Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) was unveiled by Google in a media event in Hong Kong yesterday together with Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It is a major new release since the Android 3.0 Honeycomb release which was intended only for tablets. This was a highly anticipated release and Google didn’t disappoint its users with some impressive new features in ICS. Some of these features we already speculated and covered here and some of them we got to know just yesterday from this media event from Google and Samsung. Here we are going to review most important new features in the Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) to give you a quick rundown.
Roboto Font for HD Displays
One of the most important new change is a new font in Android 4.0 called Roboto that has been designed exclusive for the new HD displays. Its much cleaner and easier on the eyes. Also Ice Crème sandwich is optimized for HD displays with 16:9 aspect ration. If you are wondering, this is the same exact aspect ratio of the newly released Galaxy Nexus.
Face Unlock Feature, Software Buttons, Widget Enhancements, Swipe Gestures …
In Ice Cream Sandwich device unlock screen is very similar to the Honeycomb visually. There is a new interesting face unlock feature where ICS can use the built-in facial recognition technology to recognize you and unlock the device. Now ICS comes with software buttons which can also rotate based on the device orientation and can even disappear when watching a video etc. In other words, software based button are much more flexible and only appear when needed in ICS. Now folders can created by just dragging the icons on each other. Widgets also get some facelift and some boost in functionality such as scrolling, flipping and widget resizing that are supported natively. Swiping gestures now play a much bigger role as you can use them in Ice Crème Sandwich to move between screen, contacts, picture, and different pages within apps, They also play a part in the new multitasking functions in ICS. Tapping the multi-tasking button on the home screen reveals all the running application on the device. Now you can access notifications without having to unlock the phone. Just pull down the notifications bar from lock screen and then go to the desired app from there.
Native Screenshot Capturing
A small but very convenient feature is native screenshot capturing – all you have to do is to press the Power and volume down keys at the same time and high quality PNG file is saved in the image gallery.
Keyboard, Copy & Paste and New Swiping Gestures
Keyboard is also much more responsive and accurate as well as with better error correction and inline spellcheck capability. Copy & Paste functionality is enhanced as well and allows to move words around if you are in a text app. GUI in general is much more enhanced and more consistent throughout the OS and even stretches to native system apps. For example, native Browser has been enhanced with the refined tab management with up to 16 tabs open at the same time and they can easily be closed by swiping them off the screen. Now browser allows users to save entire pages for offline viewing and desktop Chrome bookmark syncing is supported. Calendar and Gmail apps also see visual and minor functionality enhancements and make them more consistent with the rest of the Ice Crème Sandwich GUI.
Data Usage Monitor
There is also new data usage monitor that can track the data consumed by different apps and allows to find the data usage from these apps in specific time frame and predict the future data usage. It can also now deny data usage from specific Apps if a specific threshold is reached.
Improved Camera App built-in Photo Editing
System Camera app has been thoroughly revamped and now includes an on-screen slide zoom bar, auto set exposure, facial recognition and a panorama feature. Video capturing features now include 1080p capture, continuous focus, time lapse, and video snapshots. Gallery app has also been enhanced that includes the new Magazine style layout and built-in photo editing features which allows to use “hipster filters,” adjusts image angles, crop and even remove red-eyes. All image edits are saved as a copy to that you can always revert to the original.
There is also a new People application as a replacement for the Contacts as in previous version which is much more advanced and allows to pull the contact data from multiple sources like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn through the cloud.
Enhanced Dialer and NFC Data Sharing
New dialer app has also been enhanced with automatic SMS reply support if you don’t want to answer a call. Voice mail functionality has also been enhanced. NFC support in the Ice Crème Sandwich has also been enhanced as now two ICS devices with NFC support can exchange information by just holding them together. For example website sharing, Google Maps sharing and contact card sharing and even application sharing!
So here we are with a review of best new features in the Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). You might also be interested in our recent article: Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) Samsung Galaxy S2 (SII) ROM Port – CyanogenMod, MIUI Release Date Expectations.
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