The Android alphabet is still growing up. After C (Cupcake), D (Donut), E (Eclair), F (Froyo), G (Gingerbread) and H (Honeycomb), the time of hitherto sweetest version has come: Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), officially introduced by Google a few hours ago. This new Android version has left us open-mouthed. Let’s zoom in its main features.
At first sight, we realize that the whole appearance has changed. UI is completely different, a Tron-like style wraps it entirely. It must be said that it looks wonderful with that futuristic interface. Since the first contact, we have the feeling that we’re handling with a higher-end smartphone. Perhaps the new feature that we rapidly notice is that ICS has been developed not to use physical buttons. So you can perform every single thing with the three virtual buttons placed at the bottom. These buttons smartly appear and disappear depending on when they need to be used. Regarding the desktop, the main newness is the folder creation by dragging icons one over the other (iOS style). Developer has brought together the best features of both Honeycomb and Gingerbread to generate an stunning graphic interface. And in case you don’t like it, there will be quite a bunch of launchers around Market plus those which haven’t yet come.
The ICS app drawer brings a new interesting feature. Besides the apps tab, there’s a widget tab. From there is easier to manage our widgets, add/remove or place them wherever we want. Actually, the widget preview is specially useful to get an idea of how the widget looks like and where we will place it. What’s more, the widgets have been re-designed to be scrollable and resizable as if they were in Honeycomb.
ICS Lockscreen is quite similar to Honeycomb: a circle at which you have to approach a point by dragging to unlock the screen. What’s more, it’s possible to launch the camera from the lockscreen and take a picture in record time. From the lockscreen we can display the status bar, no need to unlock the device either. However, without shadow of a doubt, the most stunning feature is the possibility to unlock the device by facial recognition. Flabbergasting.
Inputs and text
Text corrector has been improved regarding accuracy. Editing, copying and pasting is more intuitive and faster now. Likewise, speech-to-text has been enhanced: you can start talkin
g after tapping on the micro icon and, according to the presentation, it really works. The truth is that speech-to-text technology has always been Google’s spearhead long before Siri was conceived, and still is.
Until now, finding an option in the settings maze was something quite complicate. ICS has been simplified in this regard. Now it’s focused on fast access and user-friendly navigation. This is noticeable in the whole new structure.
Regarding management, ICS contains a built-in data plan monitoring app. This way we can see graphically data usage, set consumption limits, auto enabling/disabling Internet connection and notifications.
If we may paraphrase a bit, those are Android 4.0 principles, and if you don’t like them…well, it has others.