Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
By Geoff GirardinG-off. Wednesday, October 19, 2011 3:40:23 AM
The official unveiling of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) shows that the latest update to the platform is a well polished beast. Here's a quick rundown of the new features:
- More rounded and friendly seeming font "Roboto" globally applied.
- All native applications now include the ability to swipe left and right to change screens.
- Ability to resize all widgets on homescreens.
- Easy-to-create folders (very iOS, mostly drag and drop)
- Full Google+ Integration throughout the OS.
- Announcing Face Unlock. Use the camera and your face to unlock your screen, with the intent of making it the most secure unlock method in the industry. This didn't work during the presentation.
- Easily take screenshots at any time and share them on any service. The screenshot application is activated by pressing the home and power buttons simultaneously.
- Onboard browser: Tabbed browsing, with support of up to 16 tabs. (But we've already got Opera )
- Onboard browser: Switch between mobile and desktop views with one tap.
- Onboard browser: Save entire webpages for offline viewing.
- Incredibly new and detailed data statistics. Set a custom warning notification for when you reach a certain amount of data usage, and create your own caps on your data. Shows a timeline of your data, allowing you to view what apps were running at any given time, and even limit apps to only use data when you specify. Or turn off data all together.
- Camera got a major overhaul. Virtually no shutter lag. Photos are instant, sharing is instant. "Hipster filters" show that services like Instagram are not required. New Panoramic view allows you to make one continuous movement and Android takes care of the stitching.
- After taking a picture, users will be able to crop, remove red eye and perform several other edits, including add Instagram-like filters to their photos.
- Camera can be activated from the lockscreen.
- Photo stills can be taken while recording a video.
- Timelapse video ability native to the video app.
- Zoom while recording video. While on some phones and tablets, this was a manufacturer addition and is now native to the OS.
- Contacts has evolved into "People". A gorgeous magazine-style screen that lists all contacts. Individual entries show off a natively aggregated feed of all services linked to a name. Ie. if I'm in your contacts, you can tap my name and see a main timeline of my Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Screenshot on the right.
- Notifications are now accessible without unlocking the phone.
- If your friends call at bad times, swipe your finger up and shoot them a quick text letting them know that you're busy, rather than ignoring their call. All responses are fully customizable.
- Visual voicemail is now natively available from the dialler screens.
- New feature: Android Beam. Touch two phones together and "beam" any content to a friend's phone. Contact information, web pages, games, messages, photos, videos, anything.
4.0 looks fantastic, and will start appearing packaged with phones in November. The API is available for download RIGHT NOW, so you can get started on making some sweet 4.0 apps!