SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Google has started to prepare developers for its upcoming Android Ice Cream Sandwich release.

Google is expected to put out its fourth major version of Android soon, most likely with another Nexus smartphone. Google has said that Ice Cream Sandwich is meant to be loaded on both smartphones and tablets meaning Android developers will have to make sure their apps work on both large and small screens.

Google has allowed developers to check, in coarse grain form, screen sizes and determine whether apps can be installed on an Ice Cream Sandwich device. However it recommends that developers support all types of screens, in a bid to curb the growth of a two tier app store.

The problem for developers is that Google hasn’t yet released a software development kit (SDK) for Ice Cream Sandwich. So while the company provides advice to developers to use fragmented layouts in order to easily adapt to different screen sizes, it advises developers to hold off publishing changes until an emulator or an Ice Cream Sandwich device is available.

For Android users perhaps the most interesting aspect is that when Google does release Ice Cream Sandwich, it means that in theory, smartphones that run Android 2.4 will be able to run Android 3.0 applications.

Google didn’t mention when it will be releasing an Ice Cream Sandwich SDK, which will be a good pointer as to when devices running the operating system will tip up. But given that it proudly said, “Ice Cream Sandwich is coming, and with it, handsets will be able to install apps built on Honeycomb. We haven’t released the ICS SDK just yet, but you can start preparing your Honeycomb apps by thinking about how they should work on smaller screens,” it can’t be long now.