The unveil of Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, took up the second half o the announcement. The development of the Galaxy Nexus had a 3-fold mission:
- Simplicity – easy to use
- Beautiful – satisfactory to use
- Beyond Smart – Include every innovation offered today
Enchanting is how Android was described and Ice Cream Sandwich takes that and runs with it.
It starts with Roboto, a new type face for Android and its high-def display. It embraces virtual buttons that can rotate with the phone and hide when not in use.
Live wallpapers continue to keep the background classy and exciting.
Resizable widgets allow your home screens to show you the important information without even launching apps.
Easier to use folders promote organization. Just drag and drop icons onto each other. You can create folders for apps and people to make them organized and easily accessible.
The favorites tray is now customizable so you can drag your frequent apps down to the bottom.
There is now a button to switch to recent apps. You can easily access them this way or swipe them to toss any away.
You can now take a screenshot by holding down the power and volume down buttons.
Contacts get bigger personal icons in your notifications.
The keyboard was updated for improved responsiveness and corrections. Android now features inline spell-checking and consistent cut, copy, and paste.
The text-to-type feature has also been improved.
There’s a new way of securing your phone with Face Unlock. Android’s front camera uses facial recognition and allows you to unlock the phone if it recognizes your face. Humorously, this didn’t work on stage.
Core apps received big updates and many more than what could possibly be listed.
- Manage tabs button at the top with up to 16 tabs.
- Flick away tabs that you don’t want
- Request desktop site (changes user agent)
- Chrome bookmark sync
- Save for offline reading
- Incognito browser
- Select multiple messages
- Swipe to move between messages when you’re in a message
- Offline search (search last 30 days offline by default, extendable to anything)
- Pinch to zoom in
- Swipe to move days
- Monitor usage
- ability to control data usage
- Zoom in to see specific app usage
- Cut off background data access for any app
Access the camera quickly from the lock screen by sliding to the left.
Photos are quickly shareable.
You can zoom in with slider and tap anywhere to set focus.
The camera features zero shutter lag and Android embraces it.
Photo editing tools allow you to apply effects, adjust angle, crop, or remove red-eye. Edits are saved as copies so you’ll always have the original.
Panorama feature allows you to auto-stitch pictures together by sliding your phone along.
Video – 1080p recording, continuous focus, zoom while recording, time lapse, and video snapshots.
The new People app is the evolution of contacts. It’s no longer just a database of contacts. It becomes person-centric and eases your contact with the person.
You have your own Me profile to manage your social networks and other personal information.
The people app features magazine profiles with photocentric views.
You can automatically see updates from social networks for people in your contacts.
The Contact Card for a person now uses all connections (like Twitter or LinkedIn), not just phone, sms and the usual.
Phone calls use that same photo of contacts in the background to make things better looking and help you see who you’re calling.
Visual Voicemail is integrated into the call log.
You can send a quick response with a customizeable canned text message to respond to an incoming phone call as a third option instead of just answering or hanging up.
Android Beam utilizes NFC with two phones touched together, back to back, you can pass over information. Sending a website over was demoed.
YouTube videos, maps, websites, people cards, apps and more are available at launch to work with Android Beam.
The APIs for Android Beam are out there so hopefully more apps and all sorts of innovations could make it a really cool feature.
Ice Cream Sandwich ships with the Galaxy Nexus in November but the SDK is available today from http://developer.android.com/