This week Google has released Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), which provides unified UI for phones and tablets. It provides lot of improved features along with new innovative features for users and developers. In my opinion below are the top 10 features which make Ice Cream Sandwich really delicious and competitive in phone and tablet market.
- Face Unlock- This is new concept introduced by ICS to secure your device and effectively making your device really personal device. It allows you to unlock your device with your face using newly introduced facial recognition technology.
- Wi-Fi Direct –This allows you to connect to nearby devices on Wi-Fi. It allows instant sharing of files, connecting compatible devices such as printer. This technology doesn’t require internet connection or Wi-Fi tethering.
- Android Beam – Google already has first mover advantage in NFC technology. With Google Wallet it is pushing NFC and now with Android Beam app in ICS it is repositioning itself as leader in NFC smart phone market.
Android Beam allows you to share your contacts or any other content between two ICS Android Devices just by tapping them together. You can share web pages, maps, and even apps. It's handy if you want to give your friends directions or want to share an article you found interesting while browsing the web.
- Native Photo Editor – You may have tired with using different third party photo editing apps in Android. ICS solved this issue by introducing native photo editing features. Now you can crop, rotate, set levels, remove red eyes, and add effects. ICS also provides redesigned Gallery app and widget.
- Take Screenshot – You would have seen this feature in other smart phones regularly and some Android devices also (thanks to customization of Android by OEM). Now this feature is available natively in all Android smart phones. Combination of hardware buttons allows you to take a screenshot and save it locally. This stored image can be viewed, edited or shared from native gallery app.
- Live effects – With this feature you can morph the faces of peoples in videos in real time. Basically its collection of graphical transformations that add interest and fun to your videos while capturing video in the camera app. While you are shooting video or using Google Talk Video chat you can change background to custom image. You can use great morphing effects like bog nose, big mouth, small eyes, face squeeze, and more during video capture.
- Lock screen actions – ICS lock screen allows you to do more actions without unlocking the device. From new lock screen you can directly launch camera app to take a snap or you can check received messages by pulling down notification window. From lock screen you can manage music tracks and see album art while listening to music.
- Improved text input and Spell checker – You can input text faster and accurate in Android ICS soft keyboard. You will find improved word suggestion and error correction in android ICS with new set of default dictionaries and more accurate heuristics for handling cases such as skipped letters, double typed characters or omitted spaces.
Android ICS added new powerful spell checker that helps you to fix the misspelled words very easily. It underlines spelling errors and suggests replacement words which you can use with a single tap. It also provides other options like add to dictionary, delete misspelled word, find replacements for correctly spelled words etc. For additional languages and specialized features you can install third party dictionaries, spell checkers and other text services.
- Control over network data – As a mobile device user you use network data extensively for downloading apps, synchronizing data, streaming and more. While doing this you generally worry about how much data is used by any particular app, whether any app is downloading data in background, whether app makes use of Wi-Fi or mobile. With ICS no more you need to worry about these things. ICS provides new controls for managing network data usage.
In the Settings app, colorful charts show the total data usage on each network type (mobile or Wi-Fi), as well as amount of data used by each running application. Based on their data plans, users can optionally set warning levels or hard limits on data usage or disable mobile data altogether. Users can also manage the background data used by individual applications as needed.
- Redefined UI and improved apps – With ICS you can see lot of improvements in terms of UI and core applications.
ICS says goodbye to droid sans typeface and introduces new typeface (Roboto) which is optimized for high resolution screen. System bar has virtual buttons to navigate back, home and recent app list. Recent apps virtual button will be useful to jump instantly from one task to another task in the list which shows thumbnail images of apps. With ICS you can write resizable widgets which will expand or shrink depending on available content.
With ICS you can have unified calendar app which brings together your personal, work and social agendas. Phone app provides visual voicemail feature which integrates incoming messages, voice transcriptions, and audio files from one or more providers. With ICS you can have improved browsing experience through native browser.These are just top ten delicious features. If you explore Ice Cream Sandwich or Galaxy Nexus device more you will find tons of features for which you will definitely appreciate Google and me (for writing this blog).