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Ice Cream Sandwich update could be on your phone in 'weeks'

The Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update could be on your phone in just a few weeks, manufacturers and networks permitting.

Ice Cream Sandwich could be on your Android phone in just a few weeks. Google's next generation of Android software was unveiled today on the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone, and the update could be sent out to existing phones in as little as two weeks after the Galaxy Nexus lands in shops.

Googleboss Andy Rubin revealed the Android 4.0 update, known as Ice Cream Sandwich, could be available in a matter of weeks after the Galaxy Nexus arrives, some time in November, This Is My Next reports.

Another Google luminary stated that Ice Cream Sandwich should work on any older device that runs Gingerbread, the current version of Android for smart phones.

But don't get your hopes up that you'll be using face unlock, Android Beam and the People app come Christmas: Android is notoriously slow to update. The problem is that most phone manufacturers and networks tinker with Android, adding their own interface on top.

That means owners of an HTC phone or a Samsung phone get extra features from the HTC Sense or Samsung TouchWiz front end, but it does mean updates are delayed because manufacturers have to ensure their own front end will continue to work with the new version of Android. And if you've bought your phone via a network, they often add their own stuff too before they push the update to you over the air.

Much to the annoyance of impatient Android fans, this means certain phones can end up waiting longer for updates than others.

One phone you'd hope would get a lick of Ice Cream Sandwich sooner rather than later is the Motorola Razr, as Google has just bought Motorola. That the Razr won't be updated until next year perhaps points to a more realistic timeframe for the update's arrival on existing phones.   

Ice Cream Sandwich will work on both phones and tablets, and Google is keen to emphasise there's no need to distinguish between tablet apps and phone apps. Instead, all apps should in theory work equally well on whatever device they're installed, whether it's a phone or a tablet.

Google promises improvements to the Android Market too, especially in searching and discovering apps.

Have you been made to wait for updates to your phone? Which new features are you most looking forward to using? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.