Tag Archive: Ice Cream Sandwich


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When you come to talking about a major revision to the most popular smartphone operating system, it’s hard to find a place to start because there is simply so much to cover. Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” is perhaps the second largest step Android has taken in terms of major revisions, the largest of course being Android 2.0 back in 2009 which brought a wealth of new features.

Ice Cream Sandwich (or ICS) has included a huge amount of things to Android, from a new design and unified stylings to new functionality and features. Google has followed in the footsteps of Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” for tablets by shifting to blue as the primary color, as opposed to green in Android 2.3 “Gingerbread”. The blue design glows in a somewhat futuristic way, and interface elements are squarer and more angled than before.

Throughout all stock applications on ICS is seems like they have gone for several major styles, most of which differ to previous versions:

Sharp angles and lines are commonplace. In the app drawer, around the search bar, under the text entry bay and even in the onscreen buttons, smooth curves or gradients have been replaced with single-color lines and sharp corners. The Roboto font is modern and clean. Thanks to the 720p display on the Nexus, it appears very sharp and it’s very easy to read. The sans-serif and simple design makes it feel at home in a 2011/2012 world. Black, grey and blue are the colors used, along with transparency. The notification pane uses blue/grey icons on a black background, sliding it down reveals a semi-transparent background with blue highlights. In apps, buttons are grey on semi-transparent black with blue highlights.

For the first time in my history of using Android (and I’ve used it since the Google G1), a unification has been achieved. It is absolutely essential these days in a mobile operating system that moving between included applications feels like you are still “in” the OS, and never before has Google achieved this.

With Gingerbread Google may have updated the Calendar to a new style, but left Gmail with the same style from original Android. It was an awful mess of old and new, but going through ICS feels like everything is in place. I always see the same button styles, the same layouts, the same designs and the same colors used in every single included application, and it actually makes me smile at an Android design for once.

Now this may be somewhat controversial, but I really believe that the push to the ICS style was due to the threat of Windows Phone. Using Windows Phone’s style is simply outstanding because every single application uses the Metro design language, so browsing from Messaging to the Browser feels like you haven’t left Microsoft’s world. Fonts are crisp and clean, designs are angled and minimalistic and there is a focus on text over imagery.

Of course not everything in Metro has influenced Android, in fact many, many things are quite different, but it seems more obvious than ever before how influential Microsoft have been in the mobile space. In all honesty, I don’t care that Google borrowed some aspects of Windows Phone, such as the angular design, minimalist icons and swiping panes, because in the tech industry this happens all the time.

The point is Ice Cream Sandwich feels like the first Android revision that actually has a style. A proper, unified and beautiful style that feels modern, clean and even futuristic. I love it, almost to the point where it pushes out Windows Phone from my mobile OS design preference.

Thanks: Neowin & Tim Schiesser

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slightly backtracked on its plans to drop mobile Flash entirely Monday after it stated that there was one more version coming to support Android 4.0. Where it had previously said Flash 11.1 was the last version, the company told Pocket-lint one more version would come to support the Galaxy Nexus and future devices before the end of the year. An update was also coming for the Flash Linux Porting Kit on a similar schedule.

It’s not apparent why Adobe was making the exception. Adobe may be following up on an obligation to Google, which began promoting and bundling Flash on Android and the Chrome browser, respectively. Google has been a supporter of HTML5, but it may also want Flash for one last generation of phones.

The news will still rule out any support for Jelly Bean, the next major revision of Android after 4.0. While this will lead to many 2012 Android phones and tablets still supporting Flash, it will lead to some high-end phones in the second half of the year having to rely on web standards for video and complex web apps instead of the proprietary plugin.

Companies like HTC, Motorola, Samsung, and Toshiba may be the most affected by the switch. These have often made Flash a major and sometimes central focus of their marketing but will now have to compete more on their own features than on third-party extras they don’t control.

Thanks: Electronista

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Google has quietly readied itself for the launch of the Galaxy Nexus by introducing a heavily remade version of Google+ for Android (Android Market). The app is “completely new” and is designed to borrow the interface layout of Android 4.0: it takes the multi-column interface of the new mobile OS, such as the edge-to-edge photo browsing and the spare, open look. Its posting interface has been given one of the more conspicuous changes to be in line with the new OS.

Some recent changes to the social network itself are now reflected in the app, such as support for Google Apps users. Battery life and speed should be better, and notifications have been tuned to an unspecified degree. It’s now possible to add people to circles from a circle’s profile, not just an individual user.

Although intended for Android 4.0, the new Google+ works on any Android device running 2.1 and up. The interface still isn’t fully optimized for tablets. Some changes, like Google Apps support and circle profile adds, are likely to reach the iOS app.

The Galaxy Nexus is informally expected to ship worldwide within the next one to two weeks.

Thanks: Electronista

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If you saw the movie Mission Impossible 3, you know that Tom Cruise’ character Ethan Hunt at one point scales the Vatican wall in Rome and then places a photo in front of one of the wall’s security cameras to fool the operator into thinking he is just seeing the normal view. Believe it or not, it sounds like the newly announced Android 4.0’s facial recognition software could be fooled in exactly the same way.

According to TechSpot, a Google spokesperson claimed that the Face Unlock feature in Android 4.0 “could” be used by simply using a photo of the pre-registered owner of the smartphone. However, this claim has been refuted by Tim Bray, who works on the Android operating system at Google. Responding to a Twitter message from someone who say Face Unlock could be hacked in this manner, Bray said, “Nope. Give us some credit.”

We are more than willing to give Bray and the rest of the Android 4.0 team the benefit of the doubt in terms of this new feature working the way they say it works. But we question the need for such a advanced feature in the first place… what happens if you are in a dark space and want to unlock your smartphone?

TechSpot’s report said that during the big Android 4.0 press event last week, the phone of Matias Duarte, the head of Google’s user experience, had issues identifying him with the Face Unlock feature. It may have been due to the poor light during the event. In any case, we will know for certain when the first Android 4.0 smartphone, the Galaxy Nexus, is released sometime in November.

Thanks: Neowin

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For Google and Android fans around the world, today has been a big day, as Google teamed up with Samsung to announce the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich”. Many new features were shown off today at the event, including the Galaxy Nexus, so we have compiled a list of everything to know from the Google event in case you missed it or were asleep.

Galaxy Nexus

The Galaxy Nexus specifications were fully leaked an hour before they were unveiled at the event in Hong Kong. They include:

A 4.65-inch 1280 x 720 HD Super AMOLED display HSPA+ or LTE (depending on region) 1.2 GHz dual-core processor (TI OMAP 4460) 1 GB of RAM 16 or 32 GB of internal storage 5 MP rear camera with flash; 1.3 MP front camera Full HD 1080p video recording at 30 FPS; zero shutter lag Bluetooth 3.0 and dual-band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n NFC and a barometer 8.94mm thin; 135g light 1,750 mAh battery

We also have a convenient comparison table between the Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy S II, iPhone 4S and HTC Sensation. In most cases, the Galaxy Nexus is the victor.

The Galaxy Nexus will be available in the United States, parts of Europe and Asia starting in November; more regions to follow. You can register your interest in the device at Google’s Nexus website.

Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich”

Google announced a plethora of new features in Android 4.0, and while many improvements are visual, there are still core enhancements being made. Below we have listed some of these new features so you can quickly get an idea what Google has introduced in Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS).

Honeycomb-styled interface New Roboto typeface used throughout the UI New lockscreen featuring quick unlock to camera and notification pane access Improvements to multitasking and the notification pane Resizable widgets Quick SMS responses when rejecting incoming calls Improvements to text input, autocorrect and copy & paste Real-time voice-to-text input Full control over data usage, including usage notifications New contacts app featuring better social integration and “Me” profile More advanced Calendar and Gmail apps Improved Gallery featuring a photo editor Improved Camera app including panorama mode and easy sharing Cloud connectivity with automatic Google Chrome bookmark sync Offline access to emails (past 30 days by default) and web pages (when you save them) Face unlock using facial recognition technology Android Beam for NFC sharing of loads of content Integrated visual voicemail and appropriate APIs Integrated screenshots from hardware button combination Support for high-density mobile displays such as the Galaxy Nexus’ 720p display Many, many new APIs

For developers out there, the Android 4.0 SDK with all the improved and new APIs is now available from Google’s developer website.

The first device to be loaded with ICS is, obviously, the Galaxy Nexus, but the OS is also heading to the Nexus S at some point. It is unclear, however, if ICS will make its way to the older Google Nexus One. It is also unclear whether smartphone manufacturers will update their devices to ICS, or which devices will end up being updated. Hopefully carriers and manufacturers will announce their intentions soon.

Thanks: Neowin

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Samsung has got something up its sleeve in terms of upcoming products and it plans to talk about them publicly in a couple of weeks. Thisismynext.com, along with other media outlets, have been sent invites to attend a Samsung press event in San Diego on October 11. But the smartphone company won’t be alone. Samsung is promoting this event as a joint operation with Google, with the invite saying specifically that the press will “get a look at what’s new from Android” during the press conference.

That’s certainly a big clue that the event might be the place and time for the official unveiling of a Samsung made smartphone that will have Google’s next version of the popular Android mobile operating system inside. Android 4.0, otherwise known as Ice Cream Sandwich, has been the source of much speculation, along with some screenshot leaks. This week a video made its way to the Internet that supposedly showed Android 4.0 in action. So far Google has been pretty silent, at least in public, about the details of Android 4.0, saying only that it would launch sometime in October or November.

It’s likely that the press event will show an upcoming Samsung smartphone that Android 4.0 will be running on. Internet rumors have been flying about this mystery phone over the past couple of months. Even the actual name of the phone is under dispute with some calling it the Nexus Prime, others labeling it the Droid Prime and still other rumors naming it the Galaxy Nexus phone.

Thanks: Neowin