When Google unveiled the first Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich phone, the Galaxy Nexus, one notable change was the lack of any physical buttons on the front of the device— the new OS simply doesn't need them.

But what about all the handsets running previous versions of Android? They all have physical buttons, which were heretofore par for the course. Will those buttons be able to withstand an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich, or are they doomed to hang there in a state of vestigial irrelevance?

Gizmodo did some poking around and got a Google rep to confirm that Android 4.0 will in fact be compatible with older devices that possess physical keys. Though new phones running the OS will be button-less, current gen models that get an upgrade will work just like they used to.

"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," the spokesman said.

So fret not, Android faithful. When it comes time to upgrade your device, you'll be able to do so in peace.

[Gizmodo]