Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich: What’s New

So Google and Samsung announced the Galaxy Nexus, earlier today, and along with it they also pushed out the next big thing in the Android ecosystem. The Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. If you were expecting to see 200 new features or changes in this version of Android then you will be disappointed. However, this new version of Android does bring out some new and never before used features, operating system specific of course.

The event was held in Hong Kong and Google’s new Nexus device, called the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich were the main attractions of the show. The Galaxy Nexus S is the first phone to come with the new version of Android, so we’ll be referring a lot to the phone to explain some of the features of Ice Cream Sandwich.

First of all, Android 4.0 is a mixture of Gingerbread and Honey, which basically unifies both the mobile and tablet based operating systems in to one. Google wanted to have just one OS for both their mobile devices and tablets, just like Apple’s iOS. Thus, the new version gets lots of blue colors, you can see it everywhere, there will be no need for any physical buttons, but there will be virtual buttons, the UI has been completely changed, a new multi-tasker is now part of the onscreen capacitive buttons.

Google+ is everywhere, synced in to contacts, profiles, browser etc. A new phone app with more improvements that make it easier to use. Camera app has been given some new changes too, like continuous focus, zero shutter lag, single motion panorama mode and the gallery gets some much needed editing extras. Web browser get tabs, up to 16 at once!

New icons, lots of small additions to the looks and feels of certain Google apps, plenty of new apps. A new Roboto font has been adopted throughout, looks much cleaner and elegant, system has a native resolution of 720p and thus might require powerful hardware to run. So, people with low-end/average Android phones, don’t expect Ice Cream Sandwich to run on yours. New lockscreen, similar to one on Honeycomb, gestures throughout the system. You can just flick to remove applications and notifications from the Manage apps and notifications tray.

SCREEN CAPTURE is now native, you don’t need any specific app for that. Holding the power button and Volume down will take a nice screenshot of the screen. The Launcher now has two tabs, Apps and Widgets, folders can be easily created and removed, widgets can be customized. Notifications tray now also works from the lockscreen, oh, there’s also a new Face Unlock software for secure locking of your device, which did not really work at the presentation earlier today. Improved voice recognition, copy paste, error correction, text input and more.

The new Multi tasker is sweet! Say Open Sesame while holding the virtual Recent Apps button, and with a flick of your wand(finger), you can get rid of that game that is still running in the background. You can check how much data you’ve used off of your internet package and add limits and warning levels.

Android Beam

So what does this new beam support? Android beam is an NFC capability that’ll let you share almost anything with another NFC enabled device. You can share apps, music, contacts, videos, web pages, start multiplayer games etc. That’s Android beam and it would be awesome and innovative if NFC was actually famous. Maybe next year perhaps. And don’t forget to watch this video below.

Well that’s almost all the new features that you’ll see in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. If I’ve missed something, I’ll update it later, but you can comment and let us know anyway.

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