Leaked images offer Ice-Cream Sandwich glimpse

A series of images purporting to show Google's next-generation Ice-Cream Sandwich release of the Android mobile platform running on a Nexus S smartphone have been leaked, suggesting a launch is imminent.

Multiple images have been released and, while they reveal some key details about the upcoming operating system, they also come with a few disappointments attached too.

Ice-Cream Sandwich, the codename given to Android 2.4, was supposedly going to represent a healing of the rift between the smartphone version of Android, Gingerbread, and the tablet-centric version, Honeycomb. As a result, users expected to see a 3D 'holographic' interface, RenderScript support, and other Honeycomb-specific niceties making their way down to the smartphone level.

The images, sadly, don't appear to show that being the case. While the user interface seen in images leaked to Android Police show a revamped notification bar and a refreshed UI, it's hardly the shrunken Honeycomb for which many were hoping.

A second set of images leaked to RootzWiki shows a redesign for the launcher and and app drawer and, while some comparisons to Honeycomb could be made - especially in the blue colour scheme Google appears to have chosen for Ice-Cream Sandwich - it's still more evolutionary than revolutionary.

Google is remaining tight-lipped on the precise details of Ice-Cream Sandwich, and the leaked images are heavily censored to protect the source. It has been suggested, however, that the new software will be released first on a next-generation smartphone dubbed the Nexus Prime, before being released as a free upgrade for Nexus S users.