Say hello to Ice Cream Sandwich
Back in July, we wrote a post about the influx of tablets coming to the market. And while there are plenty more excitements to come on that front, we wanted to take some time to look at the other portable must-have available – the smartphone. Apple is going from strength to strength, Windows Phones are on the rise and the less said about Blackberry, the better. But with the recent release of the long anticipated OS Ice Cream Sandwich, we’re all about Android at the moment.
Android 4.0, or to give it its more common/appealing name, Ice Cream Sandwich, has been hailed as a considerable step up from the previous OS, Gingerbread. It offers increased usability and more synching across social platforms, more accessibility and some great customisation options.
It’s been designed to work almost without buttons, so the vast majority of activity is conducted on the touch-screen. It also adds increased functionality to the swipe gesture – this can now be used to shut down all running apps, which will do wonders for battery life. Great new features include: a ‘Recent Apps’ list to allow you to access your favourites fast (this does exist on previous versions of Android, but this is the first time it’s been made a fully visible, permanent feature; folders and favourites trays on the homescreen; a more responsive keyboard with an in-built spellchecker, which underlines errors and offers options, as opposed to auto-correcting as you type. As well as better visibility and management options of your network data usage; improved profile information about your contacts which synch across social networks, and a powerful new Android Browser that optimises your phone’s web and email viewing experience. Other perks include the ability to resize widgets on your homescreens (of which there will be five) and the ability to set up a face recognition phone lock.
If you’re looking to upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich straight away, there’s only one phone on the market right now that’s offering it – the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. The Galaxy S2 was the must-have phone among the anti-iPhone crowd, beloved for its slim design, massive touchscreen and sleek functionality. And the latest Galaxy model looks to be even more of a hit. Featuring a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED display at 720p, a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and both rear and front-facing cameras, this might just be the one to beat. Though a possible downside is the sheer size of the phone – the S2 was similarly large, bordering on cumbersome and this phone might not be the easiest to slip into a pocket.
No doubt more phones featuring Ice Cream Sandwich will become available on the market by the end of the year. All we know is that our upgrade day can’t come soon enough. And all this talk of ice cream sandwiches is making us hungry.