October 28, 2011 By BJ Cook,
The Ice Cream Sandwich OS or Android 4.0 was recently unveiled in Hong Kong on October 18. This new OS has been much awaited and there were high hopes for its new features.  Just a week before Apple released their iPhone 4S and its a hard act to follow. Although Ice Cream Sandwich hopes to close the distance between the iPhone and Androids, bringing Android OS to the top. Ice Cream Sandwich is expected to be the solution to many of the Android problems of the past. Currently there are Android apps that only work on Froyo OS for mobile or only work on Honeycomb OS for tablets, Ice Cream Sandwich is supposed to cover both of the bases. Developers now have to create apps within the new OS, but in the long run this would be beneficial because it will run on either mobile or tablets seamlessly. A new feature is included called “Android Beam” that uses Near Field Communication to share information when two devices are tapped together. This is the same technology that Google needs for the “Google Wallet” payment method discussed in a previous blog post. This should help them have more devices able to use Google Wallet. Another advanced feature available on the Ice Cream Sandwich OS is the Face Detection to unlock your phone. The camera should be able to determine whether someone else is trying to get into your phone, however the live demo during the show was a fail so they may need to work on this a bit more. Other minor changes from Android 4.0 include getting rid of physical buttons and including them on the screen, thus making the screen that much bigger. The creation of a new font called “Roboto”, which creators will begin to use on all Android OS. Matias Duarte, the Director of Android operating system User Experience described it as “modern, yet approachable and emotional". There is the improved Gmail application. Improved voice to text tool called Voice Typing. Ability to edit photos with the provided “hipster” filters so you won’t need to download an app for it. The improved camera has “zero shutter lag” taking photos within a second.  Buckets, much like the folders in the iOS to gather and organize your apps. Also taken from iOS is the snapshot of the homescreen. The first phone to be released with the Android OS 4.0 is going to be a Nexus Samsung Galaxy Phone, in November. Samsung has been the leader in Android phones and they continue this partnership. At the end of the review, there are many great additions to this OS, many that have been awaited and a few surprises. But one of the major issue people are concerned with now that Ice Cream Sandwich is out is the question of updates for existing devices. How long will it take to update older devices? and which devices will not be able to receive this update? We'll find out in the coming weeks. To stay up to date on topic like this and others, follow us on Twitter @digitaloperativ.

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