Ice Cream Sandwich finally on a roll

HTC Desire S
The HTC Desire S is one of the HTC handsets getting Ice Cream Sandwich

While some people - let's call them "tedious attention seekers" - have spent most of this week queuing outside Apple Stores so they can get the new iPad a fraction of a second before somebody else, other people - interesting people; talented people; productive people - have been doing some interesting, talented and productive things.

This week in tech has good news for many Android users, and an interesting nugget from Nokia too.

Android first. Remember the moans about when existing smartphones would get Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest, greatest version of Google's mobile OS? Moan no more, mobile fans! ICS is on the move, and it's heading for a phone near you.

HTC's rolling out Ice Cream Sandwich to various Desires, Sensations, EVOs and more, which is great news for an awful lot of people.

HTC isn't the only firm spreading creamy goodness. The Samsung Galaxy S2 gets Ice Cream Sandwich next week, and its imminent Samsung Galaxy S3 will be an ICS device from the get-go.

The Galaxy S3, like many recently announced smartphones, is a quad core device. Is that good? Jeremy Laird isn't convinced.

"The smartphone market has gone crazy," he says, arguing that "we've been through all this before on the PC. Five or six years ago, Intel's marketing pitch was all about a future of massively multi-core PC performance. Today, mainstream PCs sport a maximum of four cores. And that's been the case for years."

Why's that? "There's a lot more to performance than mere core count," Laird explains. "That's especially true for ultramobile devices like smartphones that are so sensitive to power consumption."

Software needs to take advantage of all of the cores, and four cores are not necessarily better than two: as Laird points out, some quad-core Intel chips can beat the pants off eight-core AMD ones.

Laird's piece is definitely worth a read if you're considering a four-core smartphone or tablet, or if you've been mocking Apple for continuing with just two cores in the new iPad.

Great news from Nokia

Another firm that's apparently thinking of two-core devices is Nokia, who confirmed months of speculation when design head Marko Ahtisaari confirmed that the Finnish firm has a tablet in the works.

"We're working on it," he told Finnish magazine Kauppalehti Optio, admitting that he was spending around a third of his time on it. According to "supply chain sources", the Nokia tablet will be a Windows 8 device and may have a 10-inch screen and a dual-core Qualcomm processor, although we'll have to wait until the end of 2012 to find out for sure.

When the Nokia tablet ships, will it be POWERED BY THE SUN? Er, no. But future tablets might be. According to Logitech director of mobile and tablet products Alexis Richard, in years to come our tablets could be solar-powered.

Solar is "a natural next step" in tablet accessories, although commenter wigwam_salesman isn't convinced: "You'd have to point it at the sun to use solar power to its best advantage, and then you couldn't read anything on screen," he or she writes, perhaps forgetting that tablets can be slid into cases and/or connected to external accessories.

Oh, and there's one more thing: if you're currently camped outside an Apple Store, GO HOME! Apple will make more soon, and anyway, unless you're raising money for charity camping for days outside a shop is no way for a grown man or woman to behave. You know we're right, and your mum's awfully worried.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.