Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Google has officially taken the wraps off Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The operating system will be available for both smartphones and tablets, but the first device to ship with ICS will be the Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone. It will ship in November, and the operating system should be available for additional devices soon.

The software developer kit is already available, and Google is also expected to release the source code for Ice Cream Sandwich — something that the company never did with Android 3.x Honeycomb.

One of the key things Android 4.0 will do for Google’s ecosystem is bring some of the features that had only been available for tablets to phones.

For instance, Android phones with Ice Cream Sandwich will now support resizeable home screen widgets and a Honeycomb-style app menu and widget manager as well as support for buttonless designs thanks to the Home, Back, and Menu icons which show up at the bottom of the display when you need them, and which disappear when you don’t need them.

But Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich isn’t just designed to bring parity to Android phones and tablets. The operating system also includes a number of new features and a refined user interface which gives Android a more consistent look and feel while also making it more attractive and easier to use.

For instance, the new People app replaces the Contacts app by displaying nice large photos of your contacts as well as recent updates from their social networks. Oh yeah, you can still also grab phone numbers, email addresses, and other pertinent information.

Google has also improved the camera app by allowing you to launch it more quickly, snap panoramic photos, and zoom more easily. You can also do some basic photo editing from the Gallery app.

The new web browser app can synchronize your bookmarks with Google Chrome for a PC, allow you to surf the web in incognito mode, view full desktop versions of websites, or save pages for offline reading.

Google is also continuing to push NFC (Near Field Communications) technology. If your phone or tablet has an NFC chip you’ll be able to use a new feature called Android Beam to share content between devices by tapping two devices together and then hitting the Beam button to send a web page, map, or other data from one device to another.

You can find more details about Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich at Mobiputing and at the Google Platform Highlights page.

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8 replies on “Google launches Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for phones, tablets”

  1. Nice! I hope they can make it more accurate than that headline image of
    course. This is one feature I would like iOS to copy/steal.

  2. I wonder if ICS has built-in language input. That is one thing the iPhone has that I miss.  The emulator has it, but then again the 2.3 emulator also has it.  For some reason they don’t put it into all of the real devices and you have to go and install a 3rd party app.

    1. One of the things ICS should be addressing is software fragmentation.  Providing a single OS platform for all future devices and working closely with the Open Handset Alliance for better support.

      ICS for example should be pushing for direct updates from Google instead of giving a update to the manufacturers and leaving it up to them to get it to the devices.

      So hopefully that’ll mean they’ll get more features to work on all devices but they still have to establish the new infrastructure and we won’t know for sure how well everything works until then.

        1. Addressed is not the same as having it work.  Until they get everything set up and people start seeing it work, then and only then will it be truly addressed.

          All we know right now is what has been promised but what they promise and what we get is not always the same thing.

  3. Any word on the minimum hardware requirements to run Ice Cream Sandwich? Not many handheld devices have 1GB RAM and a fast dual core processor, nor a 1280×720 screen.

    1. Uncertain at this point but it’s suppose to be scalable to work from anything from a Smart Phone to a Tablet, essentially they’ll be replacing both Gingerbread and Honeycomb with ICS.

      So minimal requirements shouldn’t be any worse than Honeycomb.

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