At its I/O developer conference, the search giant announced the next iteration of its Android operating system, codenamed "Ice Cream Sandwich," which should hit the market by the end of the year. Google also announced its long-awaited cloud-based music storage system, which will compete with Amazon.
Ice Cream Sandwich will be a single OS, designed for both tablets and mobile phones. Right now, the company has different versions for each – and Honeycomb, built for tablets, has been underperforming. By creating a single operating system that runs everywhere, it will bring Android into a more competitive position against Apple – and will create some interesting synergy opportunities between those devices.
The cloud service, which lacks a fun code name, is Google's answer to Amazon.com's recently unveiled Cloud Drive, which offers 5 GB of storage to all users. Google didn't unveil how much storage space it plans to offer users, but vowed the service would be free – at least initially.
Users are able to upload their own music to the Web-based service, then access it via any computer or Android device. In an attempt to head off any criticism from the music industry, which has been quite vocal in its opposition to Amazon's service, Google sas it will delete user MP3s if the copyright holder has a "legitimate claim" against their music being on the server.
Unlike Amazon, Google has no immediate plans to add a retail component to its music storage system.