As all were waiting Android 4 – Ice Cream Sandwich, was announced 18th Oct, 2011 (Tuesday) night by Google and Samsung at a press gathering in Hong Kong.
Lots of new feature to compete Apple specially 🙂
Android Beam for NFC-based sharing
Android Beam is an innovative, convenient feature for sharing across two NFC-enabled devices, It lets people instantly exchange favorite apps, contacts, music, videos — almost anything. It’s incredibly simple and convenient to use — there’s no menu to open, application to launch, or pairing needed. Just touch one Android-powered phone to another, then tap to send.
For sharing apps, Android Beam pushes a link to the app’s details page in Android Market. On the other device, the Market app launches and loads the details page, for easy downloading of the app. Individual apps can build on Android Beam to add other types of interactions, such as passing game scores, initiating a multiplayer game or chat, and more.
Android’s own Font
Android 4 sports a new type face called “Roboto” which was designed especially for high resolution screens like the one found on the Galaxy Nexus. By putting a new emphasis on typography, Duarte is taking a page from Steve Jobs who credited a college calligraphy class he audited for the great looking text on the Mac and iPhone. Roboto is part of a magazine-like revamp to many of the redesigned Android apps, which now have “big bold pictures with giant headlines”.
Look and feel
The user interface is already starting to look dated, and HTC and Samsung in particular are doing a better job of creating alternative skins to make Android look more attractive and useful.
“People need Android … but people didn’t love Android,” said Matias Duarte (former designer of WebOS), director of the Android OS user experience, explaining why the world’s most popular smartphone OS needed a full redesign.
To put it another way, by observing what really works on the iPhone and Windows Phone operating systems, and what wasn’t working on Android, Google’s mobile development team made massive improvements across the board, and focused on making the experience consistent no matter where you might be in the environment. It’s no longer a hodgepodge of unclear commands and clumsy screens.
New lock screen actions
The lock screens now let users do more without unlocking. From the slide lock screen, users can jump directly to the camera for a picture or pull down the notifications window to check for messages. When listening to music, users can even manage music tracks and see album art.
Ice Cream Sandwich knows what you look like, and Face recognition lets you unlock your phone with your face. though face Unlock was unsuccessfully demonstrated by Matias Duarte, senior director of Android user experience at Google. He introduced the facial recognition feature as a means of unlocking the Galaxy Nexus or future Android 4.0 phones without needing to type in a PIN. “Face Unlock uses state of the art facial recognition,” he said. “Ice Cream Sandwich literally knows our face.”
Android has had voice-recognition capabilities for some time now, allowing you to search by talking to the phone. This feature is now expanded so you can type by talking. If this works well, it will be a boon for those who have their hands full and need to send an email or text message urgently.
Improved Keypad and spell – checking
Minor improvements include better copy and paste, data logging and warnings and, at last, the opportunity to easily grab screenshots by holding down the power and the volume buttons.
The soft keyboard in Android 4.0 makes text input even faster and more accurate. Error correction and word suggestion are improved through a new set of default dictionaries and more accurate heuristics for handling cases such as double-typed characters, skipped letters, and omitted spaces. Word suggestion is also improved and the suggestion strip is simplified to show only three words at a time.
Android already had a better notification system than anyone else — a pull-down tray that most likely inspired the one now found in iOS 5. But they made it better, letting you flick away notifications you don’t care about, so you can save just the important ones for later. The latest version of Android provides a consistent and well thought out user experience, unifies the platform for both tablets and phones.
Control over network data
Mobile devices can make extensive use of network data for streaming content, synchronizing data, downloading apps, and more. To meet the needs of users with tiered or metered data plans, Android 4.0 adds new controls for managing network data usage.
It’s been killing phone reviewers that we can’t share Android screenshots simply, the way we can on iOS devices. Well, now Android has the exact same screenshot capability, with a cute little Polaroid animation to highlight the action.
Android 4.0 operating system (OS) is also called dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). This was unveiled together with Samsung, who will have the first phone equipped with ICS, the Galaxy Nexus. While there are a number of new features in Android 4.0