Android OS 4.0 May Go Down To Just One Hardware Button

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A tipster who got a preview of the first smartphone running Android OS 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) claims that this device will have only one button, rather than the four that are standard now.

This report comes from an attendee at Verizon’s Developers Conference. This person claims that a Samsung rep let him see a prototype of the upcoming Samsung Nexus Prime, the upcoming smartphone where the next version of Google’s operating system is going to debut.

According to this source, the Back, Search, and Menu buttons that have always been standard on Android-based smartphones are not part of this device. Instead, there is only a Home button.

Google Android OS Ice Creme SandwichGoogle has said that next version of this OS is going to be a combination of two previous ones. Android OS 2.x, which was created for smartphones, has four standard buttons. Android OS 3.x was developed to run on tablets and it was designed to need no physical buttons — these have been replaced with on-screen ones. It makes a certain amount of sense that the combination of these two would be a compromise with just a single button.

But there’s a potential problem. This arrangement will sound familiar to many because it’s the one Apple uses on its iPhone and iPad. Using a configuration so similar will surely open Google up to accusations that it’s copying Apple, and Apple has proven itself to be more than willing to sue its rivals whenever there’s the slightest justification.

More about the Samsung Nexus Prime
The source gave a few additional details about the Nexus Prime. This model will supposedly be released by all of thew Big Four U.S. carriers, though Verizon may re-name it the Samsung Droid Prime.

It will reportedly have a dual-core processor from Texas Instruments, though the speed is currently unknown. Other features will include an 8MP rear-facing camera, 2MP front-facing one, HDMI video-out port, and NFC. The overall design is similar to the Samsung Nexus S.

The Samsung Droid Prime/Nexus Prime will allegedly launch from Verizon in late October or early November. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile will begin offering their own versions shortly afterward.

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