Alun Taylor has a review of ICS on The Register. His bottom line:
“With Ice Cream Sandwich Android moves itâ€™s game on by the greatest degree yet. In terms of look and feel itâ€™s now hard on the heels of iOS and well ahead of WinPho 7.5 and BlackBerry 7. The new look will also raise the question of do we need third-party overlays anymore? Iâ€™d argue 4.0 has made them redundant. The web browser, keyboard, camera app and media players have all been given a thorough brush up and are now not only nicer to look at but faster and easier to use. My only complaint is that migratory menu button and nailed-on Google search widget but I suspect Iâ€™ll learn to live with both.”
So, in his opinion ICS is competitive with iOS, the standard by which all mobile OS are compared. Considering the range of hardware for which Android/Linux is available and the features/functions of ICS this should bring continued growth and a further lead over that other OS in mindshare. The question remains whether Apple can stay ahead of Android/Linux on tablets in 2012. They didn’t in smart phones. Probably the diversity of Android’s ecosystem is sufficient to bring the same result in tablets. When it comes to x86 or ARMed PCs, Android/Linux will be a great option. When it comes to the geographic coverage and diversity of manufacturers using Android/Linux it should be no contest. iPad is doing well but ICS should grow at a faster rate and catch up sometimes near the end of 2012 if price/performance matters to enough consumers.
In the recent Black Friday sales, iPad was the most popular gadget but the lower prices and diversity of models with Android attracted a lot of attention. Even before ICS became available, Android/Linux had taken 20% share away from iPad. By November, iPad was down to 70% share of tablets. I estimate (linearly from these two pre-ICS points) that while iPad may still be the most popular it will be down to 50% share by mid-2012 at the latest. iPad cannot outship products running at half the price or less.