Android has come a long way since its first release – after version 2.1, it became a force to be reckoned on the mobile market, and today it has the largest market share on smartphones, with tablets slowly catching up. This year has marked a new milestone for the OS – the release of Android 4.0, code named Ice Cream Sandwich, which is the most advanced version yet.
There are plenty of new features and capabilities that will benefit users and developers alike, and if you have a dual core smartphone or plan on buying one, you should definitely look forward to the OTA update, which has already started rolling out and should be complete by the end of spring. Here are just a few of the reasons why Ice Cream Sandwich is worth the attention:
It’s the first universal tablet/smartphone version of Android. Ice Cream Sandwich is the first version of the OS that was designed to run on both smartphones and tablets, something that everyone expected to happen with Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Google finally got around to creating a unified API and user interface that fits both small and big displays alike and runs all the apps on the Market equally well no matter what the pixel density of the display is. Of course, there are differences between the tablet and smartphone UIs, but the underlying code is nowhere near as different as is the case with Honeycomb and Gingerbread. All in all, ICS should be faster, more stable and compatible with all your favorite apps on both your tablet and smartphone.
It has a new, distinct user interface. Android Gingerbread introduced some noticeable changes in the UI for smartphones and Honeycomb brought a very nice interface to tablets, but Ice Cream Sandwich beats them both when it comes to it. The new user interface features the biggest redesign yet – dark colors are prevalent (which also saves battery on OLED displays), the text has a new font and different colors, the lock screen got a very nice upgraded look, there are several new gestures for everyday operation and of course, there’s the System Bar – a variable buttons strip at the bottom of the display, which replaces the traditional hardware buttons to make the phone smaller while not sacrificing screen size – the Bar disappears when it’s not needed.
It supports full on-device encryption. This is a big one for corporate users and individuals who want their data to be safe at all times – Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is the first version of the OS to bring full support for on-device encryption – basically, all the data on the phone’s storage is encrypted, making it useless to anyone without the access key. This will allow Android to compete with Blackberry OS, and corporate users will finally start getting the option of a great smartphone that can both work and play instead of the antique Blackberries that currently dominate the sector.
It brings the new Google apps. Google has updated all of their apps for Ice Cream Sandwich and made them compatible with the new features that the OS offers. The mail app, calendar, Google Talk, Search, and others – all have a new interface, new useful features and tighter integration with Google Plus – something that Google is pushing hard nowadays.
It has new useful features for app developers. App developers will also have more opportunities to create awesome and unique apps for Android 4.0, thanks to the new development tools, new APIs and hooks. The advanced multitasking, improved speech engine, deeper hardware communication with the OS and other things mean that developers will have unprecedented capabilities to create new and exciting apps, and that’s great for everyone.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is definitely the top gunner when it comes to mobile operating systems – it has everything you might need and more. With the new user interface, new capabilities for developers, the awesome new features and Google’s long term support pledge, you can be sure that it will perform great for years to come.