Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system meant for both smartphones and tablets, will support the previous-generation Nexus S smartphone in addition to the forthcoming Galaxy Nexus device manufactured by Samsung for Google, the search giant confirmed. However, owners of the original Nexus One smartphone, which had been manufactured by Taiwan’s HTC Corporation as Google’s showcase Android phone in January 2010, will be left out in the cold because that device is not powerful enough to run the latest Android software, The Telegraph reported today.

Google’s Hugo Barra told the paper that Ice Cream Sandwich will drop as a free software update for the existing Nexus S handset “within weeks”, shortly after the latest Galaxy Nexus device lands on store shelves in November. Realistically, there are some limits as to which software can perform well in a satisfactory manner on older devices. MG Siegler pointed out that the iPhone 3GS is seven months older than the Nexus One and yet it runs the iOS 5 software. However, it should be points out that Apple is routinely leaving out older-generation devices with its mobile operating system revisions.

iOS 5, the latest version Apple released for public consumption earlier this month, does not run at all on the original iPhone or iPhone 3G. Even though it does run on iOS 5, it should be noted that some high-end features are not supported on that handset because the hardware is just not up to the task. Apple also intentionally limits some software features to the latest hardware for marketing purposes. Search assistant Siri, for example, is an iPhone 4S exclusive.

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