Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Review: A Lively Operating System
The new version Android 4.0 aka Ice Cream Sandwich operating system has been old now, but it is still not available fully in many devices in the market. This version has been succeeded by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS and now the upcoming 4.2 Key Lime Pie OS. Google’s Android ICS is yet to come in many devices and is an improved version from the older Gingerbread OS. Now this new version has brought much improved notifications, easy multitasking, resizable widgets, customizable home screens, and deep interactivity. In fact, this version has also make communication and sharing much easy and powerful.
The user interface of the new ICS version has been improved massively from the last Gingerbread upgrade. Through this OS, the Android devices can enjoy much faster access and can easily navigate by using simple intuitive gestures. There are improved animations and the system can easily interact and keep users engaged. High resolution screens will give you much improved readability and polished look with modern feel offered by the interface.
There are virtual buttons available in the system that lets you navigate quickly to Recent Apps, Home and Back. The system Bar and virtual buttons are provided in all apps, but they can be dimmed by apps for full screen views. Each app can be accessed by changing the options in the Action Bar displayed at the top or at bottom of the screen. Android is mainly popular for multitasking and this time it has been made easier for users to enjoy explicit visual. The Recent Apps button directly lets you jump quickly from one task to another through System Bar. The images of apps are shown on thumbnail form in a list of pops up, all you need to do is to tap a thumbnail and it will take you to that particular app.
It lets you access the camera directly or see notification without unlocking. Users can instantly respond to the incoming calls by text. The recent apps let users enjoy multitasking very easily. The interaction notification is an amazing part where you can constantly touch and see the incoming messages, whats app messages, play music tracks, real-time updates from apps, and a lot more.
Home Screen Folders, Favorites Tray
New way of grouping the folders, apps and shortcuts can be done. You just have to drag the folders on your required positions. The All Apps launcher provides information on particular app which you need to drag onto this launcher. You can also immediately uninstall or disable a pre-installed app.
Home screen now also includes customization favorites tray which you can see from all home screens. Users can drag folders, shortcuts, apps, and other priority items from the tray for quick access of home screen.
Widgets with resizable feature
Home screens in this version are designed to be customizable and content-rich, so users get more than just adding shortcuts. Widgets such as check social streams, play music, flip through a calendar, check email, and others can be accessed directly from home screen rather than launching the apps.
New Lock Screen Actions
Without unlocking the phone, you can now do much more through lock screens. You can slide the lock screen, can directly use the camera, pull down notifications window for checking the messages, listening to music, manage tracks and much more.
Instant Response for Incoming Calls
The moment an incoming call comes, you can simply respond to it by sending a text message, without picking the call or unlock the device. On the incoming call screen, you get control for checking various text responses. Tapping a text will send a message to the person who’s calling by ending the call. You can also add your own responses and save in the list through Settings app.
Swipe for dismissing tasks
By swiping your finger, you can dismiss recent apps, notifications and browser tabs. Spell checker is available to show the errors that you commit while typing quickly. A powerful voice input engine is also provided. Android 4.0 comes with enhanced text input and spell-checking. Error correction and word suggestion have been improved with a default dictionaries provided for convenience. You can also install spell checkers, third party dictionaries, and other text services from Android Market.
Powerful voice input engine
A new powerful voice input engine is provided where constant open microphone experience and voice recognition streaming make users enjoy their new generation smartphones. Voice input engine enables the user to dictate any text they select for longer with chosen language. It gives you constant typing experience for prolonged time and it will show you errors in gray.
Data usage controls are offered for monitoring the total usage of data by network and apps. You can set limits of your own where if the data is used more, the restricted data limit will stop the app to run further or manage accordingly.
You can control the network data
Now the mobile devices come with extensive usage over network data for streaming content, downloading apps, synchronizing data, and much more. Android 4.0 provides new controls that let you control and manage network data usage.
There is a particular settings app that shows colorful charts with total data usage on every network type – mobile or Wi-Fi. It also shows how much each running app is consuming. As per your data plan, you can set warning levels, disable mobile data or put hard limits on data usage. Background data usage can be managed by limiting individual apps.
New Features with improved accessibility
A lot of new features have been added and improved for easy accessibility. In fact, Android 4.0 is designed specially by keeping in mind the easy access for blind and impaired users. One of the best features for them is the new explore-by-touch mode that easily navigates from a touch without even seeing the screen. You touch the screen and audible feedback comes. Second touch and the same component activates the feature with full touch event. For enhanced accessibility, several other features have been improved including updating standard apps and virtual buttons in System Bar in place of hardware buttons or trackballs. Font size of the system can also be increased for proper readability.
Sharing and Communicating Features
The user-friendly system keeps you connected to social groups, profiles and contacts. The new People app provides rich profile information including addresses and accounts, phone numbers, large profile picture, status updates, and new button for connecting to social networks. You can visit your contact list and see the information stored in “Me” profile which is easily shared with people and apps. All the contacts are displayed in easy managing list where you can interact which that contact in different ways apart from calling and messaging. Each contact shows the availability through different ways including Whats app, Bluetooth, skype, Viber, and other ways of contacting.
The new camera app lets you enjoy many features and capture all special moments through photos and videos. Once you captured images, you can simply edit and share them with friends. For larger scenes, you can use panorama mode on and enjoy the view. Home screen offers a Photo Gallery widget which is simply fantastic to access.
Other than this, a redesigned Gallery app is offered along with photo editor where you can edit the images, manage them and share with friends. Picture Gallery widget has been improved on home screen that lets you shuffle pictures from albums, select album or show single image. Enjoy Live Effects that change backgrounds and also you can use Silly Faces for video.
Android has always given good cloud-connecting experiences. It allows users to browse web and sync pics, games, apps, contacts, and emails. New email and browsing capabilities have been added to keep the communication organized. Web browser has become much more powerful, giving you desktop browser like experience. For better web content access, you can request full desktop versions of sires in place of mobile versions. Also you can zoom the browser content for better visibility, save bookmarks and check history.
Android 4.0 also offers easier email for reading, sending and managing. You can now reply a message to multiple users by using Reply All and Forward options without even changing the screens.
This feature is useful for NFC-based sharing which is an innovative and easy sharing feature for two NFC-supported devices. This allows to instantly exchange contacts, favorite apps, videos, music and much more. For sharing apps, Android Beam sends a link to the app’s page on Google Play. This app launches and loads the details page.
Face Recognition Technology
There is a separate face recognition available that enables you to unlock your phone with your face. This is a new feature that ensures complete security of your phone, keeping it more personal. The phone will only unlock when your face is showed up in from of the display. It is done through the front facing camera of your phone. It is a state-of-the-art face recognition technology.
Bluetooth HDP and Wi-Fi Direct
Wi-Fi Direct allows the user to connect directly to nearby devices over Wi-Fi for high speed connectivity. For this, there is no need of tethering or internet connection.
Built-in support is offered in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for easy connectivity to Bluetooth Health Device Profile (HDP) devices. This will take support from the third-party apps and can connect wireless medical devices and sensors in hospitals, homes, fitness centers, and other areas.
If asked which Android version is the best, it would be hard to say as there is no end to the technology. However, as compared to the much improved Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich is a faster and improved operating system that comes with a lot of innovative features. Devices that come with ICS integration on-board are eligible for next upgrade – Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS.
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