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Ice Cream Sandwich will play nice with hardware buttons

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Despite the move to software buttons in Ice Cream Sandwich, the new Android OS will support hardware buttons on legacy devices.

Ice Cream Sandwich statue
Ice Cream Sandwich statue

Of all the changes coming to Android 4.0, the one with the most immediate ramifications for device design is the move to software buttons on the homescreen. We've assumed Google would tweak this detail to avoid a double-buttoned franken-UI for upgrading users, and now we have confirmation: Ice Cream Sandwich will go hardware button-only for current devices. As Google told Gizmodo, the operating system simply won't place the new trio of software buttons in these cases, with the hardware versions operating as they always have. What users won't get is ICS's new recent apps button, but that's a minor tradeoff for so many new features and design tweaks. It's already been confirmed that the Samsung Nexus S will be getting the update, as well as Motorola's Droid Bionic and its new RAZR, and we expect more ICS upgrade announcements in the months to come.