Aug 02 AT 9:29 PM Taylor Wimberly 86 Comments

TI’s OMAP4 pretty much confirmed as lead platform for Ice Cream Sandwich

Texas Instruments

Which hardware will be the first to support Google’s next version of Android, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich? Ever since Google IO, plenty of rumors and speculation have suggested that Texas Instruments’ OMAP4 might be the lead platform, but little evidence has surfaced to support this theory. After spending the last couple of weeks trying to dig up more info, it finally looks like we can confirm OMAP4 is the reference platform for Ice Cream Sandwich.

Why being the lead platform matters

Google’s Andy Rubin has previously explained how his team develops the future versions of Android. In an interview last year Andy Rubin said,  “What we do is pick our partners, a semiconductor partner, an operator, and an OEM and then combine them all together. This is the device that engineers have on their desk when they come in the morning.”

Being the lead platform for a major Android release is important because it means the first devices to support it will be based on that hardware. For example, NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 platform was the lead platform for Android 3.0 and pretty much every Honeycomb tablet uses their processor.

If TI’s hardware is the lead platform for Ice Cream Sandwich, then you can bet that the first devices to support it (like the much-hyped Nexus 3) will sport an OMAP4 processor.

For technical information about OMAP4 check out TI’s platform overview.

All the evidence points to Texas Instrments

Rumors suggest that Google will use the latest Linux 3.0 kernel for Ice Cream Sandwich. If you go browsing around the Android Open Source Project site, you will find many recent commits in the omap.gitpath that reference the 3.0 kernel. The updates have been occurring daily and include contributions from employees of TI, Google, Imagination Technologies, and Broadcom.

This activity matches exactly what we witnessed when Google was doing the bring-up of Android 3.0 on the Tegra 2 platform.

Texas Instruments might have also spilled the beans with an e-mail the company’s PR representative is sending out today. CNET posted a promotional image that TI will use for events “in the fall” which includes their Android mascot holding hands with another Android character who looks like an Ice Cream Sandwich.

We reached out to a TI representative to see if they could provide further information and they responded, “The TI team cannot publicly confirm or deny any specific involvement with Ice Cream Sandwich.”

Can you say Nexus Three?

Recent rumors I posted have suggested that several devices were still being evaluated to become the next Nexus. We now know that the smartphone version of NVIDIA’s Kal-El has been pushed back to 2012 and our sources still tell us Qualcomm does not have access to Ice Cream Sandwich, so it looks like the OMAP4 platform is the only option if Google is still aiming for a Q4 release like they planned.

With OMAP4 at the center of the next Nexus, the rumored Samsung device is most likely what we can expect in stores this holiday season. However, LG is also rumored to have submitted a new prototype to Google that features an OMAP4 processor, so there’s a small chance we could see that device instead.

For those of you that were already planning on buying the “Nexus 3″, what are your thoughts on the OMAP4? Do you hope Google goes with Samsung or LG?


Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • tehsusenoh

    Seems fine to me. That 4460 looks nice, but I’m waiting to see how the 4470 goes!

    Also, relephant: YEE HAW.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Yes, the 1.8 GHz OMAP4470 looks pretty awesome but that is not coming till 1H 2012. I’m hoping that the 1.5 GHz OMAP4460 is the one that ships with the Nexus 3.

      • Sean the Electrofreak

        It’s interesting, OMAP processors have always been pretty close to a hardcopy of ARM’s design (meaning not a whole lot of tweakage like Samsung or even morso Qualcomm is known for), but it looks like TI really put a lot of development work into the 4000 series.

        Good to see them staying competitive.

        • TWiT Commander

          OMAP4? Seriously?

          AFAIK, all OMAP4 SoC use SGX540 GPU, which was used in the Galaxy S of last year. I wished they would pick a SoC with a beefier GPU like SGX543MP2+, the next Adreno (or the 220) or the next Tegra.

      • Soyo
        • Taylor Wimberly

          Nice find. I saw references to the 4430, but didn’t catch that 4460.


      Who cares?
      Im purchasing the new megaseller iPhone 5 any way, which will blow the android malware out of the water!!!

      • sylar

        May I ask why people do this? If I could physically interact with this person I’m pretty sure I would punch them out just for the irritation this brings me.

        • Shane

          Because Mommy & Daddy didn’t give them enough attention growing up, so now they feel the need to seek it anywhere, even when they know it will be negative attention. But hey, at least you and I noticed the attention whore, right? That’s all that really matters, though I seriously doubt that the iSheep could have articulated that.

      • Ernesto

        >>Who cares?
        Im purchasing the new megaseller iPhone 5 any way, which will blow the android malware out of the water!!!



        Who cares?
        Im purchasing the new megaseller iPhone 5 any way, which will blow the android malware out of the water!!!

  • teecruz

    I’m happy with both manufacturers. :)
    I divorced HTC & Motorola way back when .

    Bring on ICS, please? boy! Is this pre & post Holiday season gonna be a great one!(:

    • TWiT Commander

      What if NOKIA will make the Nexus 3? They are a large TI customer. May be they are the “big surprise” OEM?

  • Sean the Electrofreak

    I’ve been sayin’ it for a while now, it’s gotta be OMAP or Tegra because Snapdragon and Qualcomm has already been done. And since you’re right, Tegra took a front seat for the Honeycomb tablet release, OMAP stands to reason as the most likely contender.

    • Sean the Electrofreak

      *Snapdragon and Hummingbird. Moar edit buttonz plz!

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Hey TI was first with Android 2.0. The Motorola Droid featured the OMAP3. That was short lived because Google went right to Android 2.1 on the Nexus One that had a Qualcomm Snapdragon.

      • Sean the Electrofreak

        True. And the Droid was a “Google Experience” phone, if not a Google Phone (Nexus) itself.

    • AME

      You say that as if Google owes it to each of the big chip companies to use their chip in a lead device. You can’t do process of elimination by saying that this chip has already been in a Nexus phone so now it’s this other company’s turn.

      • Androidfan

        Just what I was thinking.
        Samsung please. I don’t like lg.

  • Dustin Earley

    I’m thinking Samsung. If they go with a 720p Super AMOLED display… I would eat it up in a heartbeat.

    • Sean the Electrofreak

      Samsung won’t use an OMAP, so that won’t happen, unfortunately. Samsung would use the Exynos processor they developed, or possibly a Tegra SoC, though I think they’re past the point of using Tegra just to keep them in the dual-core race.

      • Dustin Earley

        Haven’t they used Nvidia and Qualcomm processors so far? What’s another one?

        • Sean the Electrofreak

          No Qualcomm processors. They used NVIDIA (Tegra, as I mentioned) but only to stay in the dual-core race until they finished developing Exynos.

      • TWiT Commander

        reality check: Samsung uses Qualcomm chips in the WP7 devices (mostly due to directions from MSFT).

      • Mapex

        Samsung has used TI multiple times in the past. Also, on this very site, the leaked lottery devices for Nexus 3 included a Samsung with the 4460 processor.

        It will be a Samsung. It will be a 4.6″ SuperAMOLED HD @ 720p. It will be a TI OMAP4460. It probably will also be VZW/AT&T LTE friendly.

      • Eduardo

        Hi Sean in August, this is Ed from November. Just dropping in from the future to tell you that Samsung went for OMAP after all. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is coming soon and will be using the OMAP4460.

  • Anthony Tarallo

    I like Samsung for the N3. You just cant beat there displays! Sammy and OMAP… thats sexy.


    After there reluctance for so long to admit the g2x had severe issues and there delay in correcting them. Even though they would not be in charge of updates of the n3, there lack of quality control left me with a sour taste. I would have to say I would prefer Samsung. Since Google will handle updates, Samsung rep for slow updates doesn’t bother me.

    • curtisas

      My thoughts exactly… I would have loved to see a KRAIT processor on it though… the 28nm construction would be AWESOME.

    • aj

      Yeah i too would prefer samsung especially if they keep pumping phones out like the SGS II or better. Lg has not been very popular or the best. I mean they they dont have much to show for. Like you mentioned the G2x which was ok. But the Lg revolution was also kinda of a flop.

    • thaghost

      i agree with you. i will not buy another lg phone. no way jose. i wanted htc not samsung. but i would certainly go with sammy over lg. if lg gets to make the nexus 3 my heart would be broken :(

    • Copolii

      Your spelling bothers me. there != their.
      Back to school for you.

      • mkrmec

        Seriously? You don’t have anything else to do than bother people? Ever thought, NOT every ones first language is English? Guess not…

  • codesplice

    I hate to say it, but none of the major android manufactures really give me a good warm-fuzzy feeling anymore. I had been a diehard HTC fan, but have been turned off by some of their recent moves. That said, I really am looking forward to the next Nexus device. I think an OMAP-powered Samsung Nexus 3 could be pretty spectacular.

    • iDavey

      When it comes to Nexus, I never really care who the OEM is. Google chooses the design for the phone and how it is worked. So they can choose Huawei all I care, Google will make it shine like a star, lol.

      • codesplice

        Eh, that’s a nice theory…. I’m more than pleased with my HTC Nexus One. A buddy of mine got a Samsung Nexus S…. and (within weeks) went back to using the HTC Nexus One. I tried playing with the Nexus S as well… it just didn’t feel as solid as the HTC device.

        Unfortunately, HTC has being losing favor in my eyes quite quickly as of late. And Samsung’s actually been gaining it. So I’m actually pretty optimistic about a Samsung Nexus 3 device.

        Though really, you are right. The OEM doesn’t really matter that much to me at this point. They’re all evil to some extent. Regardless, I’m itching for a new phone. I hope to make it the next Nexus.

        • inviolable

          You keep referring to your recent disdain for HTC. Can you explain why?

          • codesplice

            I don’t suppose it’s really that big of a deal, but I’m a bit disappointed with how they’ve handled releasing GPL’d kernel source code as of late. My understanding of the GPL is that the source should be released alongside the compiled code. It routinely takes HTC another 3-4 months to release the source, and even then it’s rarely complete.

            It’s good that they’re finally moving to allow unlocking bootloaders… though it really seems like the process is unnecessarily complicated. Why can’t unlocking the bootloader of an “unlockable” Android device be as simple as unlocking the bootloader on the Nexus One? Just a simple “fastboot oem unlock” would be perfect – easy for enthusiasts to get at, but not something that the average user will accidentally stumble across. No need for a web-based utility and all that mess.

  • sylar

    Man I can hardly wait to see what they finally decide and come out with.

  • Jorge89

    As long as the gpu is top of the line I’m sold.

    • iDavey

      And it should be a PowerVR SGX GPU. So I’m already sold.
      That would’ve been the only downside of Qualcomm, but if we would’ve got the 28nm process…I could live with Adreno in exchange for the better battery draw.

  • Kevin

    Samsung for slim. LG for cranky.

  • aj

    i think alot of us tech spec geeks were hoping for quad core but i will be satisfied with dual core(for now till my insatiable urge for MOAR!!! specs and envy of future phones consumes my entire being).

    • inviolable

      I personally feel nvidia is making love to their own ideals with their socs. There is a point (or a line) where proficiency and necessity have to take over instead of just pumping out product to start ahead of the competition.

  • Atrium

    Makes sense. The OMAP will feature a PowerVR SGX 540 GPU. Same as the NS but upclocked. This will make HW acceleration in Ice Cream between the NS and N3 a much easier job.

  • Alan

    I’d love to see a samsung display and camera, but please oh please not a samsung plastic build :(
    On the positive side, I’m digging the sound of an OMAP processor, I loved my milestone, and the BB playbook is definitely a fun (if not very useful) toy.

  • hi

    I think the next nexus will be a nexus s II. Similar to galaxy s II but stock android like the nexus s wad to the galaxy s. I’m happy with my sgs2 with cm7 though.

  • Scotter

    I guess I may need to get over my anger toward Samsung for crap GPS in certain phones, slow updates, Kies, iPhone copying, and the Nexus S being stillborn. I do love their screens and sexy thin waistlines!

    Sad it won’t be HTC. My Nexus One, aside from low space for apps and screen that hates sunlight more than a vampire, is otherwise a bad-ass machine that (with stock 2.3.4 and LauncherPro) does everything pretty much instantaneously. And if you ever held a Nexus One in your hands, you know what I mean about elegance and build quality.

    • inviolable

      I agree about build quality, especially compared to the Nexus S, but it definitely does not do operations instantaneously when compared to up to date phones. Nowhere near it.

      • Brad

        I own a nexus s on sprint and have friends with dual core phones. It is just as fast if not faster.

  • AME

    I think ICS is such a huge leap forward that Google won’t take any chances with a device that may be anywhere near not perfect. It’s not just a phone with ICS– this device has to interact seamlessly with tablets, GoogleTV, other phones via NFC, [email protected], etc. If this phone isn’t spot on, the Google Experience gets taken down a notch. They set the bar pretty high with the stuff they showed off at I/O.

    In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think it matters which OEM makes it; Google will not settle for anything less than perfection.

    [I suppose that last bit could have been said before the launch of previous Nexus devices too, but it just seems to me that ICS is bigger than previous Android releases.]

  • Jon

    Given these two points, seems to me LG is the most likely candidate:

    * Rumours have mentioned the codename “Prime” for the next Nexus
    * LG’s Android range mostly fall into the “Optimus” naming scheme

    Isn’t that a pretty big hint? :)

    • uknowme

      So by your reasoning I would guess that the next iPhone will be called Megatron.

      • inviolable

        Or Crap, if you go by Michael Bay’s interpretation.

    • Transmorph and fold out!

      Your post wins so much it nearly brought me to ears.

    • Transmorph and fold out!

      Crap lol, my previous comment was meant for Jon .. the Optimus Prime post was win…

  • scott

    To be blatantly honest, I don’t care what processor is in the nexus 3, all I know is I’m buying it no matter what LOL it’ll be my first nexus device, and what a way to start ;)

  • Thomas

    Im really thinking that this might come to verizon since they are using the OMAP processor…because didnt they swap out the Tegra processor in Droid Bionic for OMAP because the Tegras have problems with LTE

  • marwan

    I rather Samsung

  • T1392

    You Think the nexus 3 would be made by Motorola since they usually are the ones to use TI OMAP processors and also once said they will/would like to make a nexus device(can’t remember which one was said exactly) but things change and as time went by they invested too much time in the DROID brand. I would like to see them combined the nexus & Droid brand to make Nexus 3. Whether it be DROID Nexus by Motorola with Google Or the Nexus DROID by Motorola with Google. Just think awesome soild built hardware(maybe not the screen) let Google choose the specs and even better they’ll be taking care of the ota updates. Would love to see 1.3-1.5 OMAP4, 4-4.5″ screen, 2mp FFC, 8mp cam with 1080p HD recording gyroscope barometer just to have all the goodies haha

  • Moids

    Why would Samsung manufacture it if OMAP will be the platform? Since when has Samsung used OMAP?

    I wonder if Samsung would even supply a panel like a “Super AMOLED Plus HD” (how do we even know this exists?) for a phone that won’t be based on an SoC they would normally use for their own phones (i.e. OMAP). I ask because the SGS2 has the SAMOLED+ but NO other non-Samsung phone (which I am also extending to mean phones not branded by Samsung) uses the SAMOLED+. This leads me to think that Samsung wants to keep some marquee features for its own line. If that’s true, I’m not sure if they would even give up an ace card for a Nexus 3, i.e. a non-Samsung branded phone.

    Before anyone argues semantics with me, the Nexus 3 may have Samsung written on it, but it was a design put together by Google, not Samsung. That’s what I mean.

    OMAP to me means Motorola. I don’t even think the screen resolution will change to be honest. I think it’ll stay at 800×480, and there’s the least amount of evidence (from what I’ve read) to support any speculation about an increase in resolution. That has to be the least solid rumored spec.

    Not sure why you guys think it’ll be Samsung, unless I’m mistaken and Samsung would be willing to work with OMAP, just to showcase some upcoming Samsung tech (e.g. SAMOLED+ HD, etc.).

    • iDavey

      But Samsung has used other SoC’s plenty of times.
      And not to mention, this is Google’s phone. Not Samsung. So all Samsung is providing is the case, it’s up to Google to pick the semiconductor.

  • Richard Yarrell

    Oh well I say fiddle sticks on that…I want HTC for the Nexus 3 NOBODY ELSE WITH SUFFICE..Guess I’ll just wait for next iteration of the EVO BRAND..Qualcomm pumping 1.8 Ghz with a 4.7 or 5.0 inch screen for my evo in 2012…THE WAIT IS ON…….Meanwhile the evo 3d is who leads android today…

    • inviolable

      lol 4.7 or 5.0 inch. Ever heard of a tablet?

  • Bilal

    Pff, Why OMAP4, Why not quad core OMAP5. I thought i could use a quad core smartphone in 2012

    • Lucian Armasu

      That’s coming in Q4 2012, and it’s NOT a quad core. It has only 2 Cortex A15 CPU’s and a couple of other M4 CPU’s but that doesn’t make it a quad core chip, the same way Tegra 3 is a quad core chip. Those are pretty specialized chips.

  • Dragonithe

    I would love a HTC nexus 3, but I can settle for an Samsung. As long as they put a notification light and a sd card slot on the thing.
    And if they put a 4.5″ 720p samoled hd screen on it I may forgive some plastic.

  • Paul

    I like samsung’s displays, but I WANT a LED Notification light & it seems Samsung & google just dont care, HTC & Motorola do as they have always had one on there phones & Sony ericsson have on some of theres even if it is on the side of the phone!!

    Please google who ever makes the nexus 3 please INSIST on a LED Notification light even more important if there are going to be no buttons.

    I no there is a noled app, but it stops working to oftern.

    • Dragonithe

      Fully agree!
      And don’t forget the sd card slot.
      Who the hell thought it was a good idea to release the nexus so without it?
      Even on the xoom they fcked it up, it was there, but they didn’t bother with it until 3.2

      • iDavey

        I’ve kinda lost the urge to argue about the SD card.
        I’ve had my Nexus S since Dec, haven’t used even half of the 1GB storage for apps, not even a full 3GB of the “SD” portion. And this is with games like Zenonia, Illusia, Plants vs Zombies…

        Many things I used to keep on my phone are in the cloud now. I understand many people still want a SD card, but for the vast majority, it’s just not an issue. This is also proven with iPhone and their specific models.

        • inviolable

          I think that has more to do with not having a choice with the iphone.

        • Dragonithe

          You might be on the fence about an sd Card slot.
          But ive got a 32gb Card in my desire now, and it would be à shake if i cant use that anymore.

  • bryant

    What do you guys think, will this be ant+ compatible like a lot of the sony phones and the iPhone? I’ve always been and android guy (N1 now HD2) but I really want an ant+ compatible phone so I can use heart rate and cadence on my bike. I have cardiotrainer but I’ve heard bad things about the bluetooth Polar monitor.
    TI makes the chips for ant+ in the sonys right?

  • Steven

    Just some things I would like in the Nexus 3:
    if they go to Samsung they should spoil us with the new 720p screen
    and since I have never removed my SD card, I don’t care if they have a slot or not as long as we get a minimum of 32 gig
    LED Notification light
    up to a 4.5″ screen, for now, would actually like to hold a phone that has something bigger to see how it feels and transports in pockets
    no physical keyboard (my OG droid has one and I never use it)
    NFC capable
    more than enough RAM, tired of phones having barely enough
    2mp ff cam, 8mp rear with 1080p recording (with excellent low light capabilities)
    no 3d crap
    You may tear my request apart, I know a lot of you are better with this tech stuff than I.

    • Steven

      oh, and I forgot, needs to be on the Verizon network with the obvious being an LTE phone of course.

    • iDavey

      720p Screen would be awesome. But I’m starting to wonder if we’ll get that or if they’ll just give us the qHD. It would be a shame to drop to LCD after having two iterations with AMOLED screens. I don’t know how I would feel if they did that.

      I’m with you on the SD card. I explained up above, I haven’t even used half of the 1GB on my Nexus S for apps, and I have big games on my phone. Most of the normal stuff I’d put on SD are in the cloud now. So physical storage has become a moot point for me as long as it’s sufficient enough to hold my apps and gives me Apps2SD.

      LED light, do or don’t, I’ll be okay.

      If they’re actually doing a buttonless device, I would say 5″, almost edge to edge and the device could still be the same size as a 4″ device.

      1GB RAM should be sufficient, I don’t see it going over that for awhile in the mobile space.

      Cameras spot on.

      And YES to the ‘no 3D crap’. I can’t stand these gimmicks.

      You really hit all of the spots. If they can make that happen, then it’s game on for me.

      • alex

        This is mine(i am expecting a lot lol)
        4.5 SUPER AMOLED HD(720p)with curved display
        Dual-core OMAP(and supports Netflix HD)
        Ice cream sandwich
        Fingerprint scanner
        1gb ram or >
        HDMI port and DLNA capable
        LED Notifications
        a/b/g/n wifi support
        8mp advanced sensor with great low lighting, dual xenon flash(or one xenon flash), and 1080p 30fps recording
        great/very loud speakerphone
        32gb internal/16gb with micro sd card expansion but brings none, since it is a lot of memory
        no buttons/capactive buttons
        FFC 2mp/3mp
        no bugs/little to no bugs
        Available in black, white
        Support for Sprints future LTE, and wimax, LTE and HSPA for ATT, Lte for Verizon, 42mps for t-mobile(released on all carriers at the same time), and world phone
        Gyroscope woth all that stuff
        youtube mobile app zsupports 720p video
        noise cancellation mic
        playstation suite available in the market
        android version of BBm and imessage that supports chatting with both

  • iDavey

    I’m kind of let down. I was REALLY hoping for a 28nm process for these dual cores to give us vastly improved battery life and only the Krait has that.

    But letting go of the 28nm, I wanted either the OMAP4 or Exynos. So I guess I’m still happy for the time being. I’m just ready to see the design of the hardware and software.

  • alex

    Samsung b/c of that rumored SUPER AMOLED HD display, and pretty much every high-end phone leaked has a 720p screen so it must be true, anyways Samsung for me

  • Daniel

    I’m already sad from before knowing the quad-core tegra3 isn’t going to be in around winter. I was really hoping for a powerhouse.

    And to discover they aren’t using a 28nm Krait with the adreno 225 is sad. I just want something that will rock Apple’s upcoming Iphone. This means something a whole lot stronger than the SXG540 GPU.

    One can hope. Otherwise, I just want to start seeing an actual design!

  • nil21

    Give me a buttonless 4.5 inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1280×720, an OMAP 4460, and a gig of RAM and I’m sold!

  • J. to the O.

    At 720p I don’t think the SGX 540 will bring enough power. Just sayin’

  • eddie


  • Bernardo

    I’ll be more hesitant to buy the Nexus 3 if LG makes it. I’ll really be looking at reviews for this one. With Samsung….. I just didn’t like all the bugs that initially came with the Nexus S. I really wish HTC was making it. 3 years and four phone with them. Not a bad thing to say. I am excited though.

  • jf79

    The OMAP4 sounds fine for me. I hope Samsung makes the N#, because I like their Super AMOLED+ displays.

    • jf79

      Oops, N# should read N3.