There is one question we have been asked a lot lately regarding Android 4.0 and the plans for updating current phones; If my device gets the upgrade what happens to my hardware buttons? That is actually a good question, one until now didn’t have an affirmative answer.
As we suspected, the new Android ICS operating system will bypass the onscreen buttons and will utilize the device’s hardware buttons just like it did on its original OS. The folks over at Gizmodo spoke to a Google representative that confirmed this theory and describes the process like this:
ICS does have onscreen buttons but not always. If there’s a device with hardware buttons the onscreen buttons won’t be there, and the hardware buttons will act and function as you’d expect them to…. back and home will function as you’d expect, the search button will query the search bar (as you’d expect), and the menu button will query the menu overflow in the action bar.
I don’t think it will be Google’s task to re-design ICS to run on all the different manufacturer’s button layouts, rather it will be up to the manufacturer to tweak it as necessary before pushing out the update. We are keeping a close eye on those who claim to have plans to push out the ICS update to their devices, so stay tuned because we will let you know as we add more to the confirmed update list.