Ice Cream Sandwich is here!

I don’t know if you were as excited as me about the release of Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). The significance of this release is to merge the Tablet OS (Honeycomb) and the Phone OS (Gingerbread, is the latest), so now we have one operating system that works for both phones and tablets.

I know you are saying “Didn’t tablets already use earlier versions of Android prior to Honeycomb?”, well that is true, but that was hardly a real tablet operating system. In the words of Matias Duarte, the Director of Android Operating System User Experience, “Honeycomb was like: we need to get tablet support out there. We need to build not just the product, but even more than the product, the building blocks so that people stop doing silly things like taking a phone UI and stretching it out to a 10-inch tablet.”

Excited to get your hands sticky with some Ice Cream Sandwich goodness? Unfortunately unless you have a Galaxy Nexus and you fast forward to November, you will have some waiting to do. We do however have the next best thing. Since the API and SDKs are already available, why not fire up eclipse and create a new Virtual Ice Cream Sandwich?

Not sure what to do? See below for step by step instructions.

Step 1 : Launch the Android SDK Manager. To do this on Windows go to Start > Android SDK Tools > SDK Manager. (Note: I had to right click and run as Admin to ensure it had read / write access on my pc). For you Mac and Linux users, sorry I have no idea how to launch the SDK Manager on those platforms, but I assume it should be just as easy.


Step 2 : An Android SDK Manager Log window should now pop up and begin loading the necessary packages. Once this is completed close that window and select the checkboxes next to the Android 4.0 (API) folder. Rev 14 of the Android SDK tools are also required so select that folder as well and click on the Install (x) Packages.. button on the bottom right of the screen. x will vary depending on how recently you upgraded your SDK tools.

Step 3 : Accept and verify the Package and License Descriptions and if you agree accept them and continue with the installation. The SDK Manager will begin downloading the necessary files, in my experience this step always takes a while.

Step 4 : Launch Eclipse. This step may or may not give you errors depending on your ADT version. If the error pops up notifying you that ADT needs to be upgraded go to Help > Check for Updates. Install Updates and restart Eclipse.

Step 5 : After restarting eclipse go to Window > AVD Manager > New. Fill in the information, but ensure for Target you specify Android 4.0 – API Level 14. Create AVD

Step 6 : While still within the Android Virtual Device Manager (or Window > AVD Manager if you accidentally closed the window) select your newly created device Click Start and Launch.

There it is, your virtual Ice Cream Sandwich.. enjoy.

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