We've recently seen a leaked build of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for the AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note. But how about something a little more official? We're at AT&T's get-together at CTIA in New Orleans, and on its demonstration Galaxy Note is none other than Android 4.0.3. 

A quick spin through the update shows what we expected -- Touchwiz still dominates the ICS UI (just like the Galaxy S III, by the way). But Ice Cream Sandwich is running on an "official" AT&T phone out here in the open is a pretty good sign that an update's on the way.

 
There are 37 comments

rocket321 says:

Any chance they back ported any of the gs3 goodness like the face stay awake or the voice app?

randall2580 says:

on the ICS leak the voice app is still voice talk - but the voices change from time to time - sounds like 2 different women

jhotmann says:

I used to not think touchwiz was that bad when it was covering up gingerbread. Now that it's covering up ICS with basically the same interface I appalled...it's a disgrace to the beauty of ICS.

planoman says:

Sweet! Come on AT&T, give us the ICS for the GNote!

EeZeEpEe says:

This TouchWiz ICS is still different than the GSIII one. In this one the launcher doesn't have widgets panel nor does notification menu doesn't have more toggles.

eljedo says:

I feel bad for all those Samsung faithful who bought a GSII or Note and held out for ICS. ICS on my GNex is so much nicer than whatever the f@$% samsung did with touchwiz and ICS. looks way too much like GB for my taste. I'd say HTC has definitely won this round with the way they lightly skinned sense for ICS.

EeZeEpEe says:

Which is why I recommend rooting and installing an ICS ROM. CM9 on my Epic 4G Touch is pretty great and mostly vanilla ICS. I do agree that Sense 4.0 wins it this year.

Mepaphoros says:

Who even cares about ICS? The Note is still the best phone out for a number of reasons. You people harp on these minor issues...I'll never understand how things get so blown out of proportion.

EeZeEpEe says:

You make it sound like the majority of people don't want ICS. Maybe you should create a poll and find out.

Mepaphoros says:

Maybe the majority of people on Android forums; most people don't even care if their phones get updated at all. I'd like ICS for the upgrades to battery life and whatnot, but I think the actual look and feel of ICS is a little cold. And who even uses that stupid Google widget that you can't remove from the home screen?

15israellai says:

You mean me?
Man, you have to admit that. Some people - I don't know how many - crave ICS. And indeed Samsung has screwed it this time. TW on ICS really is nothing but a tweaked TW on GB. (BTW, that "stupid Google widget that you can't remove from the home screen", which I love, can surely be removed with a custom launcher.)

eljedo says:

I think lots of people care about ICS. I'm not harping on the hardware, I agree the note is fantastic, and I wish I had one. I have an SGS, an SGS2, and a GNex, all I'm saying is - going back to my SGS or SGS2 from ICS is painful, and I was hoping Samsung would have done a better job with touchwiz on ICS. A lot of opinion was that the only thing that could make the note or SGS2 better is ICS, and even with ICS it still looks bland and old. touchwiz needed a refresh on ICS and didn't get it, thats my only gripe. CM9 fixes that, but I was hoping samsung would try harder, even on the GSIII it looks awful

l00natic71 says:

and on your last sentence you had a great point. If you care, you will go to a third party ROM. CM s awesome. It made my nook a lot better. CM is around a million users. Android has about 900K activations a day. I don't know the popularity of other ROMs.. but let's say 5M total.. or about 6 days worth of activations.. give or take. So, yeah.. most people don't care. I do, and I would say that most people here do too. However, we are a rounding error in manufacturer's sales.

gdbjr says:

CM9 is great, unless you want your phone to work 100%. CM9 for the Note isn't 100% there, then again is any CM ROM 100%? In my experience there was always something broken or missing with a CM ROM and it was always about making compromises as to what I wanted to work.

But if you enjoy it, more power to you. I just don't think 'install a 3rd party ROM' is the right answer for the 99%.

randall2580 says:

I have the GNote and downloaded the ICS leak the day it was available and had nothing but trouble lots of freezing and reboots. Decided to try again and reload and the experience has been wonderful. Admittedly I have been using the ICS-only Nova Launcher instead of Touch Wiz and really like it. Seemed from the walk through there was some sweetness on the GS3 we don't/won't (?) have on the GNote and I was hoping the final release might bring it to us (all those toggles in the notification panel looked sweet for example). I see ICS on GNote is 4.0.3 (as was the leak) and on the GS3 was 4.0.4 - so there is still hope?

sag7392 says:

Meh...give the devs a shot at the official ICS update and all will be well. I'm rocking a custom GB ROM, that makes me not even feel a need to want to quickly flash ICS...I'll patiently wait for it to get some love from the devs.

badbradd2 says:

Which ROM are you currently using? I'm looking to change ROMs perhaps.

n0obpr0 says:

LOL! that's supposed to be ICS? Thank god for the pure vanilla on my GN.

eljedo says:

exactly the way i feel. vanilla ICS is so nice its easy to take for granted until you have to switch back to GB.

droidhead_1 says:

I have a epic touch and have recently updated to the leaked ics. I have to say it awesome with touch wiz and all. If you want a pure ics experience you just scroll threw all app find tw launcher clear the defaults hit home button select launcher not tw launcher and you have ics with only tw icons. Very simple to do just check the use this one box and you will have the ics launcher everytime you hit home.

15israellai says:

A manufacturer skin is more than a launcher.

ReggieTee says:

Love how GNex users always have to remind us that they have stock ICS on their phones. We get it.

rich250 says:

isn't that the first ICS leak,looks like it to me

scaots says:

Phil,
Does it have any of the new apps features that Samsung introduced with the GS3?

Mes3 says:

This whole, "We want stock ICS, not Touchwiz!" Is getting old. Samsung and Google have already given you that in the Nexus. The carriers don't want every interface to be the same and neither do I. I love Motorola's icon set more then anything else out there. Hopefully the leaked tutorial video of Motos ICS holds true. Lightly skinned with the icons I like.

littlewierdo says:

Ah, but they havent. For starters, the Nexus is available on one carrier, maybe two (Verizon for sure, I heard Sprint was also getting a Nexus but I havent confirmed whether that happened or not, T-Mobile doesnt count because the Nexus on T-Mobile is 3 years old). AT&T does not have a Nexus. Period, end of story. In my area, San Antonio Texas, AT&T has the best coverage (should be no surprise to anyone if you have looked at coverage charts).

What I find repulsive is the bloat and I think this is what people mean by 'stock ICS'. I mean, if I dont like Touchwiz, its easy enough to use ADW which gives a pretty accurate core Google experience (I know this because my brother has a Verizon Samsung Nexus). One other note (no pun intended), the Verizon Nexus isnt even completely clean of Verizons' bloat, it has a few Verizon apps floating around. If I could just uninstall all the BS that came on my Note that AT&T whored themselves out to pre-install on my phone (my $400 cell bill isnt enough apparently), including the stuff that just by opening the app and tapping 'OK' in the box that I am prompted with automagically adds a new 'service' that costs money to my bill, Id be happy. As it is now, the bloat causes huge battery drain, drops performance significantly, and prevents me from handing my Note to anyone to look at without having to look over their shoulder to make sure they dont launch something that might cost me money.

SoreAintya says:

I've been running "official ICS" on my Note for close to 2 months and love it, it's leaps and bounds better than Gingerbread imo. I notice little difference between it and my old GNex, but that probably has more to do on how I set up my devices and use them.
Only thing that may pull me away from this phone is the GSIII or a "New and Improved" Galaxy Note.

jcprunty says:

was s-memo updated at all with ICS?
Thanks

NAWF_SIDE says:

Did it laggg.. Like the leak ics?? Cause ughh i ran back too gingerbread.. I hope they worked out all the buggs on this build...

paleh0rse says:

Try TheCollective's new ROM based on the second leak... it flies! No, really, it has wings... seriously, wings.

Ok, maybe not wings... but it DOES fly

brucleer0y says:

anyone else watching this hoping this device comes to T-mobile???? I've been patiently waiting.

_____homz says:

What's the commotion guys? If you wanna feel stock ICS rom, just install apex launcher once you get the ota update of ics for galaxy note or galaxy s2. It's not like a big deal! Quit complaining about touchwiz taking over ics or what not? Apex launcher only runs on ics rom... Peace out!

DAS says:

I don't really understand people purchasing a device like the Note with one OS, and then complain about not having another OS. If a particular OS was so important to you there were options available?

I personally did not purchase the Note because of ICS. If ICS was so important to me then I would have purchased a Galaxy Nexus.

What drew me to the Note was the 5.3 inch screen, and the flexibility, portability, and productivity that screen size offers. I also no longer need to carry two devices (smartphone & tablet), because the Note with its 5.3 inch display is capable of being a true all-in-one device.

IMHO, if the Note NEVER got updated it's still the only device I'd use. No other mere smartphone on the market can provide the functionality of the Note.

ICS is a nice OS, and offers some really nice features, but what makes the Note so impressive to me is that I no longer need multiple devices to get accomplished the things in my life I need/want to do.

It's interesting to read about, and go down to the local stores and see, all of the new smartphones coming out lately. But, for me, at the end of the day the only device that would draw me away from the Note would be a device with a minimum 5.3 screen. Anything smaller (regardless of the OS it's running) I would not seriously even consider it.

littlewierdo says:

Guys, the issue isnt really Touchwiz, this can be gotten around with another launcher.

The issue is with the stock bloatware.

1. Cant uninstall without rooting first.
2. Causes issues with battery drain.
3. Decreased performance because bloatware is all running in the background.
4. Apparently my $400 a month cell bill isnt enough, AT&T had to whore themselves out to companies and take bribe money to 'inject' their apps into these roms, one can only guess because these apps arent good enough to stand on their own.
5. The incredible ease with which they can add a monthly charge to my bill when I open an app and click the 'OK' box in the disclaimer that opens on initial launch of said app.

Yes yes, root and debloat, root and rom, blah blah blah. The fact is, customers shouldnt have to put their spinner nerd hat on in order to remove the bloat. Not to mention the warranty issue. Oh, if you dont have a PC, you cant even root or rom anyway, sorry Mac/Linux users, yer out of luck. And we STILL dont have a one-click root method for the Note... I hate Odin.

speculatrix says:

Phil,
did you notice if that Note had LTE? I guess you couldn't tell if the CPU was a Qualcomm S4 so as to support LTE?

bluesamg says:

Is this what they mean "skinned so bad you can't see the android version " ?

fecat17 says:

I have had the international Note since December. Been flashing custom Rom's since February. Once rooted, flashing different Roms is great. There are a lot of ICS Roms out there. Many with minor bugs but many stable ones also. The trick is flashing until you find a Rom you like and is stable. Many step by step instructions on YouTube and xda developers. I've been using "CriskeloRom ICS ZCLP6" for the past couple of week's.
Very stable and has the new "s-pen" application. Nice!
Also for those who are unaware, there are many ICS Roms out there for the At&t Note also. ROOTING IS THE FIRST STEP TO COMPLETE FREEDOM BUT NOT FOR THE FAINT AT HEART. I'll admit, I did simi-brick my Note initially but then realized that flashing CWM recovery was the key.