Everyone is excited about Google’s release of it’s fourth generation Android mobile software, Ice Cream Sandwich. I’ve written many articles about Android, what it does well, and what it lacks to me, most notably in my fanboy article (seen here). As we’ve traversed the cleverly named food and delicacy laden world of Google Android operating systems, evolution is clearly something that we’ve seen happening at an alarming, yet excitingly accelerating rate. The only thing missing, though, my friends, has been a beautiful, smooth user interface to go along with the tasteful names of each iteration of the groundbreaking open source operating system. From Eclair to Frozen Yogurt, and the dairy departure leading us into Gingerbread, nothing has really evolved in the field of dazzle and eye pleasure.
Fast forward to now, with Ice Cream Sandwich right on the heels of release, and millions of Android users dancing a jig in anticipation of devices starting up with a new chime. Before we take a huge, cavity inducing bite of this operating system overhaul, I’m going to show you exactly how to eat your Ice Cream Sandwich by pointing out the glowing new features of this ever loved software.
- Say goodbye to your old unlock screen: Yes, Ice Cream Sandwich is bringing that classy, clever, circular unlock ability that made it’s debut with Honeycomb 3.0 over to mobile phones with Ice Cream Sandwich.
- Remember the ugly clutter of multiple windows ?: Ugly app management, and, well, everything else that was ugly when it comes to multitasking is not so ugly anymore. There are now what Google and various media outlets are calling “Magazine – Esque” thumbnails spread amongst the entire operating system. Not only are these for your viewing pleasure, but they provide a much better usability experience for someone who is not the everyday XDA user.
- Subtle, yet sultry: You now have the ability to take screenshots. If you do not exactly know what this is, it is basically the ability to capture what is on your screen using two hardware buttons. Screen-o-phile’s rejoice! Yes, I am aware I made that word up. (Let us not hold that against my grammatical aptitude).
- Visual Voice Mail: “Apple had it first!” Ten thousand fans scream as you are able to visually view every transcription you have received because you were on your way to work and absolutely do not text or check your phone while driving. In a better world, that’s what an optimal scenario would be, but chances are you were on twitter and could not miss the opportunity to tweet about Ice Cream Sandwich for a measly phone call.
- New Icons, Folders, and Re-sizable Widgets: Ice Cream Sandwich sports some darn attractive new icons, the ability to drag and drop icons into folders (there’s some reminiscence of iOS here, if you would like a comparison) and newly designed re-sizable widgets! Make them as long as or short as you’d like.
- Remember webOS? We hope you do: Google has included gesture based actions in Ice Cream Sandwich. Don’t need this window open? Swipe it away. It’s that simple. Play with it. Use your fingers. Use them well.
- Camera gets a picture perfect makeover: The Ice Cream Sandwich camera gets a nice makeover, with features like panoramic pictures (you know, those really wide rectangular ones), a new interface design, and editing with special effects sprinkled over the vanilla filling.
- Facial Unlocking: Not so much the coup de grace to suffering Android users as it sounds, as it doesn’t work as well in testing and is not something brand new to the technology department. Still, it’s available, so maybe it’s methods will prove useful on future devices.
- Android Beam: Using NFC (Near Field Communication) you can forcefully (or delicately) knock your two Android devices together to share information. (As my eyes twiddle back and forth amongst the screen, the word “Bump” won’t leave my head).
- Calendar Upgrades and Fragmentation: Swiping through dates and time fixtures such as month, week, and day have never been easier. You can even pinch-to-zoom to get more precision out of your dates, as in down to the hour. Fragmentation has been a terrible, terrible problem, but Google has now taken that into account! Prepare for a much better user experience.
So there you go. By now, if you refer to this article to remember what to look for within your new software, your mouth should have gone from a fine piece of cleanliness to a chocolate and vanilla covered technologically filled mess. We are all looking forward to using Ice Cream Sandwich, and hopefully, with these changes made, Ice Cream Sandwich will be the anchor for Android long throughout the next year.