Android 4.0 'Ice-Cream Sandwich' due next week

The delayed launch of Google's Android 4.0 'Ice-Cream Sandwich' and its matching Nexus Prime hero-phone could be happening sooner than expected, with the big G asking press to attend an event in Hong Kong early next week.

Android 4.0 'Ice-Cream Sandwich' is an extremely important release, designed as it is to reunite the fragmented 'Honeycomb' tablet-centric and 'Gingerbread' smartphone-oriented Android builds.

The hacks required to customise Android for large-format devices in the 3.0 'Honeycomb' release are, Google has previously claimed, the reason why the source code for the supposedly 'open source' operating system have not yet been made available.

With 'Ice-Cream Sandwich' expected to combine the two releases into a single version which can scale from a small handset up to the biggest tablet, it's hoped that the code will pass Google's muster and enjoy the full and open release its predecessor has been denied.

The rumoured impending launch of the platform - along with its matching Google-branded 'hero' handset, the Samsung-manufacturered Nexus Prime or Nexus Galaxy depending on which rumours you listen to - was delayed following the death of Steve Jobs, with reports at the time suggesting a new launch date of the 27th of October in London.

Both the venue and the date have changed since then, however, with Google's invitation to press suggesting that a 19th of October event in Hong Kong will see the operating system, at least, launched.

It's something Google desperately needs to do: with Apple's iPhone 4S prompting massive pre-orders and gigantic queues at shoping centres around the world, the Nexus S is looking a little olde-worlde. If the company wants to continue to enjoy the massive growth that has seen Android activations hit 190 million throughout the world, it needs to get ICS and the Nexus Prime out of the door - and fast.