Google has announced the long-anticipated Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS and the Galaxy Nexus phone that will accompany it. This article dives into the announced features of both.
Android 4.0 OS Ice Cream Sandwich Features and Improvements
While there are plenty of details lacking, we know that Android Ice Cream Sandwich will:
- Remove all hardware buttons in favor of software buttons, allowing more universal design application on both tablet and smartphone devices. These software buttons also disappear when media takes over.
- Use the Roboto font, which was specifically developed for smartphones and tablets.
- Add flexible widgets that can be resized by users and which are located in a new element of the OS's navigation.
- Add smarter folders, including the ability to layer foldering.
- Add a favorites tray that lets users quickly access favorite apps, folders, and links.
- Add screenshot functionality. By holding down the power and volume button, you take a shot of everything currently on your screen.
- Revamp notifications, including through new user customization options and quick dismissal.
- Improve copy/paste by allowing users to move and manipulate entire blocks of selected text.
- Enhance the talk-to-text features by improving accuracy, speeding up speech-to-text interpretation, and making the controls for speech-based typing more prominent.
- Add a new browser that has tabs, lets you import your Chrome bookmarks, and lets you automatically load the desktop version of a site.
- Automatically integrate Gmail and Google Calendar, with more intuitive controls and deeper in-OS functionality.
- Automatic Google+ integration, giving users quick access to Hangouts and other new social functions from Google.
- Add data usage tracking and controls that let users see where their data usage is coming from.
- Improves the camera functionalities with image stabilization, autofocus, panorama photo features, automatic face detection, and on-the-go photo editing and enhancement.
- Add "Android Beam," which lets users transmit YouTube videos, websites, apps, and more by touching their phone to another NFC-equipped device.
- Improve the contact list through the "People App," which gives users the option to share, hide, and prioritize their contact information and integrated social data.
- Add "Face Unlock," which lets users unlock their phone just by looking at the front-facing camera.
For me, one of the most satisfying things is knowing for sure that 4.0 is the iteration number. I've been wondering whether this would be 2.4, 3.1, or 4.0 since Ice Cream Sandwich's name was leaked early this year.
For Google, though, this phone represents a stronger push into tablets, where Google currently has 6 million devices on the market (the iPad has 25+ million), and further strides into the smartphone market.
The Galaxy Nexus Phone
This upcoming phone from Google and Samsung will be released in November for U.S., European, and Asian customers. While many of the core details are attached to Ice Cream Sandwich rather than the phone itself, the Galaxy Nexus is an impressive flagship. Here are some details:
- High speeds with integrated 4G and a 1.2Ghz dual-core processor.
- An impressive camera that gives users 5mp, "zero shutter-lag, automatic focus, top notch low-light performance, and a simple, intuitive way to take panoramic pictures," as well as the option to take 1080p videos.
- A stellar display that combines a 4.65-inch sAMOLED screen and 720p high-definition resolution.
- A curved design that's just 8.84mm thick and has a 4.29mm bezel. This phone was clearly meant to be light and portable.
You can subscribe for future updates at Google's official Galaxy Nexus page. If you're interested in this devices, that's not a bad idea, either; there's still plenty we don't know.
For example: Will the device be Verizon-only as previous rumors suggested? How much will this device cost? How long will its battery life be? What's the exact release date be? And how many months will it take before other Android smartphones get access to Android 4.0?
Ice Cream Sandwich Statue Unveiled
And with the arrival of Ice Cream Sandwich, a new statue has been added at the Googleplex. Here's a video of the big reveal: