What does Ice Cream Sandwich release mean for phone updates?

Google is scooping out the source code for Android Ice Cream Sandwich, so manufacturers can start working on updating their mobiles.

Google has released the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich source code, meaning manufacturers can start filling their smart phone cones with ice-cold creamy updates, and bold hacker-types can start beavering away on squeezing the newest version of Android on to their device.

Now that the software update is in the wild, companies who make Android phones can set about tinkering with it, squeezing it on to their own custom Android skins before releasing it to the smart phones they make.

That's the idea anyway -- in the past manufacturers have been known to take ages releasing updates, and sometimes leaving phones with no updates at all, leaving Android fans fuming.

Meanwhile, those adept at crafting custom ROMs and rooting phones can now get to work messing about and modding Ice Cream Sandwich, which brings features like unlocking your phone using your face and a Honeycomb-inspired multi-tasking tool.

The version made available is the same one that will be running on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the first mobile to launch running Ice Cream Sandwich.

The Galaxy Nexus is expected to arrive this Thursday, with Samsung recently denying that the 4.65-inch smart phone had been delayed until December.

Ice Cream Sandwich is designed to run on both phones and tablets, meaning it should be easier for developers to create cool apps for your device, whatever its size.

On the tablet side of things, we know Asus will be bringing a follow-up to its surprisingly brilliant Eee Pad Transformer tablet, dubbed the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, which should touch down in the UK in January already running the latest version of Android.

Are you excited about Ice Cream Sandwich? Or are you concerned your phone might never get it? Tell us down in the comments, on our Facebook wall or over on our Google+ page.