Android Ice Cream Sandwich: How To Get It Without Rooting Your Smartphone

***Warning: Install software at your own risk. To see whether your smartphone is compatible with the software, visit the Google Play store.***

About 10 months ago, Google announced the latest update to its operating system, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), and promised to roll it out to several existing phones over the succeeding months. Owners of Android phones that will eventually be updated, such as the Nexus S, have since been stuck running older versions of the operating system ever since.

Smartphone owners itchin' for a chance to play around with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) no longer have to wait for Google to send them an update: Several apps in the Google Play store enable Android smartphones to run features from the new operating system without having to root the device. The key to creating a phone that appears to be running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is installing several apps that allow you to personalize your phone. Apps within the personalization section of Google Play will let Android owners customize their phones lock screen, contacts, SMS, widgets and even the home screen.

After
After installing Go Launcher EX and choosing the correct theme, your phone will look a lot like it's running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

In order to get the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) look, users must install apps that will allow them to customize the various sections of the phone. After installing several personalization apps, whether you actually have Ice Cream Sandwich or not, you'll be able to look like you have one of the newest Android phones. If you're feeling especially creative, you can customize your phone to look unlike anything that's ever been seen before -- such as something that's completely futuristic or ultra-modern. For now, we'll start with getting your phone to look like it's running the newest version of Android.

Step One: Install a launcher

To start, you'll need to download a launcher, which will allow you to customize the homescreen of your phone. One of the most popular launchers in Google Play market is Go Launcher EX. The app has more than 350,000 downloads and can be used to make your phone appear to be running any of the major versions of Android including Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

After downloading the launcher, simply click on the app. Go Launcher EX will boot and bring you through a series of screens that introduce the possibilities of the phone's customization. Swipe through the slides, and you'll eventually get to the home screen.

From the home screen, you can customize your every detail of your phone's main page. The possibilities are nearly endless. If you intend to make your phone look as much like Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) as possible, hold off on the customization.

Step Two: Install Ice Cream Sandwich Theme

Now that you've installed a launcher, you'll need a theme, which will help you take advantage of the customization features that it enables. There are literally thousands of themes for Go Launcher EX. If you want to make your phone look like it's running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), then install one of the many themes that will make the home screen look as though it's running the newest version of Android.

We recommend GO Launcher EX Theme ICS. Once you've downloaded it, go to the the Go Launcher EX home screen, click the menu button on your phone, click themes and choose the Go Launcher EX Theme ICS theme that you've just downloaded. Click apply. The phone should automatically back out of the settings and show you the brand new theme.

You can also install Ice Cream Sandwich (theme) from kovdev, which is free and compatible with Go Launcher EX. You can select this theme the same way you can select Go Launcher EX Theme ICS.

Step Three: Install Ice Cream Sandwich Lock Screen

Now that our phone appears to be running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) from the home screen, it needs to look like it's running the new operating system while it's locked. To do this, you'll need to install a new lock screen. We recommend Go Locker, although there are others such as Ice Cream Sandwich Lock Screen, which require a little less tinkering.

After
After installing Go Locker and choosing the correct theme, the lock screen will look identical to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

Once you've installed Go Locker, you'll need the Go locker ICS Theme. To choose the theme, go the the Go Launcher EX home screen, select the menu button on your phone, then select plugins. Choose Go Locker. Now choose the theme you want: in this case, you'll select Go Locker ICS Theme.

Step Four: Download Ice Cream Sandwich Apps

Now that you've installed a launcher and lock screen that look identical to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), you'll need to get the rest of the applications that come with Ice Cream Sandwich. We recommend Ice Cream Sandwich Keyboard, so that you no longer have to deal with the awful default keyboard that comes with earlier versions of the operating system.

Ice Cream Sandwich Calculator is also a nifty app.

Ice Cream Live Wallpaper will give you a live wallpaper similar to the new release.

Ice Cream Sandwich Clock will give you home screen a nice updated look.

Step Five: Enjoy!

Now that you've completely customized your phone to look exactly like Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), you can sit back for a couple of hours set up all of the different settings available in Go Launcher EX. 

Widgets and apps can be sized to fit any height or width by holding a finger down on any home screen page. Different animations can be set for scrolling through apps and home screen pages by selecting the menu button on your phone and then preferences. Fonts and much more can also be customized in the preferences menu.

For extra customization, visit the Google Play store, where there are several apps that will give you extra functionality from your smartphone. The Go Launcher Devopment Team has created several apps and widgets that are meant to be paired with Go Launcher EX. Try out a few, see what works and try create an environment that will make you extra productive when using your smartphone.

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