Android users may have accidentally gotten their first peek at Ice Cream Sandwich.
A person who bought a Samsung Nexus S smartphone via eBay reportedly discovered that the device was running the upcoming version of the Android operating system instead of the current Android flavor, say the folks at Engadget.
Checking the firmware version numbers, Engadget said the phone seemed to be using the same baseband seen in previously leaked screenshots but had a newer build and kernel.
The buyer shot a two-minute video showing off the phone's interface and features. That video then found its way onto Engadget's site, as seen here.
Taking a tour of the video, Engadget and others have noted a lot of similarities to Gingerbread and Honeycomb, though now there are four shortcut buttons along the bottom. A new Google Apps icon provides access to an array of Google services, including Gmail, Calendar, Google+, and YouTube. Pressing the home button brings up a vertical menu where you can jump from one app or feature to another.
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Of course, as Engadget admits, this could simply be a video by someone who faked the look and feel of Android's latest incarnation through a custom ROM build. However, in the latest twist, the eBay buyer posted a message early today on the XDA Developers forum after he found that Google was allegedly trying to remotely lock and wipe the phone.
Following the ensuing conversation thread on the forum, tech site Android and Me said several developers chimed in trying to help the person recover his phone and that at least one developer confirmed that the OS was in fact "the real deal."
Google did not immediately respond to a CNET request for comment.
The company has been busy trying to unwrap Ice Cream Sandwich as quickly as possible, partly to compete with the iPhone 5, which will likely be available for sale next month. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt recently revealed that ICS would debut in October or November. The actual unveiling could come on October 11, when Google and Samsung are scheduled to hold an event promising "a look at what's new from Android."