October 19, 2011

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich overview - what's new and what to expect?

During the Google and Samsung event earlier in Hong Kong, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus was unveiled which is the world's first device to run on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). You can head over to my Galaxy Nexus post for more details about the smartphone. So, since the phone is already unveiled what about the platform running on it? What are the new things you should expect and those Android users out there that would probably get the Android 4.0 update? Well, aside from the fact that Google has totally revamped the UI or the look of the platform (photo: above), other things also comes with ICS. 

Android 4.0 ICS is the result of Honeycomb. It, apparently, follows or gets the aesthetics of the platform from Honeycomb and a few tweaks here and there too. Certainly, Android 4.0 is a big step forward for Google. So, let me, at the best of my powers, to explain what are the new things in ICS.

System Bar (Task Manager)

Android ICS comes with a new task manager or a place where you can basically stop running applications. This feature is already in Gingerbread or lower versions of Android but Google decided that the Honeycomb's style of displaying running applications is better and why not put it on ICS? Hence, the new task manager or what they call as the System Bar. You can stop running application by simply swiping them away from the list.

Folders and Widgets
Folders and Widgets on Android 4.0 ICS are a lot better when compared to Gingerbread. With the new widgets, Android ICS will now totally allow you to resize your widgets regardless how small or big you want them to be giving you more freedom on them. Folders on Android 4.0 are also cool. You can group apps on certain folders in a new more beautiful way of organizing them. In addition to that, you can now put folders on your homescreen tray. The tray is call the favorites tray, where you can put in all your favorite apps, folders, shortcuts and whatnots for instant access.

New Lock Screen Actions

Taking queue from HTC's Sense UI (I just made this up but HTC Sense got this first), Android 4.0 ICS now allows you to do things while you are on your lockscreen. From the lockscreen you can launch the camera app from your device without the need of unlocking your smartphone and opening the camera app. Also, you can now pull down the notification system which you can't do with any current version of Android. This is neat because you can now check for new email, messages, and other updates in your phone without unlocking the device. 

Swipe to Dismiss Notifications, Tasks, and Browser Tabs

The title explains the feature right? You can dismiss a notification from the drop down notification system by simply swiping it out from the screen. This also applies to browser tabs and from the System Bar.

Data Usage

This, personally, is a blockbuster feature from Android 4.0, Data Usage. This feature shows you how much data an app is consuming. As seen on the photo above, color charts and tables will be shown. The killer feature here really is the fact that you can now set a limit of how much an app will use data and you can let Android warn you if the app is nearing it's threshold. Brilliant, right?

Face Unlock

Android 4.0 ICS now includes a setting that, when enabled, will detect and recognize your face for unlocking the device. The feature is called Face Unlock and it basically recognizes your face in order to unlock the smartphone. Pretty neat.

Android Beam

Finally, and certainly not the least of the new things from Andrid 4.0 ICS. Android Beam, is a feature in ICS that uses your NFC chips inside your phones. So what is Android Beam? It's a quick way in sharing apps, web content, contacts, music, videos, and whatnots from one Android device to another by simply tapping the two devices together. Yes, that quick.
"For sharing apps, Android Beam pushes a link to the app's details page in Android Market. On the other device, the Market app launches and loads the details page, for easy downloading of the app. Individual apps can build on Android Beam to add other types of interactions, such as passing game scores, initiating a multiplayer game or chat, and more."
Other features in Android 4.0 are a new Panoramic shot from the camera app on ICS, an improved Gmail app, Browser tabs (actually its more or less Google Chrome inside Android) with incognito mode and synced data between your Google Chrome on your PCs to your Android. A built-in screenshot feature, a redesigned gallery, and so much more.

Android 4.0 Ice Cream might have nothing to say when it comes to the iPhone 4S' Siri Assistant, but it is definite that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is really at par or even the best mobile platform out there. Click on our trusty source link below to get a more in depth overview of the new things on the new platform.


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