Google has launched its belated Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS which will enable it to make a stronger push into the tablet market where Android is currently running on 6 million devices (compared to iOS running on 25 million).
Android 4.0 expected features
Android 4.0 is clearly designed to unify the Android experience and while there are plenty of details lacking, we know that Ice Cream Sandwich has:
- New User Interface taking a cue from the Honeycomb tablet operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich sports a sleek futuristic design that more closely aligns the phone and slate OSes.
- Hardware acceleration for smoother-running apps and greater energy efficiency saving battery life.
- All hardware buttons removed in favor of software buttons, allowing more universal application design on both tablet and smartphone devices.
- Roboto font, which was specifically developed for smartphones and tablets.
- Flexible widgets that can be resized by users and which are located in a new element of the OS’s navigation.
- Home Screen folders You can group apps or shortcuts together and, as with iOS, you can do this just by dragging icons on top of one another.
- Smarter folders, including the ability to ‘layer’ foldering.
- Favorites tray giving quick access favorite apps, folders, and links.
- Screenshot functionality. By holding down the power and volume button, you can take a shot of everything on your screen.
- Revamped notifications, including new user customization options and quick dismissal.
- Improved copy/paste by allowing users to move and manipulate entire blocks of selected text.
- Better keyboard It’s faster, smoother, more accurate, and best of all, better at correction. There’s in-line spell check and the ability to install third-party dictionaries.
- Enhanced talk-to-text features by improving accuracy, speeding up speech-to-text interpretation, and making the controls for speech-based typing more prominent.
- New browser that has tabs, lets you import your Chrome bookmarks, and lets you automatically load the desktop version of a site.
- Integrated Gmail and Google Calendar, whether you want them or not, with more intuitive controls and deeper in-OS functionality.
- Gmail UI improvementsincluding off-line search, a two-line preview, and gesture support for swiping between conversations and action bar for composing a message, searching, and accessing labels.
- Google+ integration, giving users quick access to Hangouts and other new social functions from Google.
- People app taking care of all your social networking needs, the updated People app will be pull in all status updates, photos, videos which should also include all your Google+ activity.
- Multi-tasking has been given a boost and with ICS it’s easier to see which apps you’ve been using recently. If you decide you’re done with using one, you can easily flick it away to close.
- Data usage tracking and controls that let users see where their data usage is coming from.
- Improved camera functionalitywith image stabilization, autofocus, panorama photo features, automatic face detection, and on-the-go photo editing and enhancement. Also Camera has no shutter lag, continuous focus, zoom while recording, panorama photos, time lapse settings, and 1080p recording.
- “Android Beam,” which lets users transmit YouTube videos, websites, apps, and more by touching their phone to another NFC-equipped device.
- Improved the contact list through the “People App,” which gives users the option to share, hide, and prioritize their contact information and integrated social data.
- “Face Unlock,” which lets users unlock their phone just by looking at the front-facing camera.
- Voice Input features including the ability to read out text for your mobile to input. This is a similar, if less advanced, version of Siri.
- “Visual Voicemail” service that translates your voicemails into text so you don’t need to listen to them to get the message. Coupled with auto-text response for when you are busy and can’t answer a call.
- WiFi direct which enables you to connect directly to peer WiFi devices without the need for tethering.
- on-device data encryption allowing connections to Microsoft Exchange Servers for access to corporate e-mail, calendars, contacts and more, eben if those Exchange Servers have a device-encryption IT policy enabled.
- Revamped calendar UI that makes navigating calendar pages easier and more intuitive. And a new pinch-to-zoom feature makes precise zooming in on calendar items much simpler.
So plenty to look forward to there. But is there anything missing? Were you hoping for anything that isn’t on this list.