Remember how excited we all were when Android 3.0 Honeycomb demoed last week as the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)? Everyone got all worked up and couldn’t wait for it to be released.

Pfft, Honeycomb is SO yesterday.

Pocket-Lint is reporting that while playing with a sample Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc at CES, they spotted that it was running Android 2.4, also known as “Ice Cream”.  Representatives from Sony claim that it was a software corruption issue, but since when do bugs make the version number, let alone to an unreleased version of an operating system?  Sure, it could happen, but it seems a little odd to us.

The fact Pocket-Lint didn’t provide pictures makes us a little bit skeptical of things, but that could have been Sony not allowing the pictures, or perhaps there was another reason, but without pics, hard to be sure.

In following up on this situation, Pocket-Lint has spoken with sources that claim that Ice Cream will be given a release date at this year’s Google I/O conference in May, and that a July release date seems likely.

This breaks with the company’s recently stated policy of only two major Android releases per year, and would bring the tally to three in six months, leading some to speculate that Honeycomb will be only for tablets.  If true, this could lead to a further fracturing of the Android OS development community as they would be working on tablets (3.0 Honeycomb) and phones (2.2 Froyo/2.3 Gingerbread/2.4 Ice Cream) at the same time.  As if all this wasn’t already bad enough with so many devices still running 2.1 Eclair.  Still not confused enough?  What if Honeycomb doesn’t make it to phones, as some suspect it won’t, just how confusing is everything going to get then?

Was it really Ice Cream on that Arc?  Who knows.  Our own Jon Rettinger got some hands-on time with the Arc, and while he did check the version number, he didn’t see anything saying 2.4.  It could have been on just one unit, but at this point it doesn’t really matter.  We know Ice Cream is in full development, and it just leaves us with questions of just how much more Google plans to do to this OS in the coming months that could lead to further confusion.

[via Pocket-Lint]

Edited to clean up the confused version numbers.