, no easy task, even if you’re Google. ICS was supposed to be the Android for the mainstream. For those that would otherwise run to a white iPhone 4S (with pink, jewel encrusted sleeve). But, then something happened: nothing.

Now we’re already hearing about “Jelly Bean,” and even “Key Lime Pie” the next desserts in the Android OS naming convention line-up.

This, in a word, is ridiculous.

What Google should’ve done is ensured vendors were ready to go, and able to roll out devices (or upgrade existing ones) with ICS. It’s hard to create market momentum and interest in something new when only about 1% of the market has got their hands on the new thing. Sure, vendors need to test. There’s that dreaded fragmentation – what, Google worry?! – and no doubt things like HTC sense and other skins add complexity and delays to ensuring a new OS works properly. But these are issues that can readily be overcome with foresight and planning. What could’ve been a massive groundswell in early 2012 is fizzling out into a non-event.

Then, Google booted Android Market, and introduced the world to… “Play.”

Mistake!

Huge mistake!

I see that “Play Store” icon on my S II and get noxious. It absolutely doesn’t feel or look right.

Which has more brand cache: “Android” or “Play” ?

Now we “Play with Books” … that’s what it’s come to. That’s too bad. Android is a great brand name. If anything, Google should embrace it through and through. I like that Android is the anti-Apple of sorts. As I’ve said before, if Apple is sticky-sweet, fluffy cotton candy, then Android is savory, robust porterhouse. Give us who like customization, large displays, widgets, and great Google apps integration what we want… and that includes a name that differentiates.

These two latest hiccups – the Snuffleupagus that is Ice Cream Sandwich, and the Disney-like “Play Store” — are head scratchers. They’re not going to tank Android’s prospects any time soon, but, man, Google needs to get it’s execution in order. And it all starts with sticking with your core, with what got you here: Android. And Android on lots of devices. Meanwhile I’ll just “Play” the blues.

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