Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has finally been released in an event in Hong Kong along with Samsung last week. as Google had announced before the Android 4.0 update has been designed to bridge the gap between Tablet version of Android, Honeycomb and the mobile version called Gingerbread and merge the two version of operating systems together to develop Ice Cream Sandwich.
The unification of the UI and APIs means that developers will no longer have to worry about multiple devices and hardware configurations and just have to develop their apps for one OS and it will automatically work perfectly across all devices.
The over all user interface does remind of the Honeycomb version of Android specially the the dark blue black theme,Google is calling this new new typeface of Android ‘Roboto’ So let’s look at what is different from before.
Lock Screen –
Now the stock Android 4.0 version let’s you access the the camera application straight from the home screen, like the custom user interface built into many android phones of HTC and Samsung just a little simpler. Currently there is no option to choose different application to replace the camera shortcut from the lock Screen.
Facial Recognition –
Android 4.0 also adds a neat new feature for all the phones with a front facing camera, i.e. unlocking your phone by facial recognition. It is better, faster and more secure than a password unlock but it isn’t very accurate and will face problems during low light conditions.
The Notification bar is also now accessible from the Lock Screen, so you can access your missed calls, messages and pause play music from your Lock Screen itself.
Swype – Slide and Swype gestures seem to be the new in thing in the mobile OS these days, iOS has it, the Windows phone 7 OS has it even the Nokia’s and Intel’s venture called Meego has it and Android has it to but now it has it in a more elegant way. Now you can dismiss individual notifications, apps from the Recent Apps list, and browser tabs lists with a simple swipe of a finger.(Kinda Like iOS)
Re-sizable widgets –
Now you can embed live application content directly through interactive widgets. Widgets let users check email, flip through a calendar, play music, check social streams, and more — right from the home screen, without having to launch apps. Widgets are resizable, so users can expand them to show more content or shrink them to save space.
Reject an Call with a Text Message – Rejecting a call is rude but sending a text message saying you are busy and call later is a polite.The user can now quickly respond by text message, without needing to pick up the call or unlock the device. On the incoming call screen, users simply slide a control to see a list of text responses and then tap to send and end the call. Users can add their own responses and manage the list from the Settings app.
New soft Keyboard and Spell Checker –
Android 4.0 adds a spell-checker that locates and underlines errors and suggests replacement words. With one tap, users can choose from multiple spelling suggestions, delete a word, or add it to the dictionary. Users can even tap to see replacement suggestions for words that are spelled correctly.
Improved Voice Recognition –
The new voice input engine lets users dictate the text they want, for as long as they want, using the language they want. Users can speak continously for a prolonged time, even pausing for intervals if needed, and dictate punctuation to create correct sentences. As the voice input engine enters text, it underlines possible dictation errors in gray. After dictating, users can tap the underlined words to quickly replace them from a list of suggestions.
Tracking Data Usage –
In the Settings app, colorful charts show the total data usage on each network type (mobile or Wi-Fi), as well as amount of data used by each running application. Based on their data plans, users can optionally set warning levels or hard limits on data usage or disable mobile data altogether. Users can also manage the background data used by individual applications as needed.
The Recent Apps button lets users jump instantly from one task to another using the list in the System Bar. The list pops up to show thumbnail images of apps used recently — tapping a thumbnail switches to the app
Folders -New home screen folders offer a new way for users to group their apps and shortcuts logically, just by dragging one onto another. From the All Apps launcher, users can now simply drag an app to get information about it or immediately uninstall it, or disable a pre-installed app.
On smaller-screen devices, the home screen now includes a customizable favorites tray visible from all home screens. Users can drag apps, shortcuts, folders, and other priority items in or out of the favorites tray for instant access from any home screen.
Now you can take screen shots of your mobile officially without rooting. (If your iOS user you will be amazed that it didn’t happen already)
Contacts App is now People’s App –
The user’s own contact information is stored in a new “Me” profile, allowing easier sharing with apps and people. All of the user’s integrated contacts are displayed in an easy to manage list, including controls over which contacts are shown from any integrated account or social network. Wherever the user navigates across the system, tapping a profile photo displays Quick Contacts, with shortcuts to phone numbers, text messaging, and more.
New Camera Features –
When taking pictures, continuous focus, zero shutter lag exposure, and decreased shot-to-shot speed help capture clear, precise images. Stabilized image zoom lets users compose photos and video in the way they want, including while video is recording. For new flexibility and convenience while shooting video, users can now take snapshots at full video resolution just by tapping the screen as video continues to record.To make it easier to take great pictures of people, built-in face detection locates faces in the frame and automatically sets focus. For more control, users can tap to focus anywhere in the preview image. For capturing larger scenes, the Camera introduces a single-motion panorama mode. In this mode, the user starts an exposure and then slowly turns the Camera to encompass as wide a perspective as needed. The Camera assembles the full range of continuous imagery into a single panoramic photo.After taking a picture or video, users can quickly share it by email, text message, bluetooth, social networks, and more, just by tapping the thumbnail in the camera controls.
Live Effects is a collection of graphical transformations that add interest and fun to videos captured in the Camera app. For example, users can change the background behind them to any stock or custom image, for just the right setting when shooting video or using Google Talk video chat. Also available is Silly Faces, a set of morphing effects that use state-of-the-art face recognition and GPU filters to add great effects facial features during video capture.
Gallery app –
A redesigned album layout shows many more albums and offers larger thumbnails. There are many ways to sort albums, including by time, location, people, and tags. An improved Picture Gallery widget lets users look at pictures directly on their home screen. The widget can display pictures from a selected album, shuffle pictures from all albums, or show a single image.
Web Browser –
Changes include the ability to request the full version of a website instead of the mobile optimized version, a feature that you may have noticed on Opera Mobile before. The browser can now also save pages on the phone for offline viewing, another feature found on the Opera browser.