Google has unveiled the long-awaited Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS for mobile and the new Nexus Prime smartphone at a joint Samsung Google Event in Hong Kong Wednesday morning.
Google has finally unveiled Android 4.0, the unified version of its mobile OS for smartphones and tablets best known by its “Ice Cream Sandwich” code name. The revised Android, which made its debut on a Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone also unveiled today, features a bevy of UI enhancements, social networking integration, and other APIs meant to encourage human and application-based sharing. Android has also beefed up some of its security capabilities, though most are in the form of API support that developers can use as desired.
From its navigation methods to fonts, Android is redesigned and refreshed in its Ice Cream Sandwich edition to meet the tastes of its users. Google introduced the update to Honeycomb and Gingerbread Tuesday night alongside Samsung’s debut of the Galaxy Nexus. Focused on bringing the power of Android to the surface, Android 4.0 ice cream sandwich makes common actions more visible and lets users navigate with simple, intuitive gestures. Refined animations and feedback throughout the system make interactions engaging and interesting. An entirely new typeface optimized for high-resolution screens improves readability and brings a polished, modern feel to the user interface.
Here the app drawer is updated to look more like the one in Honeycomb and you now scroll through apps by swiping left or right. Widgets have their own tab in the app drawer to make them easier to find. They look and work like the ones we have seen on Honeycomb, and are resizable so you can fit them wherever you feel like. Taking another leaf out of Apple’s book, Android 4.0 lets you create folders by dragging one app onto another. Apps can be rearranged in folders by dragging them around and folders can be renamed to your liking.
Speaking of security, in Android 4.0 your face can be used to unlock your phone. Ice Cream Sandwich and the Galaxy Nexus support facial recognition, so the phone can be set to unlock only if it recognizes your face. When demoed on stage, the phone failed to recognize its owner and defaulted back to the traditional pattern unlock screen. Let’s hope the Android team gets the kinks worked out before launch, and that other phone manufacturers support this feature in future handsets.
Previously, in order to dictate a text message or other text field, you had to manually press the voice command key on the keyboard to activate it. Now, you simply start talking to your phone and the software activates automatically. While it’s not exactly on the level of Siri, this is huge for people who use their phones while driving, since it no longer requires them to fuss with their phones to activate the dictation software. The Browser now supports incognito mode and your bookmarks from the Chrome browser on desktop are now synced to the Browser in ICS. Google adds support for tabbed browsing, and you can quickly view which tabs are open, each with a live preview of that page. As with the notifications and Recent Apps list, you can quickly close tabs by flicking them away.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich introduces you to a new a more improved version which gives you the option to unlock your phone with a smile, tab through the browser windows, shoot panoramic images, and automate polite text replies to unwanted calls. What do you want more in your phone?