October 19, 2011

What are the new features in Ice Cream Sandwich for Android?

Google unveiled Ice Cream Sandwich [Android 4.0] today. Let us take a quick look at what are the new features in Ice Cream Sandwich:

  • Flick away Notifications: You can individually manage notifications on Ice Cream Sandwich. You can flick away the ones that you do not need or finished taking a look at. You can keep the ones you want to take a look at later. Now we are going to see a lot of Reminder Applications using the Android Notification System in Ice Cream Sandwich. 
  • FaceUnlock: Android used to let you unlock in three ways. You could flick it open. You could draw a pattern to open. You could use a pin to open. Now there is a third way to unlock your phone. You can take a picture of your phone to open it. Think Visidon Applock if you are using Gingerbread or less and you can download it from here
  • Enhanced Keyboard: Ice Cream Sandwich key board just got better. You can now do inline spell check, cut, copy, and paste better and drag text for easy input.
  • Android Beam: Ice Cream Sandwich is going to use NFC or Near Filed Communication through Android Beam so that you can share contacts, Apps, Websites, Directions and videos on Youtube from one Phone to Another by tapping the phone. If you do not have NFC enabled on your phone, think Bump. You can download Bump from here
  • Easy Screenshots: The most difficult task on an Android Phone is to take a screen shot. By the time you press the back button and power button, the screen reaches home. In Ice Cream Sandwich you can take a screen shot pressing the volume up button and power button together. And press those buttons and it comes up with a polaroid animation to highlight the action.
  • Enhance Browser: No more horizontal tabs. Now you have vertical previews of tabs. And if you want to shift between a desktop and mobile view all that you need to do is to long press on the tab to bring up the menu. 
  • Mobile Data Details: You can now set up mobile data usage details directly on your phone without having to rely on a third part App. Think of 3G Watch Dog and you can download it from here
  • Panoramic View: Now on Ice Cream Sandwich you can shoot pictures in Panoramic view
  • Photo Editing: You can now do some basic photo editing within the phone, like cropping etc. 
  • People Section: Contacts is enhanced to People. Now Android will bring together all the social networks a person is on to one place. And you can check that persons updates right from the People App.
  • Swipe away tasks: You can go to your task manager and swipe away running Apps to close them.
  • Context Sensitive Options: No more menu buttons. You have options that are context sensitive
  • Folders: At last! Now you can put Apps into Folders. Think Go Launcher or Launcher Pro. And of course think iPhone.
  • Calendar Zoom: On Ice Cream Sandwich you can pinch and zoom your calendar.
  • Voice Typing: I am not sure how well this is going to work. But to compete with Siri on iPhone, Ice Cream Sandwich has enabled voice to text functionality. 
  • Roboto: Ice Cream Sandwich has a brand new font - Roboto. Think about Windows Metro

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