Google has finally made Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich official alongside Samsung’s new Galaxy Nexus at an event in Hong Kong. The new OS is a big step forward for Google as they refine the Android experience for future mobile devices.
As we’ve seen through recent leaks, Android 4.0 will come with a number of exciting UI tweaks while keeping the futuristic essence of Honeycomb that users have become familiar with. Because the Galaxy Nexus doesn’t come with any physical buttons, Android’s 4.0 UI will offer virtual buttons similar to Honeycomb, lighting up when pressed; buttons that aren’t in use simply hide. With Ice Cream Sandwich, Google is also focused on strengthening features already familiar to Android users as they look to make the home screen a more personal experience for each individual user.
There is a virtual back, home and recent apps button. Click the recent apps button and a scrolling list will be revealed, showing you your, you guessed it, recent apps. You can swipe away apps you don’t want in the list, but that doesn’t kill the process, Google said. Swiping will also work with calling. Say someone calls you but you’re busy. Rather than declining, you simply swipe up and choose from a list of preset text messages – “I’ll call you later!”
Further, ICS brings with it an enormous amount of new features. Face Unlock is something Google highlighted, something the company is very excited about. You simply look at your phone and it’ll unlock, just like that. Other features will include a newly revamped Gmail that will include two-live previews, an action bar at the bottom and offline search! Also new is the NFC enabled Android Beam, which will allow users to share contacts, games, group chats, and more. The camera app has been upgraded as well, touting zero shutter lag, time lapse settings, a built-in editor and hipster filters.
Ice Cream Sandwich certainly looks to be the leading smartphone OS with this upgrade, both in looks and functionality. Google announced a ton of enhancements to make the Android experience that much more intuitive for users, but these were just a few of the highlights. Stay tuned to TechnoBuffalo for our thoughts and further analysis on Ice Cream Sandwich. We certainly can’t wait to get our hands on it.
What are your thoughts on Ice Cream Sandwich?