Early yesterday, Google served us another delicious meal named Ice Cream Sandwich. The official release number is 4.0 as against 3.x earlier predicted by the media. Really, the ICS is such a great improvement on the Android platform. Virtually everything was touched and re-implemented to give Android users a Super Experience on their devices. Here’s a brief run down of the basic features of the ICS:
- Folders: You can now create folders just by dragging app icons on top of each other.
- Screenshot: Holding down power and volume down button takes a screen shot.
- Bottom Favourites Tray: This enables you “drop four app links or even folders” for quick launch.
- Improved Notification Bar: The New Notification Bar now comes with icon or image display. For apps, the icon of the app will be displayed while the photo of your contact will be displayed for missed call or related contact notification. Another major improvement to the Notification Bar is that you can now remove unwanted individual notifications (without dismissing others) by swipping them away.
- Keyboard: Error correction has been improved on the ICS. Not only this, it has an in-line spell checker. Google “Improved copy and paste and made it consistent across the operating system.” So, “You can now simply drag-and-drop chunks of text”.
- Instant Talk-to-text
- Face Unlock: “ICS literally knows your face.” So, Google is asking “Why should you have to remember a password or pin, your phone really should just recognize you” It automatically reverts to passcode or pattern unlock if the Face unlock fails.
- New UI in Browser: On the ICS, you can have up to 16 tabs and switch easily between them just like multi-tasking. Sites that have mobile optimized versions will be rendered in the “mobile mode” by default. Sequel to this, the ICS drop-down menu now includes a “request desktop version” item. Bookmarks are now automatically synced with Chrome on your desktop / laptop. ICS also lets you save entire pages for offline reading. Also, the drop-down menu has an option to save a screenshot of the page.
- Data Usage Tracking: You can track your data usage on ICS without downloading any third party app. “The first thing you see is a chart tracking your usage for your current billing period and an estimation for where you’ll be at the end of the month based on your current usage.” You can also set alerts and data cutoff points. “You can select just a section of your tracking period, then drill in and see the breakdown of which apps have been using during that time, including a split between foreground and background data usage.” Hmm, I am not sure if the ICS will not gulp data just like the previous Android versions. However, from the screenshot provided during at the launch, 219MB was consumed between Oct 12 – 19 by the ICS.
There are many more new features on ICS. Here’s a list from Brief Mobile
Brand new camera application
- Image stabilization
- Continuous focus in video
- Zoom while recording
- Facial recognition auto-focus
- Panorama stitching and guiding
- Sharing options built-in
- Live effects transform facial features, backgrounds, and more during video recording and video chat
- Large thumbnail grid style
- Organization by people tagged, date, location, etc.
On-screen buttons capabilities
- Hide, rotate, and place properly on the device
Android Beam NFC Sharing
- Share pretty much any content
- Secure and intuitive
- Simply bump NFC devices and information beamed instantaneously
- Zooms out of information or application, click to beam
- Share applications: simply bump and the Market page for the application will come up
- Open API
- High-resolution profile photos
- Swipe right for favorites
- Visual voicemail directly in call log
- Speed up voicemail playback
- Pause, volume, and details
- Decline calls with a quick “Quick Response” canned text message
- Evolution of “Contacts” application
- Profile for phone’s user
- Magazine-style people cards
- Contact details built-in through Twitter, G+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and more
- Favorites tab
- Social networking updates built-in with open API’s
- Quick contacts open to developers, popup centered and translucent
- Place people on your home screen in shortcuts and folders