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Up to this point, each major version of Android – save for Cupcake and Donut – has had a flagship device to show off the new software. Google introduced the world to Android with the G1 (HTC Dream) back in October of 2008 with Android 1.0. Then the jump to 2.0 (or Eclair) was shown off with the outstandingly popular Motorola Droid. Although neither of these devices were actually Nexus phones, they were flagships that shipped with stock Android and were the result of a lot of collaboration between the manufacturers and Google.

Technically there was no official “Froyo device” either, but I guess you could consider the HTC-made Nexus One a strong carrier of the update. Froyo released just months after the Nexus One, which was the first phone to receive the update. The following Gingerbread device was manufactured by Samsung and dubbed the Nexus S.

With the introduction of tablets, Google felt the need to momentarily split things up. Sure, they could install Gingerbread on them, but Android tablets would be pointless if they worked exactly like phones. Google created a new and tablet-optimized interface for Honeycomb, or Android 3.0. This was introduced with the Motorola XOOM just months ago.

The next delicious treat in Google's software lineup is Ice Cream Sandwich, which will allegedly hit before the end of this year. Ice Cream Sandwich will be the fusion point for Honeycomb and Gingerbread, debuting on the next Nexus phone … and maybe even a tablet, too.

Rumored to be buttonless and sporting everything from a 720p HD display to a next-gen 1.2 or 1.5GHz dual-core processor, the phone will be a beast and quite a jump from the current Nexus. Right now it is has been rumored that Motorola, Samsung, HTC or even LG will be the creator of the upcoming Google phone, under the "Nexus Prime" moniker. We obviously know they all can't make a Nexus phone for Ice Cream Sandwich; Google will have to select one lucky company to do the honors.

Right now, it looks like Samsung has the best chances of getting the spot, but without solid sources for the rumors, I have my doubts. Regardless of who actually makes the cut though, wouldn't it be awesome to see all of the rumored manufacturers make a flagship Android phone for the next version of software, untainted by the clutches of battery and performance sucking custom interfaces?

If you agree, we may just be in luck. Boy Genius Reports' sources are indicating that Google may be working with "multiple carriers and multiple OEMs on their own 'exclusive' Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) halo devices, and that they may all launch around the same time."

Although they likely wouldn't carry the “Nexus” title, they would still essentially be just that. Running completely stock software, it would be the perfect opportunity to see how each OEM's hardware and chosen components stack up against the competitions'. Not only that, it would also give people on all major carriers a chance at a "Google Android experience" phone, instead of only select carriers getting in on the purely stock Android fun. If this does actually pan out, everyone wins.

Being the most drool-worthy rumor in the Android camp in several months, I am extremely skeptical about this. Sure, it sounds great and everything, but it almost sounds too good to be true. I guess we'll have to just wait and see how it pans out. In the meantime, I guess we can continue daydreaming about Ice Cream Sandwich and what it may entail.

Also, I'm curious. If this does happen, which manufacturer would you go with for your Ice Cream Sandwich device and why? Sound of in the comments below!

Image via Engadget


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